•  Published on: 02/02/2016

To begin I must mention that my country, Perú treasures a mixture of cultures. Three geographical regions compose Perú: The coast and its littoral, bathed by the Pacific Ocean. The Andes, the spine of our rich mountain ranges. And last but not least, our prolific Amazon rain forest adjacent to Brasil.

Perú is a multicultural country. It harbors over 47 languages and dialects that grew along with a complex history, and defined our identity. Our popular culture is rich and diverse, as it converge our ethnical synthesis, traditions and wisdom. 

In order to understand Peruvian theatre activity, it is important to understand that Lima, the capital of Perú, gathers two thirds of the total population of the country. Lima concentrates as well most of the political, economic and institutional resources.

Although there is a lot of a theatre activity in other cities of Perú, what is offered in Lima attracts much more attention and publicity. Frequently that overshadows theater movements in provinces and communities.

We can tell by the press prints that theater plays are reaching an exceptional peak of popularity. The last 20 years show us a sort of public boom. Even so, it comes closer to show business and crafts the idea of theater as an entertainment art.

That is why we should distinguish the theatre that portraits Peruvian reality from the one that basically reproduces conceptions that belong “the other” realities. In Perú you can find Broadway pieces played by peruvian actors, which is a reflection of the greatest European scenes. However it doesn´t express our context.

If we conceive theater as a human creation that helps us to reproduce and show others the reflection of social, economic and politic reality, if we consider it as the artistic creation in context, we can find that theater in three different sources:

  1. Independent groups: A source held by own initiative and lacks of support from the government.
  2. Theater companies: financed by private investment.
  3. University theater.

Independent groups extend in the whole country and belong to an important theatric movement that self-finances their activity. The most representative and emblematic group is Yuyachkani, word that belongs to a language named Quechua. It means: I am remembering.

Yuyachkani originates in the 70´s and with 40 years of continuous activity, they are the most persistent in Peru. In their pieces they innovate in theatrical text and languages, remaining a motivation and deep reflection on the reality of our country.

There are also many other important groups as: Cuatrotablas, Raices, Vichama, Arenas y Esteras, Algovipasar, Retablo, Aranwa, Olmo, among others that contribute to get stronger our theatre identity.

An important influence to all these groups is a collective creation trend promoted in Latin America during the 70´s. Therefore; we don’t talk about a single author or dramatist, as the ensemble group replaces it. That is the basis of the actor´s dramaturgy. Then, the actor rises as a creator. An actor is capable to promote, to produce theatrical discourse, text and musical score based on its creative spot. This influence deeply impressed our theater and was carried by Colombian directors as Enrique Buenaventura, Santiago Garcia, La Candelaria, and many others.

Cuban theatre influenced as well and contributed by introducing Group Theater as a style of living. In that concept the members of the group live along for a lifetime and constantly create pieces. That concept made the difference from theater companies, used to hire actors in order to participate in specific plays.

As I mentioned earlier, the second source are Theater Companies financed by private investment. Recently it has developed meaningfully. La Plaza Theater and British Association Theater, two of the most representative, promote the enlargement of the number of spectators. They also sponsor dramaturgy contests and have already published over 20 new plays, as the new generation of authors emerges.

Finally, the third source is University Theater. There is an intense theater activity in universities all over the country. Some university groups have already printed a cultural reference point in our theater. One of these examples is San Marcos University Theater. Another remarkable University Theater example is Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Perú that holds more than 50 years history and which I am honored to represent. Two years ago, we initiated the path of the first theatrical arts school in Perú. It means that Theater is seen with the same potential of any other career and is also acknowledged as important as all the existing careers.  

I would like to finish this brief approach to Peruvian theater with the certainty that we are close to positive changes in theater reality in my country. For the first time, our Culture Ministry promotes dramaturgy contests, cultural exchange programs and also invites international theater personalities. Although our government is still far from these initiatives, they are crafting our future as well as the new generations.

December 2015


Jorge Villanueva Bustíos, Actor – Director

Graduated actor and theater stage director. He has a bachelor of education by the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and possesses composition musical skills since he attended The Conservatorio Nacional de Música. He’s performed as an actor within some mise-en-scènes leaded by influential local directors. In 1998 he founded his very own theatre troop named Ópalo whose central field is theater research. His first theatre staging called FOSCA was at the time invited to be part at San José Dos Campos International Theatre Festival in Brasil. In 2013 he obtained an internship invitation by The International Theatre Institut (ITI UNESCO) at Gorki Theatre in Berlin, Germany. He´s carried out as an acting teacher at Escuela Nacional de Arte Dramático and at The Theatre School of The Universidad Católica del Perú.

He has directed various productions. He´s heading the Theatre Specialty of The Performing Arts Faculty being chief coordinator and drama professor. Additionally he is the Theatre School principal of The Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.