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History of Mexican Theatre

An Aztec design
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Richie Diesterheft

Mexico has a long and rich history of theatre dating back to the pre-Columbian period.


The Aztecs were known to have a theatre that included music and dance, as witnessed by the Spanish invaders. Its direct documentation has been lost, but it’s known that early missionaries witnessed it.

17th and 18th Centuries

After the Spanish invasion, a secular theatre developed quickly, and it reflected the traditions and the taste of Spain.

19th Century

The early part of the 19th century exhibited a decline in Mexican theatre, due partly to war. Styles reflected Spanish classicism. Later, however, European romanticism arrived. At the same time, a nationalistic consciousness arose and was reflected in Mexican theatre. New world legends began to arise in Mexican plays in the works of Rodriguez Galvan.

20th Century

Spanish influence remained dominant until the end of the Mexican Revolution, when playwrights began to write in Mexician Spanish. Experimental theatre began to flourish. During the 1950s realism was dominant, and from the 1960s playwrights again began to write daring work.


Theatre is healthy, varied, and widespread throughout Mexico. It reflects the national culture and often its history. Its many forms include street theatre, international theatre, and theatre in the Aztec and Mayan languages.

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