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The Teatro del Pueblo is today a little known cultural center. Attached to the Abelard Rodríguez Market, visitors to the well-known murals there should check out the Teatro on the western side of the market, too.
The theater operates like many Mexico City cultural and arts centers. The wide range of workshops in crafts and arts lean a little more toward stage scenery, and carpentry. In fact, the stage hosts a regular slate of book presentations, conferences, films, and stage productions.
The theater is part of the Abelardo L. Rodriguez market complex which is famous for having included a daycare center, library and this theater. The whole thing is the work of architect, Antonio Muñoz. He began this project right after his work on the enormous Centro Escolar Revolución. All are among the most ambitious buildings of the 1930s. Muñoz followed up just two years later in 1936 with the Supreme Court building at the southeast corner of the Zócalo.
Here he included all kinds of architectural styles. You’ll find Neo-colonial elements next to the Neo-classical, fascinating Art Decó, and Belle Epoque, too. The full complex includes a two-story market and the theater within 12,000 square meters of construction. It was built on the site of the old Loreto Monastery and the orchards of the Colegio de San Pedro & San Pablo. The whole thing opened way back in 1934.
The Theater of the People name reflects the spirit of the period after the Mexican Revolution. Many similar socialist ideas and visions enliven the murals here too. Among them are those painted by Antonio Pujol, Angel Bracho, Pablo O´Higgins and Isamu Naguchitell. All of them were students of Diego Rivera and they’re also responsible for those in the attached market hall. With clear rejections of fascism, racism, and labor exploitation, many of the ideas are more pertinent today than when they were painted.
The theater stage decor includes magnificent Talavera tile mosaics by the artist, J. Campoz W. These allude to the famous dramaturges, and include multiple human figures and dozens of animals, too. Curiously of J. Campoz W., history tells us almost nothing. One theory suggests a possible connection with the theater, rather than a tutelage with Rivera. (All of Rivera’s students signed contracts for their work on the project and these are still on record.) Painters of the time, including Rivera himself, often designed and painted theater and stage scenery. But for the magnificent murals that begin in the lobby and continue throughout the Teatro del Pueblo, J. Campoz W. is all but lost to a very curious past.
Hours: Monday through Sunday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.