The Teatro Bar “el Vicio” and the Teatro La Capilla are three small Coyoacán venues that act as a mini-theater district. Together, the three combine much of the neighborhood’s intellectual and cultural heft. It’s considerable.
La Capilla was originally conceived and opened by the poet Salvador Novo in 1954.
Novo acquired the land in 1949 as part of an old hacienda that included a small chapel. Novo, in his own words, “saw the face of a theater” in that chapel. He then worked with architect Alejandro Prieto Posada to bring it up to speed. Prieto is best known, in these pages, for having designed both the Teatro de los Insurgentes, and the theater of the Unidad Independencia.
After early years of success, La Capilla grew increasingly expensive to operate and closed. By the 1980s, it was re-opened by the covered by actress-duo, Jesusa Rodríguez and Liliana Felipe. They converted it into a cabaret-space and renamed it “El Hábito.” In the 1990s, the space was again modernized and adapted to the period’s scenic and technical requirements even while preserving the architecture of the 1950s. In 2005, that the theater-cabaret company, Las Reinas Chulas took over and opened the Teatro Bar, “El Vicio.”
Today, La Capilla hosts performances of theater, opera, mini-opera, and experimental theater. The Sala Novo and El Vicio operate more experimentally, but El Vicio’s focus continues to be more on Cabaret. Together, the complex offers one of the most important independent theatrical spaces in the country.
The Capilla complex is a vital extension from the Churubusco Area just to the east. Dominated by the National Center for the Arts with its own conglomeration of theaters and performance spaces, El Vicio and La Capilla fill an essential niche in the Historic Center of Coyoacán.