Say the word "theater" to the average person in the industry and he/she will immediately bring to mind the images of the mainstream: Broadway, Off-Broadway and the regional institutions around the country. However, one has only to veer slightly away from the center to find a whole spectrum of theaters with entirely different cultural points of reference, flavors, and colors: the theaters of the ethnic minority populations within the United States.
Between April 1984 and April 1985, Joanne Pottlitzer conducted a survey of 145 Hispanic theater organizations. Thirty-four of the theater organizations surveyed were located in New York, followed by thirty-two in the Southwest, thirty-one in California, twenty-one in San Juan, Puerto Rico, eighteen in Florida and five in the Midwest.
Data collected from 87 of the 101 theater groups show that 30 of the 87 groups were founded since 1980 and that seven are twenty years old or more. Most theaters produce an average of three plays a year in 100- to 199- seat houses. Although nearly 50 percent of the theaters do not have paid staff, 85 percent pay their actors. Four of 87 have annual budgets over $500,000; 20 are budgeted between $100,000 and $499,999; 28 between $20,000 and $99,000; 32 have budgets under $20,000. (Three had no budgets at the time of the survey.)
Fifty-one of the 101 theaters received state and local funding and money from private philanthropies, thirty-four received monies from the National Endowment for the Arts and all of the groups earned some revenue.
This study will focus on three of the Hispanic theater's most long-lived and respected companies: INTAR Hispanic American Arts Center (INTAR), Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, and Repertorio Espanol. Founded in the late 1960s, these three theaters "represent the Hispanic theater in New York in its most vital aspects. Though [they] have a common heritage and language, [they] have different DNAs." In order to facilitate an examination of each theater's aesthetic and support structures, it is necessary first to outline the historical and social background of a diverse group of people who form an ethnic minority generically referred to as "Hispanics."
Publication Date: 1990-05-15
Suggested Citation: Katherine D. Gartside, "Tri-Theater Case Study: INTAR Hispanic American Arts Center, Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, and Repertorio Español," Yale Theater Management Knowledge Base Case Study #2, May 15, 1990
Keywords: Puerto Rico, New York City, Community, Culturally Specific Organization, Organizational Culture, Performing Arts
Teaching Notes: No
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