Patio de Comedias, Theaters, Culture

The Patio de Comedias was established roughly 21 years ago when Raul Guarderas got together with a number of friends and ex-members of the Independent Theatre and decided to release a theatrical play called ‘In the Empty Eyes of People’ by Francisco Tobar. It was to be directed by Guillermo Tobar and originally the actors started practicing in a room in the Guarderas family home in the city of Quito. However, seeing the necessity for a more appropriate place to hold the performance, the team of actors and stagehands soon converted a garden shed behind the house into a small theatre. The entire exercise was creating a stir and success seemed eminent. Then disaster struck and just one week before the production was due to open, Mere Rosary, the leading lady in the play, got into an accident and passed away.

The newly formed theatre group could see no way out of the situation. Her untimely death was like a bad omen that cast its shadow over the entire operation and before long, the group disbanded. Each actor returned to their previous form of employment and the production was never released. However the Guarderas family decided to continue her work by keeping the theatre open. They opened with a play called ‘Representing Karim’ featuring Mariana Acosta and Miguel Ordo’ñez. The next big feature to be shown here was ‘Fever of Spring’ which was written by Noel Coward and directed by Gabriela Burneo. Gabriela remained at the theater for a while and also produced ‘Dear Mentiroso’ which was written by Bernard Shaw. This production really started to get the public talking and before long, more and more productions were being staged to keep up with the demand. These included ‘The Jovial Altarpiece’, ‘The Young Lady Julia’, The Swan Song’, ‘In the Empty Eyes of the People’ and ‘Prescription to Travel’. By this stage what had started as a simple backyard production had grown into a well-known and much loved theater.

In the early 90s, Juana Guarderas decided to change the theatre’s policies which lead to a new era for the Patio. By now the theatre had surpassed nearly all the other theatrical groups in Quito by staging numerous top-notch productions. Guarderas decided to take the theatre to a more international standing by encouraging the production of a number of more modern plays. These were immensely popular and resulted in sell-out performances. Before long, people were coming from across the country to perform or watch performances at the Patio de Comedias. More recent years have also seen people from across the globe coming to perform at this great theater in the charming city of Quito. This theater of comedy has been used for dance, music and various other spheres of theatrical performance and it continues to be a popular theatrical venue today.

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