Argos MacCallum


Argos MacCallum’s world is indeed a stage. “I was onstage before I was born,” said the Santa Fe actor and director. “My mother was in college in 1951, and she got pregnant, which didn’t happen in that day. She played Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream while she was pregnant, and I was born into the theater.”

At 71, he’s still in theater and has worked likely every job to be had in theatric performance. He serves as artistic director at Teatro Paraguas, or “Umbrella Theater,” named so to embrace the vast number of cultures that flock there for events, plays and performances and to exchange industry ideas.

The fancy title can be misleading.

“I’m pretty much a full-time volunteer,” he said, describing a typical day. “It takes a while to get through the emails. There’s a lot of scheduling to be done, and sometimes I double-book by accident. I answer the phone, take out the trash, mop the floor, send press releases and do rehearsals.”

Teatro Paraguas was built 18 years ago on the backs of MacCallum and his father, Crawford MacCallum, at a time when Santa Fe was struggling with a lack of performance venues.

It’s his continued labor and support of the arts that has earned him a place among The Santa Fe New Mexican’s 10 Who Made a Difference for 2022.

“He is an actor, poet, playwright, director, set builder, set designer, sound and light technician, grant writer and manages the website and the box office,” said Ana Reinhardt, one of the community people who nominated Argos MacCallum for the honor.

“Santa Fe has always struggled with venues,” MacCallum said. “It was absolutely necessary for Santa Fe to have a Hispanic theater company since Hispanics have been here for over four centuries.”

His own history reads from a very different book. His greatgrandfather, a stone mason, arrived in the U.S. from Scotland in 1903. The family settled in Ithaca, N.Y., but MacCallum’s father, a physicist, took a job with Sandia National Laboratories and moved the family to Corrales when MacCallum was 5.

“It was still a very small farming village back then, but that’s where my love of the local culture seeped into my young bones,” he said.

By the time he entered high school, his parents had divorced. He and his mother, Cather MacCallum, moved to Santa Fe. She spent her days writing, acting, directing and teaching for the Santa Fe Opera.

“I graduated in ’69 when it was all radical and anti-establishment, so I never went to college,” Argos MacCallum said. “I traveled around the country, looking at colleges and visiting different places, and I wound up coming back here.”

His mother died when he was 32. Twenty-one years later, at 53, he built Teatro Paraguas with his father.

“I had been working at the Santa Fe Playhouse at that time. I spent four years as president and on the board,” he said. “My father called me and said, ‘Next week is the 100th anniversary of Pablo Neruda’s birth. Let me call some actor friends.’ A month later we had a presentation at El Museo [Cultural de Santa Fe]. We had lights and sound and costumes, and we acted out some of the poems. Others we read.”

That’s when the father and son realized Santa Fe needed another performance venue.

“I said, ‘It’s time to have a company that focuses on Hispanic and Latinx theater,’ ” MacCallum said.

Things came together quickly, and the group debuted its first performance in 2004.

“It was crazy during the Great Recession, but someone gave us a $20,000 grant, and we thought that was the perfect gift to establish ourselves,” MacCallum said.

The organization first set up in a warehouse and then moved a block over to its current location at 3205 Calle Marie, in a midtown performing arts district.

“We built risers, a stage, put up a light grid, installed a sound system, built a lobby. We’ve been the main resource for a lot of other companies in Santa Fe,” MacCallum said.

Teatro Paraguas’ small theater has become a venue for many groups’ performances, rehearsals, poetry readings, concerts, lectures and workshops, and has opened its doors to as many as 190 public performances in a single year.

“Argos takes no salary, lives like a church mouse, though he runs Teatro Paraguas entirely, with the help of one or two close friends and associates,” said Greg Malone, who also nominated MacCallum for the 10 Who Made a Difference honor. “Further, Teatro Paraguas, under Argos MacCallum’s management, continues to be the most active theater venue in the city, including some of the more sizable operations such as Santa Fe Playhouse.”

Malone added, “Argos is a singular example of a person that has done far beyond what would be expected of any other person, all without regular compensation, all providing top-shelf performing arts to Santa Fe’s citizens.”

MacCallum said the self-supporting venue receives funding from rentals, grants and private donations.

“What keeps me going is the connection and exchange between actor and audience,” he said. “It’s such a reaffirmation of the human spirit, and when it works, it’s so amazing. That’s what I’m always looking for, the heart connection between people.”






Santa Fe New Mexican