Mexico has the longest theater tradition in Latin America, although it was not until the 20th century that Mexican theater managed to disassociate from Spanish heritage. In the days before Columbus there was a tradition of dance and music, which the Spanish explorers became acquainted with. Through the Spanish colonization, European theater culture was introduced, and religious games associated with Catholicism are also known. The most famous playwright of the 19th century was Eduardo de Gorostiza (1789-1851), and he was strongly influenced by European romance. Fernando Calderón (1809–45) also worked on romantic themes in his pieces.
Realism and naturalism entered Mexican theater and drama of the 20th century, but it was in the years 1928–38 that the theater seriously disengaged from Spanish heritage and found its own identity, primarily through the Mexican dialect of Spanish became used as a theater language. One wanted the Mexican reality on stage. Modernization began with the “Syver Group” in 1926, and in 1928 the Uliseteater was founded. There modern playwrights such as Ibsen, O’Neill and Pirandello were played; the Piscator-inspired Ahora Theater also opened at this time. José Bustillo Oro wrote the first piece on the theme of the Mexican farmers’ situation.
There was also a university theater, and the Centro de Arte Dramático (CADAC) in Coyoacán has gradually played an important role. From the 1960s a political documentary theater emerged. The social critical has been strong, while black humor has also become an important part of the new expression. In the 1970s, rock music and multimedia were worked in the theater. Carlos Olmos is an important name from this time. In recent years, many theater groups in Ciudad de México have been influenced by modern political theater and drama pedagogy. Several universities have their own theater education.