acting Chile contemporary art masks and costumes painting Ruber Osoria theatre



// We always enjoy a glimpse into theatre dressing rooms. The Cuban photographer Ruber Osoria, now living in Chile, had a chance to document the theatre troupe Santobordell getting ready for a performance of “A Miner in Heaven” at the Centro Cultural Arauco in December 2021.

We have previously featured Ruber´s photography of Chilean street art. Ruber has now been away from his home country for several years and feels quite homesick at times. Photography helps him process what he is experiencing in his new home, Chile. “I seek an identity through photography, and I am photographing everything that reminds me of Cuba,” he says.

To understand the title we gave this article, read what Ruber has to say about how photographing this theatre company made him feel.


Lizardo Gutiérrez

What draws you to the arts?

“What attracts me to art is its purity, its freedom, the most sincere thing that one can touch, feel and imagine.

Art makes me feel like a fictional character created in my mind, it makes it concrete, it is something else. I stop being a simple maintenance worker and I become a photography artist, art is my drug, my lover and my judge.”

What did you like best about photographing this acting troupe?

“What I like most is that I can travel in time when I am photographing the theater. It’s back to my adolescence. And to see in my mind Anaí, Adita, Osiris and myself acting or in the makeup process. The theater gives me that little piece of ephemeral homeland that I need to be able to adapt and live in a society as xenophobic as Chile’s. All this comes because after spending two years outside of Cuba I lose my nationality.”

It is always fun to get a glimpse behind the scenes, especially of theatre productions. In December 2021 Ruber was able to join the theatre troupe of the Teatro Santobordell as a behind-the-scenes photographer, when they were preparing for the performance of “A Miner in Heaven” (Un Minero en el Cielo) at the Centro Cultural Arauco in Chile.

This theatre company, which is now in its 17th year of running, has set itself the goal of contributing to cultural progress in the community, the province and the Biobío region at large through innovative projects. Their ultimate goal is to get citizens to integrate art into their daily lives. Art, to the company director, playwright, and musician Lizardo Gutiérrez, is a fundamental right that allows the integral development of the individual. Free access to art is a challenge that this company wants to take up.

In his heart, Ruber is very much an artist himself. Before becoming a photographer, in the past in Cuba he was playing the tablas (a type of drum), and he was the vocalist of a small punk band in his town, also performing for the radio. So being in a theatre brings back many good memories for him.

We are happy to share this look into the backstage world of this dedicated theatre company with you. And if you look closely, you will find Ruber himself in one of these images.

Images may be cropped for layout. Click on the photos to see the original version.


You could also visit Ruber´s Instagram page.

The theatre troupe Santobordell also has its own Instagram page.