Mella Theater: Open Doors to the Art in Plural

Mella Theater: Open Doors to the Art in Plural

Last modified: January 3, 2023

Mella Theater was inaugurated in 1952 with the name of Movie Theater Rodi; it was in 1961 when it adopted the present name. It is situated in a main avenue of El Vedado neighborhood, in Línea between A and B. It stands as one of the most important theaters of the Cuban capital, being the regular home for different and important artistic manifestations.

After the triumph of the Revolution on January, 1959, the theater opened its doors as the Theater of the National Council of Culture (CNC). Two years later it would be rename as National Council of Stage Arts (CNAE) with the premiere of El Círculo de Tiza Caucasiano, a play written by Brecht, performed by the Dramatic National Group and Teatro Studio, and directed by the Uruguayan Ugo Ulive. Some months later, on April 28th of this 1961, it would be named Julio Antonio Mella Theater.

In a modern construction from the mid-20th century, with renewed and a modern techniques used for illumination, acoustics, visibility, with a great stage; Mella Theater is a beautiful concert hall with a seating capacity of 1475 spectators, with the stall on the first floor and the front stall and balconies on the second floor. It has an anteroom with paintings and ornamental plants, and black terrazzo stairs that give access to the second floor.

Relevant dance, theater and orchestral groups have occupied its stage: The National Folk Group of Cuba, the National Ballet of Cuba, the Spanish Ballet of Cuba, Lizt Alfonso Dance Company, and other companies of modern and contemporary dance. In addition to that, it is the seat of national and international events like Boleros de Oro, International Ballet Festival of Havana, Aquelarre, International Festival of Theater, among many others.

The building also houses an Art gallery named Tina Modotti after a relevant photographer, and the lover of Mella when he was alive. Many photographic and plastic creations are shown in the gallery. In the theater’s patio numerous activities for children and young people take place in all times of the year. Because of its privileged location, its selected presentations and its wide spaces, it is considered one of the most popular theaters of Havana city and of Cuba.

Toni Piñera
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Journalist for more than 30 years at the Granma newspaper, art and dance critic, professor at the National Academy of Fine Arts San Alejandro, curator of Cuban art exhibitions (former director of the La Acacia gallery, Havana), poet.

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