Teatro Pablo Tobón Uribe: A Cultural Hub

Teatro Pablo Tobón Uribe
Teatro Pablo Tobón Uribe (photo: David Lee)
Teatro Pablo Tobón Uribe (photo: David Lee)
Teatro Pablo Tobón Uribe (photo: David Lee)

African Poetry. Not my normal type of activity for a Wednesday night.

However a jaunt to Teatro Pablo Tobón Uribe and the National Poetry Festival was both a very entertaining and eventful way to spend a mid-week night.

Approximately eight blocks from Parque Berrio, (the surrounding area isn’t one for late night strolls), the theater hosts an array of different events and activities for those who enjoy everything from poetry to live bands, theater to dance.

Opened in 1967, the theater is the oldest in Medellín, and with an auditorium with space for 880 people, it is also one of the largest.

Although not famed for its aesthetics, it is renowned for its acoustics and attracts a range of national and international artists to its stage.

This month there were events including; a tango orchestra, jazz band, blues night, yoga class, and events from the National Poetry Festival. All upcoming events and their schedule can be found here.

Teatro Pablo Tobón Uribe
Teatro Pablo Tobón Uribe (photo: David Lee)

The poetry evening was surprisingly eventful. A range of poets from Africa, from Sierra Leone to South Africa, shared their works across themes as diverse as war, dance and love.

The works were very emotive and had the crowd absorbed.

The translations into Spanish (some poems were read in English, French and Afrikaans) were complex and at one stage one of the translators, probably under the pressure of trying to translate words such as ‘personification’ and ‘embodiment’, fainted.

Cue lots of poets rushing to help her. Quite the drama.

To cap off the evening, we had the bubbly South African poet leading us all into a dance routine through her poem about what it’s like to be an African woman.

The Colombian crowd didn’t need much persuading to get up on their feet and start swaying (they also loved a good clap along) and it made for quite the energetic finale. Fun times.

Fountains fill a roundabout outside the theater
Fountains fill a roundabout outside the theater (photo: David Lee)

In terms of facilities at the theater, there is a café, (with another small stage for performances in the middle called Café teatro), should you need a drink or snack. There is also a hall available for exhibitions and social functions.

If you should need any information about events or the theater, there is lots of staff on hand to give you guidance.

I am sure whatever your cultural taste you will find something to entertain you at Teatro Pablo Tobón Uribe.

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Nick is an international development professional from the UK and is currently working for an NGO based in Medellin that supports miners and their communities. As well as covering development issues, he hopes to share his insights into life in Medellin and the daily confusion/excitement that comes with living in the city.