Popular theatre – sometimes called guerrilla theatre, community theatre, participatory theatre or theatre of the oppressed – is a genre of theatre that gears performances towards engaging the working class and marginalized communities in the arts. Ultimately, the goal of popular theatre is to serve as a tool for open dialogue and social transformation. The Anamú theatre collective was founded by a group of theatre students at the University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras in 1970. Though not a theatre student, Alvan connected quickly with the group, becoming himself a co-founder of Anamú. In the midst of Puerto Rico’s colonial status, the political persecution of its independence activists and the augmenting crisis of inequality, Anamú sought to give voice to the island’s marginalized communities through theatre. Furthermore, they sought to find solutions. In the collective’s manifesto (displayed below), Anamú stated: “It is our fundamental objective that theatre, like any other artistic expression, not only help explain our reality, but also to transform it”.
Alvan reflects on his work in popular theatre and how it has influenced him as an artist.
How Alvan’s political experience affected his theatrical experience.