National Artist for Theater and acclaimed playwright, puppeteer and educator, Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio has died Tuesday.  She was 90.

Her death was announced on a Facebook post by Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas, the theater company she co-founded in 1977.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of National Artist Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio, University of the Philippines Professor Emeritus and Founding Artistic Director of Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas at 7 AM today, December 29, 2020 at the age of 90,” the post said.

No details about the cause of death had been released.

 The National Commission for Culture and the Arts paid tribute to the late national artist.

“The National Commission for Culture and the Arts, led by its chairman, Asenio “Nick” Lizaso, joins the country, most especially the theatre community, in mourning the death of National Artist Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio,” the NCCA said in a tweet.

The NCCA said Bonifacio’s wake will be held at the Imperial Classic, Ground Floor, Funeraria Paz, Araneta Ave., Quezon City from December 30 to 31, 2020. Viewing hours will be from 9 AM to 6 PM only.  IATF health protocols will be in place at the wake.

The NCCA asks for donations to Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas Foundation, Inc. in lieu of flowers.

Dubbed the “Grande Dame of Southeast Asian Children’s Theater,” Bonifacio, is best known for her pioneering work in Philippine puppet theater.

Her first puppet play, “Abadeja: Ang Ating Sinderella,” was well received and liked by both viewers and critics alike. The success of the puppet play led her to found Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas, the official theater company and puppetry troupe of the University of the Philippines.

In 2018, she was recognized as a National Artist, the highest distinction and honor conferred by the Republic to Filipino artists.

At the time of the award’s conferment, Bonifacio had written 44 plays (28 are for children), 136 short stories, and 27 books, including a 2014 novel for young readers about World War II, “In Binondo, Once Upon a War.” Rommel F. Lopez