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Teatro Avante :: Key Personnel

BEATRIZ J. RIZK, Ph.D. | Dramaturge and Literary Consultant

Born in Colombia, Dr. Rizk is a college profesor, critic, theater promoter and theater researcher. She has published more than one hundred essays and edited seven special issues of the journalTramoya. Her books include El Nuevo Teatro latinoamericano: Una lectura histórica (1987); Posmodernismo y teatro en América Latina: teorías y prácticas en el umbral del siglo XXI (2001; 2ª. Edición 2007); Teatro y diáspora: testimonios escénicos latinoamericanos(2002) and Imaginando un continente: utopía, democracia y neoliberalismo en el teatro latinoamericano.tomo 1 & 2 (2010). She is co-author of Latin American Popular Theatre: The First Five Hundred Years (1993) and a Senior Fellow at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. A longtime associate of Teatro Avante, she directs the International Hispanic Theater Festival of Miami’s Educational Program.

ERNESTO PADILLA | Lighting Design

Padilla, as he prefers to be called, was an art curator and restorer in Cuba and subsequently, for more than ten years, in Buenos Aires. Since 2000, he has been working with Teatro Avante and the International Hispanic Theatre Festival of Miami, first as a technician, then technical director, and in recent years in charge of lighing design for all Teatro Avante productions, including Por las tierras de Colón, Aire frío,El malentendido, El no, Al pie del Támesis, Años difíciles and Alguna cosita que alivie el sufrir. Padilla currently heads his own company, Ernesto Padilla Productions, which offers lighting, sound, video and staging services of all kinds for public and private events.

JORGE NOA & PEDRO BALMASEDA | Set, Costumes and Props

The team of Jorge Noa and Pedro Balmaseda engages in artistic, architectural and interior design. The two are known and respected within Miami’s performing arts scene for their theatrical designs, as well as for their important mission of reclaiming the most beautiful traditions of Cuban art. Jorge was born in Camagüey and graduated from the Instituto Superior Politécnico of Santiago de Cuba with a degree in architecture. Pedro was born in Havana and graduated from the University of Havana with a degree in dentistry. In Cuba they earned two Máscara de Caoba awards for their set designs for many theater groups on the island. They moved to Venezuela and concentrated on designing sets for television, including national channels like Televen and Venevisión. They have lived in Miami since 1998 and run the firm Genoah Interior Design, Inc., which has created comercial and residential environments throughout South Florida. They also head the artistic production company Nobarte, which designs and manufactures sets and costumes for a range of companies. The team does major work for Miami Dade College’s Teatro Prometeo, for which it has designed more than ten productions in recent years. Their creations have been used by many other theatrical companies, such as Teatro Doble, Galiano 108, El Ingenio Teatro and Wolfson Opera/Musical Ensemble, among others. Since 2006 Teatro Avante’s productions have been graced with their accurate and beautiful set and costume designs. Those productions include Una tempestad, Yerma, La Celestina, Aire frío, Por las tierras de Colón, El malentendido, El no, Al pie del Támesis, Años difíciles and Alguna cosita que alivie el sufrir. They have participated in a range of theater festivals and their creations have enhanced stages in Brazil, Costa Rica, Slovenia, Spain, United States, Puerto Rico, Peru and Mexico. As part of the 28th International Hispanc Theatre Festival, the team presented a retrospective of their designs titled Journey to the Center of the Stage.

MIKE PORCEL | Musician Composer

The composer, musical arranger, guitarist and singer-songwriter was born in Havana and is a naturalized U.S. citizen. From a young age, he studied classical guitar, composition, harmony and orchestration with distinguished Cuban masters. He debuted as a professional in 1969 with the rock group Dada. His compositions have earned him kudos and have been recorded by major singers, including Elsa Baeza, Nacha Guevara, Argelia Fragoso, Beatriz Marques, Carlos Luis, Bobby Jiménez and Danny Rivera. In 1973 he joined the company Teatro Estudio in the role of conductor and musical adviser, and in those years developed his skills as an arranger. In 1977 he co-founded the group Síntesis, an unprecedented effort to amalgamate the roots of Cuban rural music and different currents of symphonic rock. In 1978 he won first prize at the Festival Mundial de la Juventud y los Estudiantes with the song “En busca de una nueva flor”. In 1980, along with thousands of other Cubans, he tried to flee the island. For nine years, he was barred from leaving and blacklisted from cultural activities. Finally, in 1989, he succeeded in fleeing to Spain thanks to the intervention of the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. In Spain, he recorded a series of 52 programs for Radio Martí, produced, arranged and directed the CD “Mis momentos felices” for Cuban-Spanish singer Elsa Baeza; composed original music for various projects of Spain’s TVE public network; put together a musical and dramatic special based on the poetry of Spanish mystics John of the Cross and Theresa of Jesus; and performed a second version of Que hablen los poetas throughout Spain and Belgium. He composed music for an animated series (Mimi and Mr. Bobo) and for several documentaries in Switzerland and Spain. Since 1995, he has worked with Teatro Avante composing original music for a range of plays, including Matecumbe, La peregrina,Cenizas sobre el mar, Aire frío, Por las tierras de Colón, El malentendido, El no, Al pie del Támesis, Alguna cosita que alivie el sufrir y El puerto de los cristales rotos.

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