About to Turn 100, Cuban Actress and Playwright Herminia Sanchez Dies

The actress graduated from the Dramatic Arts Seminary of the University of Havana in the 1950s. (ANC)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 2 December 2022 — Cuban actress and teacher Herminia Sánchez Quintana, National Theater Award winner in 2019, died this Thursday in Havana at the age of 99. Her imprint on the island’s dramaturgy, cinema, radio and television accredits her as one of the most notable faces of the Cuban scene.

Born in Barcelona in 1923, Sánchez graduated from the Havana University’s Dramatic Arts Seminary in the 1950s. She worked at the National Theater, the National Dramatic Ensemble, and the Estudio Theater.

From her youth, her performances in Electra (1951), by Sophocles, and in La casa de Bernarda Alba (1953), by Federico García Lorca, are remembered. She is also known for her founding work at the Escambray Theater, where she wrote and premiered her first play, Escambray mambí (1968), which stages various passages from the diary of General Máximo Gómez and from the Episodes of the Cuban Revolution, by Manuel de la Cross.

The historical theme and the sociological study as tools of theatrical fiction would mark Sánchez’s work as a playwright at the Teatro de Participación Popular. With this group, the actress promoted different initiatives in the coastal neighborhoods of Havana, together with her husband, the actor Manolo Terraza, which had their synthesis in the staging of Loma del Ángel (1975), based on the homonymous novel by Cyril Villaverde. She shared the stage with Rosita Fornés, Adolfo Llauradó, Raquel Revuelta and Abelardo Estorino.

During the 1980s, she worked as a teacher at the Instituto Superior de Arte and worked in film, television and theater. He acted in important films like LucíaHello Hemingway and Habana Eva. As for her writing, she published the volumes TeatroDe pie and Monólogos teatrales cubanos.  

As part of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, she negotiated several cultural contracts with the countries of the Soviet bloc and appeared as a lecturer in Germany, the US, Bulgaria, Spain and Latin America. She was also invited to participate as a jury in the Casa de las Américas Award and in various contests organized by the Armed Forces.

Having been born in Spain and carrying out her cultural work on the Island, she received the title of Distinguished Emigrant by the Society of Spanish Residents, as well as that of Adoptive Daughter of Old Havana. She also received the Alejo Carpentier Order and the Distinction for National Culture, in addition to the Caricato Award, in 2017, and the National Theater Award, in 2019.

Sánchez’s death was announced on the official Twitter account of the University of the Arts, where she worked as a tenured professor. Her book De ella Teatro de fuerza y ​​candor, a kind of autobiography, summarizes her almost hundred years of life and her passion for theatrical fiction.


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