Directed by José Celso Martinez Corrêa (a.k.a. Zé Celso), Teatro Oficina was founded in 1958 by students of the Law School of the University of São Paulo. The group has a history of commitment to social and political issues in Brazil, and has undergone several transformations that parallel in many ways the transformations of Brazilian political history. Oficina was a major player in the cultural revolution of the late 60s, including the seminal staging of Oswald de Andrade's O Rei da Vela, which revolutionized Brazilian aesthetics in performance. In 1968 came the most violent period of the Brazilian military dictatorship, and the members either left the group or went into exile. During the slow and gradual reestablishment of Brazil's democracy, the group struggled to reopen and rebuild their space according to a radical architectural project by Lina Bo Bardi. In 1993 Teatro Oficina was re-founded as Teat(r)o Oficina Uzyna Uzona, and began a very productive phase that led to the staging of Euclides da Cunha's classic journalistic novel, Os Sertões. In a process that took 7 years, from 2000 to 2007, Oficina produced the five parts of this work, in a total of 27 hours of theater, culminating with a tour in Canudos, the town in the middle of Brazil's "sertão" where the original story took place. Also during this period, Oficina became deeply involved with social issues regarding their neighborhood, starting in 2002 the "Movimento Bexigão," to work with local children and youth in social risk situation. Commemorating 50 years of existence in 2008, Oficina continues to tour inside the country and abroad, and to produce new works, including Estrela Brazyleira a Vagar – Cacilda!, the second part of their tetralogy on Brazilian actress Cacilda Becker.
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