Treading the boards: Theatre, concerts and cultural activities in Bogota

When you think of Colombia’s capital city, theatre isn’t necessarily the first thing that springs to mind. But on the back of the resounding success of the 14th Bogota International Theatre Festival and the much anticipated reopening of the city’s dramatic crown jewel, the Teatro Colón in La Candelaria – Bogota’s theatre and arts scene is flourishing more so than ever before.

The biennial Festival Internacional de Teatro de Bogota (FITB), acclaimed to be the world’s largest international theatre festival, sold 280,000 tickets last April 2014 to ardent theatregoers and first time thespians. Additionally, over 3 million spectators attended over one hundred free street theatre acts offered in non-conventional spaces. The festival’s emphasis is on international drama companies but this year there were close to 40 homegrown companies highlighting Colombian creativity. Festival performances ranged from classical music, dance, avant-garde acts, circus troupes and plays to street theatre in every auditorium, public park, coliseum and street space throughout the capital, attracting visitors from around Colombia and across the globe.

While you will have to wait until early 2016 for the next festival, another of Bogota’s classic theatres has raised its curtains for performances once more. The Christopher Columbus Theatre originally opened its doors in 1892, on the fourth centennial anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in America. The lavishly decorated theatre, highly revered for its architectural beauty, outstanding acoustics and symmetry was reopened in July 2014 after being closed six years for painstaking renovations. The playhouse will continue to be a 19th century venue, but with a 21st century framework combining an inclusive and diverse programme to attract a new generation. This month, the traditional opera house successfully made the contemporary transition by playing host to the French trip hop DJ, Wax Tailor with a mix of electronic music, accompanied by the National Symphonic Orchestra. Future events will showcase traditional Colombian music such as tambora and marimba concerts as well as operettas, ballet and classical music concerts with advance ticket prices ranging from as little as £6 to the most expensive tickets priced at around £60.

Wax Tailor and the National Symphonic Orchestra finishing their performance at Teatro Colón

Wax Tailor and the National Symphonic Orchestra finishing their performance at Teatro Colón

Whereas New York has Broadway and London has the West End for musical theatre productions, Bogota’s playhouses are spread far and wide across the city. Some of the top theatres to check listings for upcoming productions include Teatro Colon, Teatro Mayor de Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Teatro Nacional La Castellana, the Libelula Dorada, Colsubsidio, and Jorge Eliecer Gaitán theatres.

Bogota is already well known for its vast array of museums, libraries and green spaces; now the so-called ‘Athens of the Americas’ has positioned itself as a fast-emerging city to view theatre performances and the arts. So, there’s no time like the present to catch a play or concert in Bogota on your next trip to Colombia.

If you’d like more information drop us a line at Uncover Colombia!

The Uncover Colombia Team

Theatre & Concert Venues in Bogota: (all websites in Spanish)

  • Teatro Colon: City centre location in La Candelaria, famous for its architecture, decoration and history. Shows include symphony, philharmonic and chamber music presentation. Zona Centro. Tel: (1) 3410475
  • Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo: Largest theatre and concert hall in the north of the city. Showing music, theatre, dance and family events. Calle 170 Nº. 67-51. Zona Norte. Tel: (1) 3779840
  • Teatro Nacional La Castellana is located in the north of the city. Colombian comedies and dramatic performances.       Calle 95 Nº. 47-15. Zona Norte. Tel: (1) 2561399
  • Libelula Dorada Theatre: Theatre hosting dance, jazz, blues and festivals. It shows plays for children and puppet shows. Carrera 19 Nº. 51-69. Chapinero. Tel: (1) 2498658
  • Teatro Colsubsidio: Theatre with availability for a thousand people, disabled seating, wheel chair access, bar and cafeterias and parking lot. Calle 26 N° 25-40. Zona Norte. Tel: (1) 3432673
  • Jorge Eliecer Gaitan Theatre: Public theatre with the largest capacity in the city centre. Concerts of various music genres, opera, zarzuela, traditional dancing and flamenco. Also hosts galas, events and festivals. Carrera 7 Nº. 22-47. Zona Centro. Tel: (1) 3795750
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