National Artist for Theater (2001)
(January 3, 1915 – December 12, 1980)
Playwright, director, actor, and theater organizer Severino Montano is the forerunner in institutionalizing “legitimate theater” in the Philippines. Taking up courses and graduate degrees abroad, he honed and shared his expertise with his countrymates.
As Dean of Instruction of the Philippine Normal College, Montano organized the Arena Theater to bring drama to the masses. He trained and directed the new generations of dramatists including Rolando S. Tinio, Emmanuel Borlaza, Joonee Gamboa, and Behn Cervantes.
He established a graduate program at the Philippine Normal College for the training of playwrights, directors, technicians, actors, and designers. He also established the Arena Theater Playwriting Contest that led to the discovery of Wilfrido Nolledo, Jesus T. Peralta, and Estrella Alfon.
Among his awards and recognitions are the Patnubay ng Kalinangan Award from the City of Manila (1968), Presidential Award for Merit in Drama and Theater (1961), and the Rockefeller Foundation Grant to travel to 98 cities abroad (1950, 1952, 1962, and 1963).