Alvan Colón Lespier is a director, actor, producer and community advocate. His work at Pregones Theater – a Puerto Rican theater located in the South Bronx – and the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre (PRTT) has cemented him as a key player in building a strong network of Latino theater across the arts community. As a Puerto Rican artist, Alvan has stayed true to the commitment to social responsibility that comes with being an artist in Latin America. He wants to expose his public to as diverse of an experience as possible – hence why he branches into theatrical, musical and curatorial work interchangeably. Through the arts, Alvan hopes to instill a sense of curiosity and exploration.
Born in Charlottesville, Virginia and raised in Coamo, Puerto Rico, Alvan became active in Puerto Rican theatre in 1970. He was a co-founder and member of Anamú Experimental Theater at the University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras and Colectivo de Teatro Nacional de Puerto Rico (National Theater Collective of Puerto Rico). He then worked as director of the Raúl Juliá Training Unit at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater.
As Associate Artistic Director at Pregones/PRTT since 1981, Alvan’s work has led him to hold shared responsibility for the theater’s extensive artistic network – from collaborating on Pregones/PRTT’s 75+ premieres of Latino musical theater productions, to coordinating the ensemble’s Presenting and Touring programs. His touring experience has led him across the globe; Alvan holds artistic credits for projects based in the United States, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Mexico, Nicaragua, France, The Netherlands, and Puerto Rico. Through the Presenting and Touring programs, Alvan has forged ties between Pregones/PRTT and the global arts community.
Alvan’s work at Pregones/PRTT includes being an active proponent of arts-centered community development, particularly within New York City and The Bronx. His articles and editorials in performing arts publications include: Aplauso! Hispanic Children’s Theater (1995), Reimaging America: The Arts of Social Change (1990), and Revista Conjunto (Cuba) among others. In addition to its theatrical repertoire, Pregones/PRTT is known for its role as a cultural institution that applies the arts as a tool for outreach and community empowerment.
Artistic affiliations include: Board Member of A.R.T./New York (current); advisor and panelist for Theater Communication Group; Arts Presenters/APAP; Bronx Council on the Arts; National Endowment for the Arts, National Performance Network; NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; NYS Council on the Arts. He also holds teaching and merit recognitions including: Keynote for Black and Latino Legislative Caucus (2006); Keynote for Teatro Avante International Hispanic Theater Festival (Miami-New York) (2003); Guest Lecturer at New York University (2002); Ellen Lurie Award (1995); Visiting Scholar at Muhlenberg College (PA) (1993). He was awarded the Ford Foundation Visionaries Fellowship in 2006, and the LP21 Maestro Award in 2007.
Alvan received a B.A. in Science from the University of Puerto Rico in 1971 and a B.S. in Education from City College/CUNY in 1980. In 1987, he completed Master Training with Flora Lauten and Enrique Buenaventura at the International Theatre Institute in Cuba.