Luis P Abril, Artistic Director
Our mission is to be the place where Central Americans are entertained with exceptional theatrical productions that elevate their spirits and examine universal questions about the human condition.
In the twentieth century our company, Teatro Abril, functioned as the major theatrical organization in Guatemala. It made its mark principally by presenting international theatre companies. An earthquake destroyed the national theatre, Teatro Colon, at the end of the nineteenth century, ceding its place to the then new Teatro Abril. During the 1920’s, a decade of great splendor and prosperity, Teatro Abril presented major Spanish, Mexican, and French companies.
During the 1950’s and 1960’s Julio Abril Unda, the oldest son of the founder, who had a deep sense of duty and who had made a promise to his parents, tried to resume family leadership of the organization. After an earthquake in 1976, we began major renovations to the physical space that included bringing a replica of the Nike of Samothrace from the Louvre and lamps and mirrors from Italy, as well as a number of statues of ancient Greek classical figures. The theatre was inaugurated anew in 1988 with an established Mexican actress performing the Spanish zarzuela Por la Calle de Alcala. From 1988 to 1993, our organization was known for presenting Spanish, Mexican, and Venezuelan theatre companies. Teatro Abril also became known for producing children’s classics. In 1991, the building was damaged in a fire that forced us to shut down for almost nine months.
Now, almost twenty years since our building burned down, we have managed to keep on producing and to become the theatrical leader for schools, as well as presenting theatre for children. More than 50,000 people come through our doors every year—more than many other arts organizations in the region. While we have faced challenges ranging from family conflicts to natural other disasters throughout our history, our organization—the oldest single theatre organization still in operation in Guatemala—has successfully overcome all difficulties.