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Center for Arts in Medicine

Professional Development: Intensives, Training, Internships

Creativity & Community: Theatre and the Arts for Health and Healing in Puerto Rico Summer Theatre Intensive

Creativity & Community: Theatre and the Arts for Health and Healing in Puerto Rico

Join the UF College of the Arts School of Theatre and Dance and Center for Arts in Medicine for this Summer 2022 adventure. Working with the Puerto Rican theatre company Y No Había Luz, build upon your artistic practice and discover how creativity can be a healing tool in communities. During this hands-on experience in Puerto Rico, members of the Y No Habia Luz company and special guests from various communities will guide participants through an educational experience showcasing how to leverage the arts for community well-being.

" Theatre is a form of knowledge; it should and can also be a means of transforming society. Theatre can help us build our future, rather than just waiting for it." ~Augusto Boal

Program Description

During this intensive program, participants will work closely with the Puerto Rican theater company Y no había luz to discover how creativity can be a healing tool in communities. Participants will take an inside look at the creative processes that Y no habia luz uses and experience practical aspects of art and theatre-making in community settings.

Participants in this program will:

  • Develop artistic skills that become tools for social and emotional well-being
  • Identify and practice aspects of theater, dance and the visual arts that are effective catalysts for community healing
  • Engage in cultural exchange through art-making and fellowship

Program Fee: $3975 USD

  • A $600 non-refundable deposit toward the total cost of the program is due at the time of acceptance into the program.
  • The remaining fees ($3375) are due no later than April 1, 2022.
  • Spots are guaranteed upon receipt of the $600 non-refundable deposit.
    • Withdrawal between the final payment due date and 30 days prior to participant arrival will incur a penalty of 50% per participant.
    • Withdrawal between 29 days and 1 day before the start of a program will incur a penalty of 75% per participant.
    • Withdrawal at any point upon arrival or after the program start will result in no refund.
  • Most financial aid that you would receive on campus can be applied toward the cost of this program, however, all financial aid eligibility is determined by Student Financial Affairs. Delayed payments due to financial aid disbursements will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What's included?

  • Tuition for 3 credits
  • Transportation to and from San Juan airport
  • On-site orientation, group welcome and farewell dinners
  • Accommodations for 16 nights
  • Excursions and other local outings, guided tours and entrance fees
  • Emergency medical assistance

What's not included?

  • Round-trip airfare to San Juan, additional personal travel
  • Meals
  • Financial aid
Dates, Location and Guided Excursions

Dates: May 13-29 2022

Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Guided Excursions to:

  • Old San Juan
  • Santurce es Ley Walk
  • Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
  • Andanza (Theater Company)
  • Agua, Sol y Sereno (Theater Company)
  • Gandul (Theater Company)
  • Day trip to Orocovis
About the Y No Había Luz Theatre Collective

Over 16 days, participants will engage in intensive study with Y No Había Luz – a group of Puerto Rican artists-activists - in their theatre space in the Santurce arts district of San Juan. The focus will be on community-based theatre pedagogy and will include concepts of ethical community relationship-building as well as specific theatre techniques for devising work in response to and drawn from shared stories of trauma.  

Since 2005, the San Juan, Puerto Rico-based Y No Había Luz Theatre Collective has produced work with a mission to “awaken sensitivity, beauty, creativity, freedom of thought and spirit, conscience, solidarity, and social justice in Puerto Rico and the world.” Their work is characterized by an interdisciplinary and highly collaborative approach to working within communities that have been impacted by (un)natural disaster. They have been called “first responders” to disaster and have been credited with “lifting the soul of a fallen spirit.”  


Santurcia Hostel

Located in the heart of Santurce’s Art District in San Juan, this modern hostel has a bohemian flair that welcomes guests from all around the world looking for a key location in the gastronomic, artistic, and nightlife epicenter of Santurce. A great place to stay, network, hang out, enjoy an urban rooftop view and experience the local lifestyle first hand.

Eligibility and Requirements


  • Open to all UF students & non-UF students
  • UF Students
    • Must be in good standing
    • Must register for HUM3598L (3 credits). This course counts towards the Undergraduate Certificate in Applied Theatre for Health.
    • Must submit the statement of interest form telling us who you are and detailing why you would like to participate in the program.
    • Must interview with one of the program professors, Colleen Rua, Jeffrey Pufahl, or Antonio Sajid Lopez
  • Non-UF Students
    • This program is open to all creative artists interested in the intersection of arts in health.
    • Must submit the statement of interest form telling us who you are and detailing why you would like to participate in the program.
    • Must interview with one of the program professors, Colleen Rua, Jeffrey Pufahl, or Antonio Sajid Lopez


  • All travelers to Puerto Rico must present proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 3 days of arrival.

Complete the statement of interest form to apply. If you'd like to discuss any details please email Jeffrey Pufahl at Jeffpuf@ufl.edu. Applications are received on a rolling basis and will be assessed on two deadlines: Jan. 15 and Feb. 15. Spots are granted on a first-come, first-serve basis until all 18 spots have been taken. Your deposit secures your spot, and all deposits must be received by March 1, 2022. We look forward to your joining us on this journey to realize the power of theatre for community wellbeing. 

Instructor Biographies

Jeffrey Pufahl

  • Research Assistant Professor in the Center for Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida, Jeffrey’s work is a combination of teaching applied theater, directing and producing health-related theater and film projects, community-engaged research, research translation, and health communication. His local and international research focuses on how the arts can be used to investigate community health issues in order to catalyze public engagement and critical dialogue around health and wellness.  

Colleen Rua 

  • Dr. Colleen Rua is Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies at The University of Florida. Her research interests include Latinx Theatre, American Musical Theatre, Immersive Theatre, and Applied Theatre. Her current book project explores the relationship between performance, trauma and healing in American Musical Theatre representations of Puerto Rico. Recent directing credits include:…And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, and the immersive experiences An Awfully Big Adventure, and The Skin of Our Teeth. She looks forward to directing Jose Rivera's Marisol in 2022.  

Antonio Sajid López Méndez (Consultant):

  • Dr. Méndez is lecturer of language and culture at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies in Ponce, Puerto Rico; and the author of Metateatro Hispanoamericano Contemproáneo (Pliegos, Madrid, 2020). As a theatrical artist, he remained active on the Puerto Rican scene from 1996 to 2010. In 2018, he received the UF Internationalizing Curriculum Grant for the creation of the SPN 3530 Hispanic Theater for Social Justice course. Dr. López Méndez has a PhD in Hispanic Literature from the University of Florida (2015).

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