The Variedades Theater is a theater and a cinema. It is located in San Jose, Costa Rica on 5th street between Central and First avenues. This theater occupies an area of 720 m2; and has a stage of Italian style, wooden floor, and its current capacity is 492 spectators, spread over 3 floors, it also has two dressing rooms located on the left side of the stage and a projection screen film 5.5 x 11 meters and accessible bathrooms to people with disabilities. It is important to mention that the latest renovations to this theater dating from 1914, and since that date the structure has remained intact.
The theater began to be built in 1891 by the Spanish businessman Thomas Garita to replace the Municipal Theater of San Jose, which had been destroyed by an earthquake. Its architect was also the Spanish Francisco Gómez; the opening of this theater was in 1892, under the name of Variedades Theater; this had 384 seats and premiered to the French operetta La Mascota, Edouard Audran, in charge of the Spanish Company of Zarzuela and Operetta Fajardo Vazcona. After completing the construction of the Costa Rica National Theater in 1897, the Variedades Theater went on to become an alternative theater, where mainly presented zarzuelas, operettas, at the same time giving space to important social, cultural and political events.
By 1906, the Variedades theater was the site where the first cinematographic productions that arrived in Costa Rica where aired, and from the decade of 1920 the theater devoted itself entirely to the film exhibition; after the theater was purchased by Italian Mario Urbini. In 1930, it projected the first Costa Rican film, Retorno, work of silent film directed by Alfred Francis Bertoni Italian and produced by Urbini. In 1986, the Variedades Theater was declared a cultural and historical interest site; and in 1999, it became part of the architectural heritage of the Costa Rican nation. Currently, the Variedades Theater continues to run as a cinema and theater, inclusive projecting films with digital technology and 3-d. Together with the Costa Rica National theater and the Popular Mélico Salazar theater, the Variedades is regarded as one of the three major theaters of the Costa Rican capital; the Variedades theater is the oldest in this capital.
The architecture of this theater corresponds to the neoclassical style of Costa Rica in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, is a work of Spanish architect Francisco Gomez. The building is located on a street which forms an architectural ensemble with other two important historical buildings of San Jose, these buildings share the same architectural style, the Maroy building and the Casa Jiménez de la Guardia. Its iconic façade has Baroque decorative elements, such as Doric columns, figureheads, alluding to the dance and the lyre, and Dragons images.
During your vacations in Costa Rica don't forget to take a tour of San José , the capital of Costa Rica, and visit our theaters and enjoy a little piece of our beautiful architectural works.
Remember, as the vast majority of cities, you must be careful when walk in the city and not expose yourself to walking alone in certain zones, or carry a large amount of cash or jewellery, take care of your belongings at all times, and if you need information please contact to authorized officers. With these simple tips you can enjoy everything that San Jose has to offer you.