TLDR? The Aguila Descalza Prado Theatre is a unique place to watch a show in Medellín!
Some of the regular readers of this blog may accuse me of writing too many posts either about buildings I like in Medellin (like this one). Or, they may say I talk only about tiny little nichey little obscure cultural centers in the city (like this one).
To those readers, buckle up because the following post will contain heavy elements of both of those things!
I’m speaking of course about this upcoming profile of the very historic Aguila Descalza Prado Theatre. I went to go see a performance there, and it was great. Let me tell you all about it.
Getting To the Theatre
The Prado Theatre is in an interesting corner of town that lies just north of the central downtown district. The neighborhood is known as Mansion, and I like to think that it’s called that because of all of the mansions in it. While not as well-known as parts of town like Laureles or Poblado, I find that the neighborhood carries its own set of unique charms that make it distinct.
Due to its central location, the theatre is quite easy to get to whatever your preferred method of transportation.
I took the metro to the Prado stop and took a quick 5-minute walk from there to arrive at the building.
Once you’re in the neighborhood, it’s practically impossible to miss the theatre. Its distinctive paint job, massive size, and beautiful grounds all make it stand out, even amongst the other estates in the area.
History of The Theatre Company
The Prado Theatre carries with it a lot of history, both in the lineage of the performers and operators, as well as the building and theatre itself.
The theatre hosts regular programming of shows that are conceived of and executed by the founder of the company, Carlos Mario Aguirre.
Aguirre founded his theatrical troupe from his Laureles apartment in 1980. He bought the building that currently houses the theatre company in 1988.
He was joined by his creative and life partner Cristina Toro around that time. She has become another permanent fixture at performances.
The duo has put on dozens of shows over the years and is considered royalty in the Medellin creative community. This is due to them having contributed to the cultural character of the city for over four decades.
As long as that is, the building itself has an even more extensive history!
House on a Hill
The building that houses the Theatre company was first built in 1912 by an architect named Julio Medina. He modeled its construction off of a certain style of Italian mansion popular at that time.
The building won an award in 1919 for most beautiful in the city, and once you visit it’s quite easy to see why.
A man named Carlos Capriano Rodriquez inherited the building in the 1920s. From then on, it was inhabited by members of his family for over six decades. The theatre maestro of Aguila Descalza made the purchase of the building from that family and opened its doors to the public.
The interior of the building is just as pretty as the exterior. It’s full of all kinds of artwork from Carlos Aguirre, as well as dozens of his friends and collaborators.
There is also an exhibit inside the building explaining its history, where I gleaned many of the facts that you’re now currently reading. Along with all that, there’s a small snack bar that serves some food and beverages.
I bought a few things to snack on before the performance started and enjoyed them on the steps of the building. The theatre is situated on a hill and has great views of downtown Medellin and the surrounding mountains.
The theatre within Aguila Descalza is quite large, with capacity for a few hundred people to come. There’s even balcony seating above the main hall.
The theatre offers very convenient positions to watch and enjoy the performances that transpire there. Even the seats in the back don’t feel like too much of a strain to keep pace with the action.
Many of the performances of the company feature a wry sense of humor as well as a touch of the absurd. The name of the theatre itself translates into “Barefoot Eagle Meadow” in English. How’s that for weird?
My Experience at the Performance
The show of the moment when I went to the theatre was called “Coronavirus: Una Obra Viral.” This name means “Coronavirus: A Viral Play.”
The play featured just two primary actors. It humorously depicted some of the lighter sides of being stuck at home during the Coronavirus pandemic. It also made light of some of the darker sides of that time period too.
The acting, the score, and the presentation were all top-notch, and I felt engrossed with the performance from start to finish. All of the productions put on by the company are in Spanish.
I’ve actually found on a personal level that going to see performances and plays in Spanish has proven to be a great way to sharpen my language skills. It gives me valuable experience trying to follow more abstract plot elements at play.
The shows at the Theatre tend to run a little more on the expensive side for Medellin. That being said, the performance’s quality and the theatre’s beauty made it worth it.
After the performance, there was a reception in the theatre’s main hall. Actors and spectators alike grabbed a couple of beers and chatted the night away.
Admiring The Arts in The City of Eternal Spring
Medellin is a city with both contemporary intrigue and rich history. You can see this quite clearly in the way that it treasures its art institutions.
I’ve found the abundance of theatres in the city to be quite inspiring and refreshing. I’ve taken it as a sign that the spirit of the thespian is alive and well in this beautiful city in the foothills of the Andes.
Here’s to Aguila Descanza, and the rest of the theatres in Medellin, offering fantastic performances at affordable prices. Disfruta!
If you like this blog, you might like the Casacol Instagram page to keep up with all the new articles. Anything we need to update or correct? Care to contribute? Email us at [email protected].