national theater of costa rica National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica

National Theater: A Great Excuse to Go Out in San José.   Are you looking for something to do on your next trip to San José? The National Theater of Costa Rica has an eclectic variety of music, theater and dance during July and August. Not only is it an opportunity to visit one of Costa Rica’s most important historical and important landmarks but also to celebrate the arts in Costa Rica.

The National Theater is a baroque structure from Costa Rica’s coffee boom. Inaugurated in 1897, it represents a moment in history when Costa Rica thrived in supplying the world with coffee. Located next to the Plaza de la Cultura, the museum and the cafe alone are worth the visit. But it is the opportunity to experience an evening at the theater that is the real event. 

Modern strides

The National Theater has made great strides in recent years to impel local artists to perform within the historic building. The Vargas Calvo chamber theater was born from a need to showcase local artists in a more intimate setting. This year an even bolder initiative was put into effect, a renovation of the theater will see the inclusion of classrooms, rehearsal spaces, offices and a costume production workshop.

One of the most important attractions of the theater is the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica. Each month it gives between two and four performances and the libretto changes for each one. You can check the website to see what composers are on the playbill for each performance. 

In July 2019, the National Theater offers a mix of local theater, classical and national music. Every Tuesday at noon brings a different offering: children’s theater, traditional Costa Rican calypso, Sonsax, a saxophone quintet and the history of swing in Costa Rica. In mid-month, the chamber theater presents “Estrategas,” a play about the issues women face and “Marx ha Vuelto” (Marx has returned), a comedy about the return Karl Marx. The last two Saturdays of July feature performances of the National Symphony Orchestra. 

August offers a whole new lineup of concerts and performances. The first week of August, enjoy the sounds and influences of Celtic music and a modern dance composition, “Le Bom.” This month you have four chances to catch the National Symphony Orchestra. 

Tour, taste and learn

You can visit the theater from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to take a tour and learn about its rich history. The baroque foyer and cafe are publicly accessible, but to enter the theater you need to join a tour. The theater’s cafe is a delectable place to savor coffee and other tasty treats in lush surroundings.    

Tickets for performances can be purchased online through the National Theater’s website or at the theater itself. Prices for tickets vary according to seating. The chamber theater has a general admission price ranging from about 5,000 to 7,000 colones. 

The next time you are in San José, check out the National Theater and experience a different side of the city, celebrating the talent and creativity of the Costa Rican community.