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Parque [Park] Theatre

Was inaugurated by the Companhia Portuguesa de Operetas e Revistas do Teatro Avenida [Avenida Theatre’s Portuguese Company of Operettas and Reviews] from Lisbon on the night of 24 August 1915.
 

Parque [Park] Theatre

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Last update: 19/03/2020

By: Semira Adler Vainsencher - N/I

The Teatro do Parque [Park Theatre] is located at 81 Rua do Hospício street in the Boa Vista neighbourhood in Recife. It is a building adjacent to the Hotel do Parque and very close to the Church of Boa Vista. Although it has a narrow façade, the land of the theatre widens after the entrance, as if it had suddenly turned into a shell. In this shell – whose space is quite wide – the theatre itself was built. It contains wooden chairs for the audience, ceiling fans, a staircase to the first floor (which also has chairs) and a stage – the current cinema-theatre. On the right side of the land, it is possible to observe an open garden with numerous trees, plants, and an old gazebo.

The Parque Theatre was built by a Portuguese merchant, Comendador Bento Luís de Aguiar, who invested two hundred (200) contos de réis, and was inaugurated by the Companhia Portuguesa de Operetas e Revistas do Teatro Avenida [Avenida Theatre’s Portuguese Company of Operettas and Reviews] from Lisbon on the night of 24 August 1915. This company went on to Rio de Janeiro to present the costume review O 31, by Luis Galhardo.

The building was constructed in an art-nouveau style, and its decoration given over to the painters Henrique Elliot and Mário Nunes. At the beginning of the 20th century, trams circulated along the tracks of Rua do Hospício and stopped in front of the theatre after the end of each night session to take the passengers – in this specific case the audience and the cast – to their residences or hotels where they were staying.

It is worth recording two interesting pieces of information regarding the history of this show house. Firstly, on the occasion of its inauguration people had to buy tickets for the theatre in the billiard room of the Hotel do Parque as there was no box office. Secondly, the firm A. Di Maia & Cia. leased the garden and the theatre’s buffet for many years.

The Parque Theatre has a very high-quality gallery, bringing together works of art by renowned artists such as Abelardo da Hora, José Corbiniano Lins, Maria de Jesus Costa and Valdemar Chagas. Pictures by Hélio Feijó, Baltazar da Câmara, Guita Charifker, Delano, Augusto Rodrigues, Wellington Virgulino, José Cláudio, Lula Cardoso Ayres, Lauria, Manezinho Araújo, Ladjane and Joaquim do Rego Monteiro can also be appreciated.

In the theatre’s entrance hall are three plaques containing data on its inauguration and its restorations. The first plaque, dated 13 December 1959, was a tribute from the Municipality of Recife to Comendador Bento Luís de Aguiar, who envisioned and built the theatre. The second plaque, a tribute from the cultural and artistic institutions of Recife, thanking Comendador Bento Luís de Aguiar for having built the showhouse and inaugurating it on 24 August 1915, as well as Mayor Pelópidas Silveira, who restored it for the people of Recife on 13 December 1959. It should be noted that at that time, the re-inauguration of the theatre occurred with the presentation of the play Onde canta o sabiá [Where the Sabiá Sings], directed by Hermilo Borba Filho. Finally, a third plaque dated 25 January 1969, representing a tribute from the city of Recife to Mayor Augusto Lucena, for having performed other restorations on the theatre.

Grand Brazilian companies have graced the stage of the Parque Theatre, such as those of Vicente Celestino and Alda Garrido, and the first plays by the famous duo of Samuel Campelo and Valdemar de Oliveira were staged there.

In the silent movie era, the theatre showed films on a screen accompanied by several musicians. One of these musicians was the conductor and composer Nelson Ferreira, who later became famous. The theatre also consecrated spoken cinema. From 1929 to 1959, the space was leased by the Luís Severiano Ribeiro Group, which released Disney films and some Brazilian films.

In a very innovative gesture, the Recife City Council and the National Cinema Institute signed an agreement and inaugurated the first permanent educational cinema in Brazil at the Parque Theatre on 3 December 1973, providing the population of Pernambuco with access to countless movies that were not shown in conventional cinemas and were worth watching and being appreciated.

Despite Recife today having the modern Convention Centre, with new halls for shows containing comfortable armchairs and air conditioning, this theatre remains a landmark in the cultural life of the State. It is precisely in this theatre that the economically disadvantaged population, intellectuals, as well as many students, can still attend regional folkloric presentations of music, singing and poetry, and have access at reasonable prices to festivals, film screenings, art presentations and shows of various kinds. Today this house even is home to the Banda da Cidade do Recife [Recife City Band]. The Parque Theatre therefore represents an emblematic popular space that, for almost a century, has been passing on culture and knowledge to the Pernambuco population.

        
Recife, 17 July 2003.
Translated by Peter Leamy, December 2016.
 

 

sources consulted

FRANCA, Rubem. Monumentos do Recife: estátuas e bustos, igrejas e prédios, lápides, placas e inscrições históricas do Recife. Recife: Secretaria de Educação e Cultura, 1977.

FUNDAÇÃO GETÚLIO VARGAS. Dicionário histórico-biográfico brasileiro: 1930-1983. Rio de Janeiro: Forense/Universitária, 1984. v. 3 e 4.

how to quote this text

Source: VAINSENCHER, Semira Adler. Teatro do Parque. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Recife. Disponível em: https://pesquisaescolar.fundaj.gov.br/en/>. Acesso em: dia  mês ano. Ex: 6 ago. 2009.