Quito’s Art Nouveau Jewel
The Bolívar Theater, considered the greatest exponent of art-nouveau architecture in the country. Is located on Espejo Street, between Guayaquil and Flores. Built at the beginning of the 20th century by the Mantilla Jácome brothers. It became the first stage for cultural events on the Pacific coast. It was inaugurated on April 15, 1933, with a capacity for 2,400 spectators.
With mass media’s progress, especially in the 80s, the Theater stopped being visited by the masses. From 1988 to 1997, this scenario was leased to a commercial film distribution company.
In 1997 the National Theater Company resumed the management of the Theater. Resolving to restore the building and recover the audience that came to it in search of high-level cultural shows. An ambitious calendar of national and international events was undertaken. During its reopening in 1998, it was presented as the City Theater. Around 40 events were scheduled in 1998 and 25 in 1999, attended more than 70,000 people.
Nevertheless, on August 8, 1999, as a result of a gas leak from the commercial premises on the ground floor, a fire that consumed 70% of the facilities took place. This was the most difficult challenge faced by this heritage asset.
On April 15, 2002, during its 69th anniversary, a private non-profit foundation was created to obtain funds and administer the restoration of this beautiful theatre. The Teatro Bolívar Foundation, through the collaboration of national and international organizations and donations made by the private sector, restored the building.
Currently, it is in the process of reactivation. It has a room with 963 seats, a national cuisine restaurant (La Purisima), a café which operates with 100% national raw material (Cafè Galletti), an events room (Wonder 1933), a space for teaching various artistic disciplines (Academy of Arts and Music FTB) and a museum that narrates the cultural activities that were carried out in these 83 years of operation of the Theater (Museo Vivo).