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Centro Cultural José María Fernández Unsáin (SOGEM)

The Centro Cultural José María Fernández Unsáin is the main headquarters for the Sociedad General de Escritores de México (SOGEM). With three small theaters onsite, the SOGEM very nearly constitutes a Churubusco theater district within its own historic few buildings in San Mateo Churubsuco.

  • The General Society of Mexican Writers is an association of Mexican writers and focused mainly on copyright and intellectual property protections for those who register with the Society. Part of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, the Mexican organization also operates the country’s oldest school of creative writing, the acclaimed Escuela de Escritores. 
  • José María Fernández Unsáin (1918–June 1997) was an Argentine film director, screenwriter, and playwright. He left Argentina where he was well established in the aftermath of the 1955 Revolución Libertadora. Taking permanent residence in Mexico in 1958 he would work on hundred of screenplays, movies over the next decade and a half. By 1976 he became president of the newly formed SOGEM and he would remain its president until his death in 1997.
  • The Cultural Center and three performance spaces are housed in the remains of the late 19th century home of poet and writer José Juan Tablada (1871–1945). Tablada was a poet, art critic and sometime diplomat who championed Mexican culture throughout his life. He was also an influential orientalist credited for his early work in haiku.
  • It is not without irony, then, that Seki Sano would come to operate the Teatro Club Coyoacán here in the 1950s. By that time, a Dr. Arce had come to construct a theater here using material recovered from demolished homes in the Colonia Juarez. At least some of these were likely damaged during the Mexican Revolution.
  • Seki Sano (1905–1966) was a wonderfully influential and radical theater director who’d trained in Moscow under Konstantin Stanislavski. The Soviet theater director’s system of training for actors was imported by Seki Sano who would win “Director of the Year” awards multiple times over the course of his career in Mexico.
  • The primary venue here is the wonderfully crooked and historical Teatro Enrique Lizalde with seating for 160. It’s named in honor of Enrique Lizalde Chávez (1937–2013), an actor who appeared onstage, on film and television from the 1960s through the 2000s.
  • The Foro Rodolfo Usigli seats 170 in the Corral de comedias-style, a variation on the Shakespearian/ Elizabethan stage. It’s named for Rodolfo Usigli (1905–1979). Usigli was a playwright, essayist, and diplomat who’s been called the “father of Mexican theater.” Seki Sano directed Usigli’s Corona de sombra (Crown of Shadows) here in 1951.
  • The SOGEM also operates the 50-seat Sala Víctor Hugo Rascón Banda named for the dramatist from Chihuahua (1948-2008).

The three venues enjoy considerable support from the Mexico City public. The slate of offerings today seems to exceed that being staged way back in the pre-television past. SOGEM also shares the space with the new filmmaking school (Arte7) that compliments that considerable history of the Escuela de Escritores.

How to get here


Barrio San Mateo, Churubusco

Nearest at 0.26 kms.

San Mateo Churubusco

Nearest at 0.29 kms.

Churubusco Defenders Monument

Nearest at 0.37 kms.


San Fernando Flower Market

A 24-hour flower market in a busy corner of Tlalpan's hospital district . . .

Santa Cruz Tultenco

A tiny chapel recalls the long history of the Colonia Tránsito . . .

Mercado Churubusco

One of Coyoacán's great neighborhood markets in the heart of Churubusco . . .

Divina Providencia, Ciudad Jardín

One of Coyoacán best-known 20th-century masterworks . . .

Parque Xotepingo, Cd. Ciudad Jardín

The biggest of the central gardens for which Ciudad Jardín is named . . .

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