The Department of Drama at the
In 1941, Leopoldo (Poldín) Santiago Lavandero founded the Teatro Universitario (University Theater) and began its theatrical activities in the old auditorium of the university –at that time, the
The group that Santiago Lavandero created in 1941 took up the challenge of producing ongoing theater on the university campus, and to advance that effort, it had to begin by training the people who were interested. There were few formal classes and it was not until the university company was joined by Rafael Cruz Eméric, a master of set design, Helen Sackett, a master of wardrobe design, and later Carlos Marichal and Ludwig Schajowicz, that theater courses came to be offered with its faculty attached to Fine Arts.
Among the first outstanding students of Santiago Lavandero and Schajowicz were Angel Rivera, Nilda González and Victoria Espinosa -a woman who still shares her knowledge and talent in the Department of Drama. The work of these pioneers in the teaching of theater in
The university theater has been, since its very beginning, the laboratory and principal workshop for the courses offered by the drama department. The Puerto Rican public, and in particular the university public, has had the opportunity to see the most important dramatic works of world theater, from classical Greek theater to the works of young Puerto Rican dramatists, on the stage of the University of Puerto Rico theater.
The Traveling Theater has, over its long history, made its way to almost every town in
The most important contribution that the drama department has made to our society, however, is educational theater. There has been a commitment to improving the quality of the theater that is offered to the public and to its development through training of critical and aesthetic skills, demonstrating that education is a living thing and that it must be the goal of our schools to foster and inspire creativity.
There are very few teachers in the Department of Education who have not had the benefit of dramatic orientation at the hands of the drama department. Many have had the opportunity to take courses offered by the department, and its summer workshops, prepared especially for teachers, will always be remembered by them.
Course offerings for students interested in making the teaching of drama their career have continued to be refined and broadened over time. Courses such as Teatro para niños (Theater for Children), Teatro de títeres (Puppet Theater), Taller de teatro experimental (Experimental Theater), and Actividades y juegos dramáticos (Dramatic Activities and Games) have been designed taking into account teachers of theater in the public schools.
The drama department, though a department within the
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