This Neo-classical style building, erected at the turn of the 20th century, used to belong to the Spanish Circle and was used to present light operas and short comedies. In 1997 it was restored by the Municipality of Santiag, the idea being to bolster the identity of this quarter of the city. Set in the quarter known as Barrio Yungay, it is one of the most prized examples of the cultural activity that took place in this area of Santiago at the beginning of last century.
In June 2022 it was reopened with an unprecedented co-management model, between the Municipality of Santiago and the residents of Barrio Yungay, with the idea of reconquering the wealth and identity of the community in order to host art, heritage and culture.
This theater, with over one hundred years of history, now has a façade that is a far cry from the original, which was built in wood. Old-time theater companies used to present in it their variety shows, including theater, music and dance.
With the arrival of cinematography, movies became increasingly important until they took over from previous forms of expression.
Movie film rolls were highly inflammable and many movie theaters caught fire, such as that recorded in Teatro Novedades in 1930. This made it necessary to erect today’s building, which was completed in March 1931. Thus, the property became suitable for sound movies, with a capacity for 800 in the pits, 500 in the balconies and 1,000 in the galleries.
Teatro Novedades reached its zenith in the 1920’s, first with silent movies and later with sound movies. Cinema as a spectacle for the masses drew in both the famous characters of the quarter and the more humble who were keen to see the latest fads from Hollywood and Europe.
In the 1960’s, the Theater came to be managed by the Liceo Cervantes high school. The lack of maintenance resources, the decadence of this city quarter and, therefore, the decline in the audience, resulted in the school eventually taking it over as a warehouse, until it went bankrupt in 1990. Following this, the theater came to be managed by the Municipality of Santiago, which put in place a restoration policy for the building.
Cueto, 257, Santiago.