Doris Duke Artist Awards

Rosalba Rolón

Playwright, Director and Actress

The Bronx, New York

Rosalba Rolón is a revered visionary and a passionate creator of musical theater that celebrates Latinx voices and culture. She is the cofounder and artistic director of Pregones Theater in the South Bronx, which is now a joint venture with the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in midtown Manhattan. Rolón began her acting career in her birthplace of Puerto Rico, where her childhood was rich in music, literature and theater. As an actress in New York in film, television and theater, she was transformed by her connection to the city’s Latinx community. Rolón’s studies in psychology and social services at City of New York University laid the foundation for her creation of Pregones Theater. Since 1979, Rosalba has led Pregones’ distinct repertory and stage adaptations of works from non-theatrical sources.

Rolón’s work has been presented in more than 400 U.S. cities and 18 countries. Her recent credits include “Dancing In My Cockroach Killers,” “The Harlem Hellfighters On A Latin Beat,” “Betsy!” with Roadside Theater and “Brides” with companies in Belgium and in the Slovak Republic, touring nationally and internationally. 

In 2018, Rolón received the New York Latin ACE Gold Award in Theater, and in 2017 was featured in The Primary Stages Oral History Project. In 2015, she received the Teer Pioneer Award from National Black Theatre. She is also a 2008 United States Artists (USA) fellow and USA board member, a 2006 Ford Foundation New Works Visionary Fellow and a board member of National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC). Additionally, she is a faculty member of the NALAC Leadership Institute and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Emerging Leadership Institute.

See the other 2018 Doris Duke Artists