Chilean container theater festival returns to Valparaíso

The fourth edition of the Festival Teatro Container brings an international flavor to the ‘Jewel of the Pacific.’

While it may be no surprise to see shipping containers in a bustling port, Valparaíso‘s Festival Teatro Container puts a new spin on the common use of these giant items.

For the fourth year in a row, the festival welcomed artists from around the world to participate in this creative and unique event. The 2014 version of the festival kicked off with the work “Origami”, created by French artists Silvain Ohl and Satchie Noro.

“What this festival, and “Origami” in particular contribute is to give a new feeling to the container, to transform and bring it close to the citizens. It stops being a cold metal object, far from the people, and becomes a space of art. In this way, we can diversify the spaces for art and culture,” said Nicolás Eyzaguirre, director of the festival.

Like many theatrical performances, the work unfolds over three acts, but the difference with “Origami” is that each act is unveiled in a separate location, and the main roles are played by shipping containers, cast as ancient Japanese artworks.

The theater cycle focuses on the themes of transit and migration, with visitors able to enter various containers to see the performances. Among the works included in the festival are French pieces “Ticket” and “Encuentro de Cajas” as well as “CD All Pacifico”, which looks back to a European soccer tour made by a team of players from Chile and Peru in the 1930s.

This year the festival goes beyond Valparaíso, with the third act of “Origami” involving the containers, shaped as a giant horse, traveling south by boat to San Antonio, Chile’s largest port.

The festival, which began on March 28, will continue through until May 20, with most performances taking place at Muelle Prat, a wharf where people regularly expect to see shipping containers but not theater. Using an area of the city not regularly associated with art and culture, it creates an accessible cultural stage for people throughout Valparaíso, transforming the cold steel of the containers into an arts precinct.

More information about the festival can be found at http://www.teatrocontainer.com/.