The mission of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre (PRTT) is to educate and acquaint the general public with important contributions by playwrights from Latino or Hispanic extraction; to present and produce truly bilingual professional theater; to offer artistic development to emerging and established artists; and in these ways to contribute towards the diversity of American theater and national culture.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre (PRTT) was founded in 1967 following the highly successful run of the English-language production of THE OXCART, René Marqués' classic drama of Puerto Rican migration. The play was directed by acclaimed director Lloyd Richards and starred Miriam Colón Valle, the late Raúl Juliá, and Lucy Boscana. Realizing that such a professional production was not accessible to most of the families from economically disadvantaged communities, Ms. Colón Valle, the PRTT's Founder and Artistic Director, made the decision to present the play free of charge in New York City streets with funding secured from then Mayor John Lindsay. This initial summer production helped launch the Spanish bilingual theater movement and led to the creation of a major cultural legacy for the State of New York and the U.S. Many Latino theaters exist in cities across the nation today inspired by the pioneering efforts of the PRTT.
The PRTT's lasting impact is felt in 39 years of continued theater programming and audience development, including the introduction of new and significant Hispanic voices to the professional theater mainstream; a unique, culturally diverse model for playwright development and enrichment; cultivation of an awareness of the theater as a viable career for economically disadvantaged youths; and year-round Spanish and English language offerings through the company's four flagship programs:
- Mainstage - Featuring outstanding plays from Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain, and the U.S., alternating Spanish and English language performances. Productions are developed and performed at our 47th Street theatre, in the heart of the Broadway district. For more information..
- Summer Tour - Every year, our theater has spent the summer months performing in New York City's barrios, plazas, parks, and other public spaces. The free of charge tour has grown to include locations in all five boroughs and in New Jersey, with up to 25 yearly performances. For more information..
- Raúl Juliá Training Unit - After-school program with a structured arts education curriculum. Classes in acting, dance, singing, speech, and auditioning technique. Reaches low-to-moderate income Latino and other minority youth in all five NYC boroughs. The Unit is tuition-free. For more information..
- Playwrights Unit - The Unit, under the direction of Yale Drama School graduate Allen Davis III, promotes playwriting as a vital element in the structure of a professional theater. Features weekly writer workshops, plus staged readings and workshop productions. The Unit has originated more than 500 new plays, with many of them professionally produced at the PRTT and elsewhere. For more information..
Important merit distinctions awarded to the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre over its thirty-nine years of public service include multiple ACE Hispanic Critics Awards, the HOLA Latino Actors Awards, and Obies, as well as the New York State Governor's Arts Award, NALAC Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Office of the President of the United States, to name but a few.
The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre occupies a former firehouse building at 304 West 47th Street, in the heart of the Broadway district. The PRTT undertook a $2-million renovation of the distinctive red-brick structure to include a fully equipped, 194-seat theater with proscenium stage. The PRTT's Mainstage, Playwrights Unit, and Administrative Offices are housed at this location.
In addition, to our main plant on Broadway, the PRTT's Raul Jul’a Training Unit runs its programs out of the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center at 1680 Lexington Avenue, between 105th and 106th Streets in East Harlem. The Center is an important community hub for the Latino and African American communities.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS - 2007-2008
Carmen V. Cruz
Jorge E. Cano-Moreno
Louis R. Hernandez
Annette Rodriguez-Soriano, Esq.