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Joanne Pottlitzer and TOLA archive

Call Number: YCAL MSS 1228

Content Description

The collection consists of writings, correspondence, production files, photographs, slides, interviews, audiovisual materials, printed materials, teaching files, artwork, props, masks, musical instruments, and other papers documenting the work of Joanne Pottlitzer and Theater of Latin America. The papers document Pottlitzer's collaborations with Augusto Boal, Leonora Carrington, Griselda Gambaro, Gilberto Gil, Juan Jose? Gurrola, Victor Jara, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Lotty Rosenfeld, Jose? Triana, Mario Vargas Llosa, and other artists. The archive also includes printed materials and other papers relating to Chilean president Salvador Allende Gossens.


  • circa 1957-2018


Language of Materials

Materials in Spanish and English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Boxes 11-32, 43, 51-58 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Boxes 33, 40 (digital media): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 62 (fragile perishable): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Boxes 11-12: Restricted until 2044. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Joanne Pottlitzer and Ken Lopez Bookseller on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2018.


Organized into one grouping: November 2018 acquisition.


66.42 Linear Feet (79 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Joanne Pottlitzer

Joanne Pottlitzer has been working in the theater since 1961, when, after graduating in dramatic arts from Purdue University, she won a fellowship to go to Chile and study Chilean theater. In 1967 she founded the Theater of Latin America (TOLA) and became a key figure in bringing Latin American theater people and their works to the U.S. She also invited Richard Schechner to meet theater people in five Latin American countries on a tour she designed for him in 1968. At TOLA Joanne produced more than 30 Off Broadway plays (two of which won Obie Awards) as well as fifteen major concerts and ten national tours. She has worked in the theater in virtually every capacity -- as a playwright, producer, translator, director, even actor -- and she has worked with many of the leading figures in Latin American theater, including Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, avant garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, surrealist artist and writer Leonora Carrington, Brazilian playwright and director Augusto Boal, Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil, and Chilean theater director, singer and folk hero Victor Jara, among many others.

TOLA’s production of “A Latin American Fair of Opinion,” directed by Boal, won a 1972 Obie Award.

While Pottlitzer’s work has included Latin American theater from a wide range of countries, after the 1973 military coup in Chile, her focus shifted to that country for several years thereafter. Between 1974 and 1977, she brought some of Chile's leading singers and singing groups to New York, i.e. Inti-Illimani, Angel and Isabel Parra, Quilapayun, whom she presented at Carnegie Hall. TOLA’s 1975 production of “Chile, Chile!” documented the years leading up to the election of Salvador Allende -- the first socialist president to be elected in the western hemisphere -- and the aftermath of the military coup which turned Chile into a dictatorship for nearly two decades under the leadership of General Augusto Pinochet. The production, directed by Joseph Chaikin, won a 1976 Obie Award.

In 1978, she began to organize TOLA's Theatre in the Americas Festival, bringing theatre groups from five Latin American countries and Canada. She also brought representatives of every theatre discipline from Canada and twenty Latin American countries. The groups performed at the Kennedy Center in D.C. for one week and at La Mama ETC and the Entermedia theatre in New York for two weeks. All participants, including U.S. artists (among them Edward Albee, Arthur Miller, Irene Fornes, and The Bread and Puppet Theatre) spent a week of workshops at the Eugene O'Neill Center in Waterford, CT.

In 2001 Pottlitzer was given an award by the Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations “acknowledging and in appreciation of contributions toward restoring democracy in Chile.”

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Processing Information

The Joanne Pottlitzer and TOLA Archive is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Guide to the Joanne Pottlitzer and TOLA Archive
by Beinecke staff
September 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Access Information

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