was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and has worked as an actor, singer, writer, composer, puppeteer, film & theater director and producer in his country, Puerto Rico, Latin America, Europe and the United States. He is the founder and Artistic Director of SEA, Society of the Educational Arts, Inc. (www. teatrosea.org), with offices in Puerto Rico, Florida and New York City. Teatro SEA celebrated its 30 years in 2015. SEA is the first Puerto Rican organization dedicated to the Arts-in-Education with simultaneous operations in Puerto Rico and the United States. Its objective is to offer a real entertainment alternative, with cultural value and educational quality, for kids, the youth and adults through bilingual educational programs like workshops, seminars, theater and other cultural artistic expressions.
Morán graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and Drama. From New York University he obtained a Masters in Musical and Educational Theater, and later a Ph.D. in Educational Theater. He did specialized studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, USA, Menéndez Pelayo University in Santander, Spain and the Holborn Centre for the Performing Arts in London, United Kingdom. His doctoral dissertation is about Dr. Leopoldo Santiago Lavandero, who he considers the father of Educational Theater in Puerto Rico, and about the historical development of theater education and puppeteer theater in the island.
He has received numerous recognitions, among them awards from the Latin Critics Association of New York (ACE), the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) and the Independent Theater Actors (ATI). He was Grand Marshall of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York and received the “Best of our Community” Award, given by the November Committee, and other recognitions from the New York City Council and the Queen Borough. He was selected among Latino professionals in the United States to participate in the Hispanic Leaders Program, sponsored by the Carolina Foundation, Ortega y Gasset Foundation and the Embassy of Spain. New York’s El Diario La Prensa gave him the “El Award” award as one of the most prominent Latinos in the city. The specialized international magazine Puppetry International selected him as one of its most prominent 40 puppeteers under 40, and he also received the “UNIMA-USA Citation of Excellence”, an award established by Jim Henson for the most prominent puppeteers & puppet companies in the United States.
Morán is the Vice-President of UNIMA (Union Internacionale de la Marionnette), the oldest international theater organization in the world, with chapters in 96 countries. Currently he is the President of UNIMA’s Three Americas Commission. He was also the President of UNIMA-USA (the United States chapter) from 2015-2017, becoming the first Hispanic in that board. With UNIMA he as represented Puerto Rico and the United States in congresses and festivals around the world. He is also a member of several boards and advisory boards. He is the former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center located in New York City’s Lower East Side, a Puerto Rican cultural center, which is where Teatro SEA’s headquarters is located. There he lead a multimillion dollar renovation project of a 98,000 square foot building with four theaters, three galleries and more than 40 art studios, that houses 13 non-profit cultural organizations and more than 60 visual artists.
Dr. Morán is responsible for establishing the professional Latino Children’s Theater in New York City, after 18 years of abandonment. In 1999 he inaugurated Teatro SEA @ Los Kabayitos Puppet & Children’s Theatre (now Teatro SEA). The theater is the only Latino Bilingual Theater for kids in New York City and possibly in the United States. In 2011 the theater was expanded and moved to a new and renewed hall, where an annual season of 18 shows for audiences of all ages is offered. For the last 12 years he has produced an annual Puerto Rican arts, music, dance, poetry, theater and film festival, BORIMIX, Puerto Rico Fest (www.borimix. com). Also he created ‘Teatro SEA’s Technical Training Program’ offering free theater technical education to emerging theater artists and minorities. The SEA projects reach more than 100,000 people annually.
In Puerto Rico, he produces the Títeres pal’ Campo Festival, with free shows for schools and community centers located in the central rural area. In 2015, the Puerto Rican Culture Institute dedicated him its 51st Puerto Rico International Theater Festival and presented his musical theater show ‘Sueño’ to thousands of spectators in the San Felipe del Morro Castle in San Juan.
His 3-episodes film, “Títeres en el Caribe Hispano/Puppetry in the Caribbean” a documentary about puppet theater in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, recently premiered at the 38th Havana Film Festival in Cuba. In April 2016 his first book ‘Migrant Theater for Children: A Caribbean in New York’ was published in La Habana, with an anthology of his theater plays. Also, he just released his second book: ‘Mantequilla/Butter; Adventures and Tribulations of a Puerto Rican Boy’ (SEA Publications, 2017).
Dr. Morán is the proud Dad of Manuel Gabriel. They live in New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Manuel Morán, 2017. All Rights Reserved.