Centro Cultural Miguel Ángel Asturias

The Centro Cultural Miguel Ángel Asturias, commonly called Teatro Nacional, is a cultural centre in Guatemala City, Guatemala named for Guatemalan writer and Nobel Laurate Miguel Ángel Asturias. It is located in the Centro Cívico (Civic Center) of the city and was built in the same place of the old Fuerte de San José. Its form, which emulates a seated jaguar, stands out from the adjacent buildings. The complex, which was designed by architect Efrain Recinos, was completed in 1978.

The National Theater of the Cultural Centre is inspired by what was the Mayan culture. Without falling into the copy, it deals with a true integration to the landscape and the Mayan iconology within contemporary architecture. These "functional sculptures" are an example of authentic originality. For this reason, it could be said that the repetitive influence of Greek culture is not seen anywhere, which is a good example of local magnificence for the rest of the American continent and the world, because to be universal it must be based on the local level.

It contains:

Gran Sala "Efraín Recinos" - a large proscenium theatre named for the centre’s architect,
Teatro de Cámara "Hugo Carrillo"
Teatro al Aire Libre "Otto René Castillo"
Salón Dorado
Bar disco Tras Bastidores
Galería "Efraín Recinos"
Plaza Principal
Plaza Mujeres
Plaza Sur/Cubo Escénico
National Marimba Institute,


Originally it was a military area called "Fort of San Jose de Buena Vista" which was inaugurated on May 25, 1846, had as its function the defense and state prison. In 1872, it was transformed into a barracks and the first public primary school. On October 20, 1944, this military bastion was taken by assault by Jacobo Árbenz, Jorge Toriello Garrido and Francisco Javier Arana, who would constitute the democratic Governing Board.

With the new democratic Government Board priority is given to Culture in the country, due to the scarce affluent of cultural activities during the period of the dictator Jorge Ubico. President Ydígoras Fuentes, in 1961, started the recovery project of the old "Fort of San José de Buena Vista" with the creation of a National Theater. The Cultural Center is located within an area of ​​8 blocks, which is integrated in its location to the Civic Center of the Capital of Guatemala.


Manuel Francisco Galich López

He was born in Guatemala to María Isabel López Santa Cruz and Luis Dionisio Galich Urquía and was one of four children. In 1928 he received a scholarship and was accepted into the Escuela Normal para Varones, where he began his secondary schooling. Due to a strike at the Escuela Normal, he was transferred to the Instituto Nacional Central para Varones. There he obtained a masters in Primary Education and a bachelor's degree in Science in Letter. Manuel's artistic gifts were confirmed this year as he wrote and directed his first play titled Los conspiradores, which began his development as a playwright. One year later he imparted chairs of Pedagogy, Literature, Grammar, and History in the Escuela Normal Central para Varones and in the Instituto Normal Central para Señoritas Belén.

In 1933 Manuel Galich entered into the Universidad Nacional from which he graduated as a lawyer. Two years after graduation he was appointed as Vocal II for the College of Lawyers before the Joint Directive of Faculty for the Legal and Social Sciences. From a very early age Manuel Galich was involved in theatre. During his time as teaching, Manuel Galich wrote theatre pieces with his students as the assembly. He began as an actor when he was eleven years old and also did work as a member of the “radioteatro” (radio theatre) for the official radio TGW of Guatemala. After some time he became an author of very valuable works of theatre.

Manuel Galich was one of the most representative young people fighting against the dictatorships of both Jorge Ubico Castañeda and Federico Ponce Vaides. He also served as a revolutionary during the Revolution of October 20, 1944. In his book Del pánico al ataque tells of the fights his generation had to fight against the dictatorship.

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Guatemalan theatrical director. He was born on February 2, 1935. He made his debut as an actor in the Thalia Theater group under the direction of Manuel Lisandro Chavez when he was still 14 years old in 1949. When he was a member of the Thalia group, his director recommended him to study with Domingo Tessier at the School of Fine Arts, where he graduated as an art teacher, specializing in theater.

The mise-en-scene and set design of the works presented by the UP under the direction of Rubén Morales Monroy reproduced environments such as peasant homes in the interior of the country and the proletarians of the city and were carried out in a simple way, in line with popular realism. The ways of representing the works were very simple and with a direct language.

In the repertoire of Rubèn Morales with the company the UP has had a majority of works written by Guatemalans, such as "The Indigested Fish", "From live to painted", "My son the Bachiller", "Pascual Abah "," The Yellow Train "," Torotumbo "and" Your Last Position ", by Manuel Galich; "The President" based on the original, by writer Miguel Ángel Asturias (a work that almost cost him his life due to the repression of those days) "La Calle del Sexo Verde" and "El Corazón del Espantapájaros", "La Chalana", "The Heritage of La Tula", by Hugo Carrillo; "A Loteriazo in Plena Crisis", by María Luisa Aragón, "El Viejo Solar" by Adolfo Drago Bracco, "Sebastían Sale de Compras" and "Dialogue between El Gordo, El Flaco and una Rockola" and "Crime, Chain and Execution of Una Gallina ", by Manuel José Arce; "La Gente del Palomar", by María del Carmen Escobar, among others.

He also directed comedies such as "So perfect I do not love you", "The manufacturer of debts", "The aunt of Carlos", "The game that we all play" and almost all the works of Alejandro Casona as "The trees die standing up", of which I made more than 1000 presentations, "The boat without fisherman", "Prohibited suicide in spring", "The Taming of the Shrew" enters many, many others.

Among the awards received are: The pedestal of gold (Presidency of the Republic 1982), White Nun of the Association of Journalists of Guatemala, Cross to the Artistic Merit of the Association of Journalists of Guatemala; Artist of the year (Revista de las Naciones 1988), Premio Rabinal Achi (CELCIT 1991), He was the winner of 10 OPUS prizes awarded by the Fine Arts Board as the best editing and best direction. 3 first prizes in the Central American cultural Olympics in Santa Ana, El Salvador and the EMERITISSIMUM Diploma from the Faculty of Humanities of the University of San Carlos in Guatemala.

He was known as El maestro Rubén, but without a doubt the nickname that best suited him was the DRIVING FORCE OF GUATEMALAN THEATRE.


Manuel José Leonardo Arce Leal. He was born in Guatemala City in 1935, a direct descendant of the first president of the United Provinces of Central America, also called Manuel José Arce. He was one of the high voices of Guatemalan culture. Fundamentally a poet, he also successfully cultivated the theatre. The intensity and depth of his work led him to obtain important Central American prizes.

As a poet he published: "In the name of the Father" in 1955, "Of the possible dawn" in 1957, "Cantos en vida" in 1960, "Eternauta" in 1962, "The episodes of the freight car" in 1971 and "Palabras allusive to the act and other poems with the theme of love» in 1978.

Author of numerous plays, among the main ones are: Dialogo del gordo y el flaco with a rocola, El gato murió de Histeria, Delito condena and ejecucion de una gallina, Compermiso, Sebastian goes shopping and Torotumbo, adaptation of the novel by Miguel Angel Asturias, premiered in Paris. The Central American University Press (EDUCA) published its best works under the title of Grotesque Theatre Works.

He won important Central American prizes. His work was translated into several languages. In the eighties he had to leave the country to go into exile in France because of constant threats from the Lucas García regime. From there he wrote some hard poems against the government of Guatemala, published after his death. He died of lung cancer, in exile, in 1985 in France.

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