Rene Gonzalez, Spanish Lyric Theatre
Founding Artistic Director
The SPANISH LYRIC THEATRE, began as a student project at the University of Tampa in 1958 when the first -very modest- performance was held at the Dome Theatre in Plant Hall. The following year the performance was moved to a larger venue – The Centro Asturiano in historic Ybor City where many performances had been held since the turn of the 19th Century.
After founding and presiding over Spanish Lyric Theatre and SLT Productions’ 55-year history, celebrated leader, Rene Gonzalez, stepped down as the organization’s artistic director.
Founded in 1959, Spanish Lyric Theatre is the longest running Hispanic theatre company in the country. Gonzalez, a native of Ybor City, graduated from the Academy of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Science as an educator from the University of Tampa. He later received his Master’s Degree from Florida State University. For 31 years, he was associated with the Public School System of Hillsborough County and retired in 1989 as an assistant principal and went on to serve as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Tampa and, most recently, the University of South Florida. During his tenure with Spanish Lyric Theatre, Gonzalez has received numerous awards and recognitions including the Tampa Hispanic Heritage Organization’s Man of the Year and the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce’s Cesar Gonzmart Award, as well as being honored by the Queen of Spain, The Spanish Embassy and many local groups for his artistic endeavors from the Optimist Club of Ybor, The Ybor Lions, The Ybor Museum (Tony Pizzo Award), the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, and many others.