Portugal has released very special stamps on theater personalities.Garrett represents the introduction of romanticism in Portuguese theater, but more than that, he indisputably opened the gates to the whole structure of stage and dramaturgy modernization through his writing but also through the institutions for the promotion of theatre and theatrical activities which he created, in an adequately articulated perspective as regards functionality and complementary: The Teatro Nacional (the company and later also the building), the Conservatório de Arte Dramática, dramaturgy contests, the Inspecção Geral de Teatros e Espectáculos, copyrights and even a subsidy system.
All of them, duly modernized, still exist until this day. But more than that, Garrett’s own dramaturgy – of an exceptional level, despite fluctuations – brought to Portugal, from the onset of the vigorous romanticism, a style and a school, in some cases of outstanding quality, that fed both our literature and our stages for almost a century. Even poets and novelists, who did not focus on theatre, owe to him the renovation of style and content that to this day still deserves highlighting. Camilo is a clear example.
However, it was D. João da Câmara, at the passing of the century, who marked the beginning of a realistic school that still subsist, coexisting, with full quality and timeliness, with more modern currents that also marked and still mark Portuguese theatre, from symbolism to modernism, from expressionism to epic theatre and to theatre of the absurd.
From the beginning of the 19th century, modernist or symbolist, authors such as Almada Negreiros, António Patrício or even Fernando Pessoa (a sporadic playwright) deserve highlighting; as well as prevalently (but not only) realist authors, such as Carlos Selvagem or Ramada Curto; or even Alfredo Cortez, who with Gladiadores introduced expressionism, among others.