Fireworks illuminated Praça do Sol, FAAP, and the Higienópolis and Pacaembu neighborhoods. More than 600 actors, directors, dramatists, professors, and students gathered around Paulo Autran, who was celebrating his 80th birthday in September 2002. Few occasions in São Paulo have been able to bring together so many figures from the theater to honor a professional who has dominated the stage with unwavering self-assurance, energy, and talent for sixty years. He has acted at FAAP's theater five times in different seasons. This honor for a legendary actor took place precisely in a theater, one of the city's landmarks.

The theater has one of the most modern and best-equipped auditoriums in São Paulo. A theater in a school, with a museum too, is unusual anywhere in the world. This is a place where art takes place for different ages.

The entire technical structure of the theater was refurbished. Lighting equipment used the latest technology; more spotlights and different reflectors meant that any type of lighting effect could be produced, no matter how complex. Dressing rooms were modified - all repainted in light colors and fitted with showers. Access was previously only through the stage, so a separate entrance was added. For the convenience of audiences, there is a no-charge service center; reception staff was expanded to provide information quickly and guide people to their seats in a few minutes.

In the 1940s, when Armando Alvares Penteado had the idea of founding a new art school, the theater was part of his plans. Thirty years later, FAAP had its first - rather incipient - theater as part of a project called "Supermarket of Sound." The new theater opened in September 1976 with Jorge Andrade's play A moratória [Moratorium].

Unlike most theaters, this is more than a space "rented out" for a period. FAAP has partnership arrangements with many theatrical companies - professional, amateur, or experimental - in order to encourage cultural activity and facilitate reflection, discussion, and progress. Productions have included Ibsen's A Doll's House; a piece based on Tennessee Williams' Glass Menagerie; Flávio de Carvalho's O bailado do deus morto [literally Dance of Dead God], a very controversial piece first staged by a group called Teatro da Experiência [Theater of Experience], at the time it even led to an intervention by a special police department charged with "upholding morals." At the same time, mab was staging the exhibition Flávio de Carvalho - One Hundred Years of a Romantic Revolutionary, which shows how the arts interact at the Foundation.

Writers whose plays have been produced at FAAP over the last five years include Peter Handke, Pirandello, Ionesco, Chekhov, Maria Adelaide Amaral, Maria Clara Machado, Alfred Jarry, Antônio Ermírio de Moraes, Margaret Edson, David Auburn, Marta Góes, David Hare, Jeff Baro, and Heleen Verburg. Outstanding actors have appeared, such as Raul Cortez, Marília Pêra, Christiane Torloni, Irene Ravache, Karin Rodrigues, Regina Braga, Ana Paula Arósio, Luis Melo, Gabriel Nunes, Rogério Fróes, Diogo Vilela, José de Abreu, Débora Bloch, Adriane Galisteu, Irene Kaplan, Sonia Guedes, Cecil Thiré, Tania Bondezan, Beatriz Segall, and Jonas Bloch. Plays have been directed by José Possi Neto, Iacov Hillel, Jorge Takla, Cacá Rosset, Emílio di Biasi, and Roberto Lage. Less wellknown or experimental groups have included far and Carro de Paulista (which looks at the life of young people in the outlying low-income neighborhoods). Chekhov's classic Uncle Vanya was staged, but so were difficult dramatic pieces such as Handke's Self-accusation (Silêncio). Not to mention plays by the "outcast" writer Mário Bortolotto - À meia-noite um solo de sax na minha cabeça [Sax Solo on My Mind at Midnight] and Fica frio [Stay Cool]. Or Alfred Jarry's provocative Ubu roi, produced by the company Folias Physicas, Pataphysicas e Musicaes. There were children's plays too, by Ruth Rocha, Simone Boer, and Heleen Verburg. FAAP Theater hosted concerts with Turíbio Santos, Achille Picchi, Niza Tank, and Caio Pagano. Dance events were staged with Ana Botafogo, the Contemporary Dance Company and Stanislavski Ballet Theater (both from Moscow), and the Nikolayevsky Arts Center Folkdance Group (Saint Petersburg). In short, the theater has hosted a wide range of cultural activity.

Proving that it has its own identity in terms of cultural policy, FAAP's theater also founded a Scenic Arts Center, with workshops in drama, acting, and direction. As part of its unique approach, the center opens its doors to projects that have scheduled premieres but need rehearsal space. So the FAAP Theater logo is seen on programs, invitations, posters, pamphlets, and leaflets for plays staged elsewhere.


Students from different schools at the Foundation, without assistance from professors or directors, have produced amateur pieces with guidance from FAAP Theater. The Scenic Arts Center hosted a presentation by a group of Kung Fu Taiji monks showing costumes from five dynasties and the presentation on China through Kung Fu. Once again, there was interaction between segments, since these events complemented the exhibition China: Imperial Art, Everyday Art, and Contemporary Art, held at MBA-FAAP.