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Hispanic Fest turns 25

3422992_XXV - IHTF - 10.Gatomaquia.Photo2.by G.Castagnelllo.UruguayThe International Hispanic Theatre Festival, Miami's annual celebration of the plays, playwrights and artists from the Spanish-speaking theater world, turns 25 this year.  To mark that special anniversary, Teatro Avante founder and artistic director Mario Ernesto Sánchez -- the actor/director whose determination has kept the festival going all these years -- has planned a more extensive lineup than usual, as well as a special tribute to the theater of Mexico.

As in recent years, most of the performances take place either in the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., or at Teatro Prometeo on Miami Dade College's Wolfson campus, 300 NE Second Ave. in downtown Miami.  With a few exceptions (some supertitles, a play in Portuguese), most of this year's shows will be performed in Spanish, with most evening performances at 8:30 p.m.  Here's what's on the lineup, which begins July 7 and ends Aug. 1.

The festival kicks off July 7-9 at the Arsht with Amarillo, a piece by Teatro Línea de Sombra from Mexico City. Más pequeños que el Guggenheim, a play by Mexico's Alejandro Ricaño, runs July 8-9 at Prometeo. Miami's Teatro Prometeo presents Filo al fuego, the Spanish-language version (with English supertitles) of Oliver Mayer's Blade to the Heat, at its space July 9-10. Ramón del Valle-Inclán's Divinas palabras, from the Spanish company Atalya, runs July 10-11 at the Arsht.

3256923_XXV - IHTF - 8.El Rey que no oia pero escuchaba.Photo1.MexicoThe Brazilian company Oco Teatro Laboratório presents Luis Alberto Alonso and Tiago Chaves' Os sonhos de Segismundo (in Portuguese with Spanish supertitles) July 14-16 at the Arsht. Uruguay's Nidia Telles brings Julio César Castro's Gracias por todo July 16-18 at Prometeo. Spain's Albanta presents Arístede Vargas' Flores arrancadas a la niebla July 17-18 at the Arsht.

On the bill for the free International Children's Day July 18 , held in two locations, are Perla Szchumaker's El rey que no oÏa, pero escuchaba from Mexico's Seña y Verbo Teatro de Sordos (at Miami Dade College's InterAmerican Campus, 627 SW 27th Ave., Miami) and Carola García's Versado, el andarín cuentero: de cómo la Princesa Oma acabó con la guerra by Consejo Artístico de Puerto Rico (at the North Shore Park and Youth Center, 501 72nd St., Miami Beach).  The Children's Day events happen from 2 to 8 p.m.

Later in the festival come Lope de Vega's Gatomaquia by Uruguay's La Cuarta (July 21-23 at the Arsht), Francisco Hinojosa's Los niños perdidos by Mexico's El Fenix Producciones (July 23-24 at Prometeo), Juan Francisco Sánchez Brkic's Pedro de Valdivia: la gesta inconclusa from Chile's Tryo Teatro Banda (July 24-25 at the Arsht), Claudio Tolcachir's Tercer cuerpo by Argentina's Timbre 4 (July 30-31 at Pometeo). The festival closes Aug. 1 with Teatro Aveante's production of Guillermo Schmidhuber's Por las tierras de Colón (in Spanish with English supertitles).

The festival also includes a photography exhibit, staged readings, a video presentation, an educational conference and presentation of a lifetime achievement award to Mexico's José "Pepe'' Solé. Tickets at the Arsht are $28.75, at Prometeo $25; seniors, students and disabled theatergoers get $5 off at both venues. For information, call Teatro Avante at 305-445-8877 or visit the company's web site.