The Mirpuri Foundation is pleased to announce that it will be awarding a Prize in the areas of Dance, Music and Theater. Each prize will be named after a national prominent public figure in each of these respective cultural areas. The Prize intends to promote and recognize cultural activities at the highest international levels of excellence, as well as to epitomize its role as a model for younger generations by stimulating the quality of artistic production in these fields of cultural expression. The prize will be awarded by a qualified jury in accordance with the competition’s respective performing area, selected by the Mirpuri Foundation.

The Mirpuri Foundation will attribute its first award in 2018, in a special ceremony devoted to honoring the works and authors laureate, but also to promote a greater dissemination of its cultural enterprises and philanthropic activities.

The Dance, Music and Theatre Awards recognize outstanding work and excellence in:



This award will promote excellence in Theatre. The prize is named after Carlos Avilez.

Carlos Avilez is one of the most important and controversial Portuguese theatre directors, whose productions of many dramatists’ works (mainly Shakespeare, Jean Genet and Gil Vicente) contributed significantly to the development of the 20th century Portuguese stage. His work began in the early 60’s and because of its new modern language he was soon known as the enfant terrible of Portuguese theatre. Influenced by directors Peter Brook and Jerzy Grotowski (whom he worked directly with) Avilez founded his own theatre Company in 1965, the “Teatro Experimental de Cascais” (The Cascais Experimental Theatre). There he worked with some of the most important 20th and 21st century Portuguese artists (playwrights, painters, set designers, musicians, composers, dancers, choreographers and – of course – actors) staging more than 150 productions throughout the last 52 years, winning countless awards in Portugal and abroad – main productions included Shakespeare’s King Lear, Genet’s The Balcony, Yves Jamiaque’s Don Quijote, Büchner’s Danton’s Death, Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna, Witold Gombrowicz’s Ivona, Princess of Burgundia and Bertolt Brecht’s Life of Galileo, and also Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. He was also the artistic director for both Portuguese National Theatres (D. Maria II in Lisbon and São João in Oporto) and many other significant state and city theatre structures such as the “Teatro Municipal São Luiz” (São Luiz Municipal Theatre) (Lisbon) or the CITAC (in Coimbra). In 1970, he went on to become the director for the Portuguese Delegation at the Expo’ 70 in Osaka, Japan and in 1992 he founded the Escola Profissional de Teatro de Cascais (EPTC) (the Cascais Professional Theatre School – CPTS), one of the most prestigious Portuguese drama schools. After changing Portuguese theatre in the 60’s and 70’s, today Avilez is still acknowledged as one of the most influential directors in Portuguese theatre – maintaining a constant renewal of his stage language – but also as a key figure in the development of a new generation of Portuguese actors over the last 25 years as CPTS’s director and professor. The attributation of the 2016 Life Achievement Award by the Portuguese Society of Authors was one of many recognitions of a life fully dedicated to art and theatre.


Born in Coimbra in 1948, Eugénia Vasques is a renowned Theater teacher and critic. She graduated from the National Conservatory of Theatre (Conservatório Nacional de Teatro) in Lisbon and from University of Lisbon’s (Universidade de Lisboa) Faculty of Humanities (Faculdade de Letras). Furthermore, she has a Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara, U.S.A./ Portuguese Studies, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Eugénia Vasques has worked as a professor at the Lisbon Theatre and Film School (Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema/IPL) and as a Researcher at the Research Center in Arts and Communication (CIAC), University of Algarve. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the HUMANITAS Collection, CIAC/University of Algarve and of the Directing Board of Clube UNESCO for Artistic Education. Her list of published books include: Jorge de Sena: Uma Ideia de Teatro 1938-71(A Notion of Theatre) (Lisboa, Cosmos, 1998; Guimarães, 2015). Mulheres que Escreveram Teatro no Século XX em Portugal (Women Who Write Theatre in the 20th Century in Portugal) (Lisboa, Colibri, 2001).O Que É Teatro (What is Theatre) (Lisboa, Quimera, 2003; re-printed 2015, 2016). João Mota, o Pedagogo Teatral (The Theatrical Pegagogue) (Metodologia e Criação) (Methodology and Creation) (Lisboa, Colibri/IPL, 2006). Para a História da Encenação em Portugal (For the History of Staging in Portugal), (Lisboa, Sá da Costa, 2010). A Escola de Teatro do Conservatório (The Conservatory Theatre School) (1836-1911) Contributo para uma História do Conservatório de Lisboa (A Contribution to a History of the Lisbon Conservatory), (Lisboa, Gradiva, 2012). Educação Artística: Para um Currículo de Excelência (An Artistic Education: For a Curriculum of Excellence),(with Ana Caldas); Lisboa, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 2014). 


His artistic career began in 1969 at the “Cénico de Direito”, the first university theatre group in Lisbon. In 1970, he premiered in cinema with the movie “Nojo aos Cães (Revulsion of Dogs) and, and later in 1971, in professional theatre with F. Kafka’s “The Trial” at the Villaret Theatre. In 1972, he co-founded the “Comuna”, a theatrical collective, where he remained until 1981. In 1982, he was one of the principal founding members of the “Novo Grupo/Teatro Aberto” (New Group/ Open Theatre) integrating the co-operative’s board of directors. Since then he has been participating in most of the shows presented by this Company. In cinema, he has taken part in films by Luís Galvão Telles, António de Macedo, José Fonseca e Costa and Geneviéve Mershe, among others; in television, in series such as Clube dos Campeões (Club of Champions) and Cuidado com as Aparências (Careful Keeping up Appearances). Throughout his career he has been a radio personality and done voice acting for several animation series. At the same time, he embarked on a career as a playwright, where he went on to produce “A Ilha de Argüim” (The Island of Argüim) which took first place in the Inatel/Novos Textos (Inatel/New Texts) 1994 contest. The piece premiered at the  Baltazar Dias Theatre by the “Teatro Experimental do Funchal” (Funchal Experimental Theatre) in 1996 and was later edited into a book (SPA/Dom Quixote) and for television (RTP Madeira). Other pieces authored by Pestana that have been taken on stage include Subúrbio (The Suburb), or Não Há Nada que se Coma (There is Nothing to Eat) (Cinearte/A Barraca Theatres, 1995) and Deixa-me ser a tua Loucura (Let Me Be Your Madness) or Não Há Nada que se Coma 2 (There is Nothing to Eat 2) (Trindade Theatre, 1999). In 1995, he was awarded for distinction and merit in Theatre by the Government of Madeira.

Mirpuri Foundation Jury