Peruvian puppeteer. Felipe Rivas Mendo discovered puppetry at the age of five when he saw with his mother a puppet show by Amadeo de la Torre. As a college student at the Colegio Melitón Carvajal, he had Sergio Arrau as a theatre professor. After earning his degree in accounting, he eventually became a theatre teacher in schools. Also trained at the drama school at the Club de Teatro de Lima (Lima Theatre Club) with Reynaldo D’Amore and then at the Teatro Universitario de San Marcos (San Marcos University Theatre) with Guillermo Ugarte Chamorro, he befriended Vertiz Arroyo, which led him to take an interest in the history of puppets. His artistic training and his studies were a determining factor in his vocation.
From 1958 to 1961, Felipe Rivas Mendo studied all aspects of performing arts (acting, directing, playwriting, and stage design), which he later applied to puppetry. In 1961, he presented La farsa del pastel y la torta (The Farce of the Cake and the Pie) and La tinaja (The Earthenware Jar), which debuted at the Talia theatre in Lima with his puppet company, Teatro de Títeres Pinocho (Pinocchio).
In 1963, he began to travel throughout South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, meeting with puppeteers from these countries to gather information and exchange experiences. Upon his return after three years of collecting and research, he created the Peruvian Puppet Institute in which he put the experience gained during his travels into practice. This institute played an important role in the Peruvian cultural scene.
As the head of the theatre programme at the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (National Institute of Culture), he also produces shows with the puppet theatre (comprising of over one hundred plays) that he inherited from the puppeteer José Solari Hermosilla. He is also director of his own company, Marionetas del Barranco.
Felipe Rivas Mendo is the author of Juguemos a los títeres (Let’s Play with Puppets, 1965), Títeres en el aula (Puppets in Class, 1965), Cuatro obras para el retablillo (Four Plays for the Puppet Stage, 1968), Los títeres un medio de comunicación en el Perú (Puppets, A Means of Communication in Peru, 1970).
Felipe Rivas Mendo is a core member of UNIMA-Peru.