The idea of celebrating the 25 years of Theatre of the Andes (Teatro de los Andes) was born from the initiative to organize a celebration in several cities of Bolivia, where it has developed its activities during this time. The celebration is also intended to pay homage to the public who follow the group’s activities closely and with passion.

From Monday, January 26, to Wednesday, February 1, the tribute to Theatre of the Andes will take place. The program for the celebration includes three works by Theatre of the Andes as well as works by groups and artists that have played important parts in the Theater’s history. The Theatre will present Mar, Hamlet of the Andes, and In a Yellow Sun. The Malayerba group of Quito, Ecuador, which has a close relationship with the Theatre, will present The Armored Reason. The Bolivian groups, from La Paz, Altoteatro, and Octáfono, will present respectively The Danger and Momo. Argentina will be represented by The Puppeteer of Banfield, with Old.

The Theatre of the Andes was born in August 1991, with its headquarters-residence in the town of Yotala, about nine miles from the city of Sucre. For 20 years this headquarters was where its members lived all together as a community. They created more than 20 plays and organized workshops and international meetings. Their work is fundamentally characterized by collective creation. Working together, director and actors contribute to the creation in different disciplines: from elements of the staging, to the musical production, scenography, and dramaturgy.

In their shows the group seeks to reflect upon, in the scenic space, the art of the actor and the need to tell stories, to remember, to retake one’s essence. In doing so, they build a bridge between theatrical technique and Andean cultural sources. This bridging occurs thanks to the use of the encounter, contact, and dialogue as essential elements for their cultural work. Their relationship with the public also determines their work: they take the theater where people are, working to find a new audience for the theater and creating a new theater for this audience.

In the more than 20 years of its existence, Theatre of the Andes has produced plays that it has taken to all the corners of Bolivia and to several countries of the five continents. The group has also given workshops on actor training and staging, and it has conducted social projects where theater is not an end in itself but a means to discussion and social inclusion.

After 20 years working with César Brie as director until his departure in 2010, Theatre of the Andes entered a new phase and began a deep renovation, one fundamentally artistic—the group decided to invite different directors for their new creations, and staged their first work with a guest director (Diego Aramburo): Hamlet, Los Andes. In this show, we can observe a new aesthetic search. In 2014 the work Mar premiered, guest-directed by Arístides Vargas, from Teatro Malayerba, Ecuador.

Theatre of the Andes has presented 22 different works, for a total of 1,660 performances and approximately 400,000 spectators (not counting the street performances), and is one of the groups we can’t overlook if researching the history of Latin American theatre.

Mar. Theatre of the Andes (Bolivia). Directed by Aristides Vargas. Photo credit Max Toranzos

This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.