Teatro Avante was created in 1979 by Founder-President-Producing Artistic Director Mario Ernesto Sánchez. It is a not-for-profit organization with the primary goal of preserving Hispanic cultural heritage through theater. The evolution in their programs reflect the changes in the Miami's Latino/Hispanic community to which they have close ties.
The company has represented the United States in international festivals in Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, Japan, France, Colombia and Venezuela. It has staged the works of Albee, Alomá, Ariza, Cabrujas, Cocteau, Garcia Lorca, Manet, Matas, Pinto, Piñera, Reguera, Saumell, Santana, Triana, Valle-Inclán and Williams, among others. The Cultural Olympiad of the Olympic Committee of Atlanta honored Teatro Avante and its Founding Director with the "Regional Award for the Arts" in 1994. It also received the prestigious "Federico García Lorca Award" in Fuentevaqueros, Granada, Spain, in 1995, for "having contributed enormously to the development of the Hispanic theatre in America."
In 1986, Teatro Avante started its annual theatre festival, Festival of Hispanic Theatre. In 1990, the festival changed its scope and name to International Hispanic Theater Festival. Currently, it is the only one of its kind in the U.S. bringing the most established theater companies from Latin America and Europe. The IHTF has a multifacted educational component directed by Dr. Beatriz J. Rizk.