Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Theater: Entertainment for the Masses

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Santiago a Mil: January 3-31, 2010

Summertime in Santiago, Chile, means all the world’s a stage—or at least all the city. For three weeks every January, Chile’s capital hosts Santiago a Mil, a mix of mainstream, experimental and street theater performed in various locations. The city-sponsored festival was launched in 1994 with five plays performed by local companies. It now includes some 50-odd theatrical performances and concerts, including 20 international groups. Many artists offer theater classes and workshops in the community.

Festival prices have also grown over the past 15 years. In the early days, tickets to performances cost 1,000 (mil) Chilean pesos ($1.60). Today, the high-profile shows go for around $14 a pop. But discounts are available for students and seniors, and Mil features a number of free performances. Last January a 23-foot-tall copper puppet from Catalunya, Spain, roamed the streets chased by her “lover,” a winged angel.

Plan ahead for 2010 when Santiago a Mil will kick off Chile’s bicentennial with increased emphasis on Chilean plays and playwrights.

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