Our city is awash with the performing arts, from the classic to the fringe. But a very unique and exciting component of our bustling arts scene is the Spanish-language plays, readings, concerts, and readings hosted by the GALA Hispanic Theater, “the theatre with a different accent.” It is considered by some to be one of the country’s leading Spanish-language theaters, and along with Teatro de la Luna in Arlington, is one of the two in the national capital area.
GALA makes its home at the restored Tivoli Theater in Columbia Heights, a Washington, DC institution. Before coming GALA’s permanent home in 2005, the Tivoli opened in 1924 as a elegant movie theater, but was shuttered in 1976 and fell into disrepair.
GALA stands for “Groupo de Artistas LatinoAmericanos”, and is a full-blown theater company. Established 34 years ago, it has staged over 165 productions (see the impressive list here). When I visited, the mainstage performance was a play called “Ana en el trópico,” a translation of the 2003 Pulitzer award-winning and Tony nominee “Anna in the Tropics.”
Nearly all the performances at GALA are in Spanish with English subtitles, and the playbill and other pieces of information are bilingual. There’s something mesmerizing about watching a play in another language, and realizing how much of acting and the emotions of the stage are communicated by means other than language. It is incredibly impressive it is to see actors in action who are masters of their craft in more than one language.
GALA’s theater company stages its own productions, but the theater also hosts guest artists such as musicians, dancers, DJs, and poets. The company is committed to outreach: the “Galita” program provides bilingual theater for kids, the Paso Nuevo program is a theater workshop for teens, and art exhibitions decorate the walls of the theater lobby.
GALA is an excellent and essential part of the DC community—visite pronto!
To visit: 3333 14th Street NW, Washington, DC. (202) 234-7174. Columbia Heights Metro or many buses. Prices depend on show.