x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sesame Street to get new Latino character

Here's something of interest for those who grew up watching Elmo, Cookie Monster and Big Bird: Sesame Street is looking for a new Hispanic character.

The producers of the long-running American children's television series say they are holding an open casting call next week in New York City for a recurring character to join the Sesame Street family.

It is open to bilingual actors or actresses between the ages of 18 and 25.

"We hope many people show up. We know the Latino community is full of talented people," says Rocio Galarza, the senior director for Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organisation behind Sesame Street.

Although it's too early to talk about the specifics of the new character - which would depend on the chosen actor or actress's background – Galarza says they are looking for someone capable of singing and improvising in both English and Spanish, and with a good sense of humour.

Sesame Street debuted in 1969 and has 20 co-productions all over the world, including versions in countries that include Nigeria, Germany and Mexico (where Plaza Sésamo is produced).

The series has always tried to adapt to the realities of the changing American population, which has seen a sharp increase in Hispanics in the past few decades. Galarza says the 44th season of Sesame Street will focus on Hispanic heritage.

In 2001, there were more than 120 million viewers of all the international versions of the show, and by its 40th anniversary in 2009, Sesame Street was being viewed in more than 140 countries worldwide.