organisation

El Galpón

Country

Uruguay

Uruguayan puppet theatre founded in 1949. El Galpón (The Shed), established in Montevideo, is an iconic institution not only in Uruguay but also in a large part of Latin America. From the beginning, this theatrical institution focused its activities on touring neighbourhoods and schools with the aim of bringing theatre to children, especially the art of puppetry. The group raised sufficient funds to build its own theatre, which was inaugurated in 1951. Rosita Claret, Bruno Musitelli and Nicolás Loureiro comprised the company’s first puppeteers. Under the direction of Bruno Musitelli and Juan M. Tenuta, they interpreted plays by Rosita Baffico, and Argentine puppeteers and playwrights Javier Villafañe and Otto Alfredo Freitas.

In 1952, El Galpón created the Escuela de Titiriterosa, a school for puppeteers, which became its own institution under the direction of Rosita Baffico in 1955. The Argentine master, Eduardo Di Mauro, a master of glove puppetry, would later join this group. Under the guidance of Nicolás Loureiro, the institution expanded in size and reputation. It has since been directed by Jorge Curi, Miguel Cherro, Juver Salcedo and Áida Rodríguez.

The repertoire of El Galpón is composed of works (both original and adapted) by Rosita Baffico, Di Mauro, Alejandro Casona, Joaquín Gómez Bas, Serafín José García, Javier Villafañe, Mané Bernardo, Rolando Speranza, Hugo Bolón, Montiel Ballesteros, and especially by Federico García Lorca, without forgetting Cervantes.

During the period of Uruguay’s military dictatorship, between May 1976 and October 1984, members of El Galpón exiled themselves to Mexico City. Transformed into a “fortress of culture” during this period of exile, the group presented around twenty-five puppet theatre plays for adults and children, and performed over 2,500 shows throughout Mexico. Returning to Uruguay after the return to civilian rule in 1984, El Galpón resumed their activities.

Among the shows they have performed, the most notable include: Comino va a la selva (Camino Goes to the Jungle, 1985), directed by Carlos Converso; La valija de Petrucho (Petrucho’s Suitcase, 1987), directed by Blanca Loureiro; Atención Bicho Colorado (1990), directed by Bernardo Galli; Un dos, tre… cuatro, cinco (One, Two, Three… Four, Five, 1991), directed by Elbio Ferrario; La niña que riega la albahaca (The Girl Who Watered the Basil) and El retablillo de Don Cristóbal (The Puppet Play of Don Cristóbal, 1997), directed by Juan Gentile.

(See Uruguay.)