Founded in 2014, Saudade Theatre is the first and only theatre company in the United States devoted to celebrating the Portuguese voice and experience. We partner with playwrights, directors, actors and other artists to develop original and thought-provoking work grounded in the Portuguese consciousness.
Saudade Theatre leadership is comprised of Filipe Valle Costa, Founder & Co-Artistic Director; Diogo Martins, Co-Artistic Director; and Vanessa Varela, Executive Director.
[n.] a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia that is characteristic of the Portuguese.
Living in New York City in 2014, Filipe Valle Costa and Diogo Martins launched the “Portuguese Table Series”, a monthly event where local artists of all backgrounds could meet and read notable works from Portuguese playwrights. Each time, Filipe and Diogo had to translate the selected plays from Portuguese to English, because they could not find published translations in the local theatre bookshops. They questioned whether any entities in the United States were translating and publishing Portuguese playwrights or producing Portuguese works for American audiences. As a result of the “Portuguese Table Series”, Yale DFA candidate Maria Inês Marques reached out to Filipe and Diogo, introducing them to acclaimed contemporary Portugal-based playwright and director, Mickaël de Oliveira. Recipient of the Maria Matos New Playwriting Award, Oliveira has written over 20 plays, which have been produced internationally and translated into several languages, including French, English, Spanish, and Slovak.
In 2017, Saudade Theatre opened its first Equity production in New York City: the United States premiere of Mickaël de Oliveira’s “The Constitution”, translated by Maria Inês Marques and produced by Vanessa Varela. In 2018, Saudade Theatre opened the West Coast premiere of Mickaël de Oliveira’s “The Constitution” in Los Angeles, directed by Filipe Valle Costa and produced by Vanessa Varela. In 2019, Saudade Theatre presented its first original play, alongside playwright Mickaël de Oliveira and his Lisbon-based theatre company, Colectivo 84: "My Favorite Suicide" written by Mickaël de Oliveira and translated by Maria Inês Marques. In just two years, Saudade Theatre had debuted an international playwright and an original English translation of his work to audiences on both coasts of the United States.