Culture in Chile

Ex-carcel to install cutting edge theater concept in Valparaíso

The former jail on Cerro Barón undergoes another transformation, this time with a unique multi-theater concept, the first of its kind in Latin America.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011  
Inside the converted Ex-Carcel, where a new cutting edge theater will be developed. (Photo: ►Voj►/Fl Inside the converted Ex-Carcel, where a new cutting edge theater will be developed. (Photo: ►Voj►/Flickr)

The ex-carcel was already a must-see for visitors to Valparaíso, with some of the city’s iconic street art on show in the former jail now creatively reincarnated as artist studios.

Now, residents and tourists alike will have a new reason to re-visit the Parque Cultural de Valparaíso Ex-Carcel: a multi-theater unlike anything else in Chile, or even Latin America.

“The place is for more intimate shows, not huge recitals. But the big difference is that it’s a flexible space,” said Juan Carlos García, regional architectural director of Chile’s public works ministry, MOP. “You can put on a concert in the middle of the hall as well as in the lateral wings. It’s the first multi-theater in Latin America.”

The theater incorporates an electro-acoustic architectural system by the California-based Meyer Sound company. The so-called “Constellation system” electronically reproduces sound through a network of microphones and microspeakers, which allows a concert of any size or type to be performed with surround sound.

A metal grill on the ceiling will allow the theater to hang microphones, speakers, sheets, stages, lighting, and everything necessary to put on a production. It is the same set-up used by world-famous production Cirque du Soleil, and which can be found in Chilean performance spaces only in Frutillar’s Teatro del Lago, on the shores of Lago Llanquihue in the southern Lakes District, and in the Teatro Las Condes in Santiago.

García emphasizes that the new multi-theater encourages a greater interaction between the show and the audience. “Everything will depend on the creative capacity of the director,” he added.