The best of this summer’s performances at Chile’s GAM

A string of dance, theater and live music performances ensure that the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center maintains its pivotal role in Santiago’s cultural life.

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Although it’s only been open for just over a year, the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center is already proving to be one of Santiago’s most important cultural venues.

Located on a bustling section of the city’s grand avenue, the Alameda, the copper-clad building is a modern and innovative arts precinct, housing a pair of theaters, a library, various exhibition spaces and a restaurant.

The center’s early popularity is reflected in the numbers. Since its grand inauguration in September 2012, GAM has received over half a million visitors who have come to watch over 750 dance, music, theater and cinema events.

“This year has seen a great influx of people who have enjoyed a wide variety of offerings in the performing arts,” the center’s executive director, Alejandra Wood, told Latino Fox News.

“But above all, the most important thing is that we have had very keen and active audiences.”

And now GAM is looking to build on its initial success with the unveiling of an impressive program for next year.

With an exciting list of local and international artists planning to perform and exhibit there, the new cultural center is shaping up as the place to be in Santiago for 2012.

Kicking off the year in style, GAM has been named one of the main venues for the 19th annual Santiago a Mil, an international live theater festival.

Running from January 3-22, the festival brings together a series of respected plays and dance acts from Chile and around the world.

Among the festival highlights at the iconic center are Creo Falso, an edgy local dance performance that runs from January 12-17 in the center’s Sala N1, and JJ’s Voices, a Swedish theater production inspired by the music of Janis Joplin, which runs from January 16-17 in Sala A2.

In April, the center will welcome alternative Spanish musician Llorenç Barber, who uses bells, ship horns, canons and even fireworks to make his music. To date, Barber has performed in 150 major cities around the world and for his visit to Santiago, he has promised to incorporate the materials of the GAM building into his performance.

Six months later, Shakespeare’s Hamlet will be the main attraction when it is performed in Spanish under the direction of National Prize-winning director, Gustavo Meza.

Throughout the year, GAM will also play a leading a role in several of Santiago’s most popular festivals, including the Women’s Film Festival (March 20-25), the Contemporary European Drama Festival (October and November) and the International Documentary Festival (November) .