Theatre in Buenos Aires


Apr 1, 2009
Hi everyone,

I'm moving to Buenos Aires in May for a year, and would like to suss out the theatre scene in the city before I arrive. I've looked briefly online but am not coming up with anything for English language plays currently running, or theatre companies that put on plays in English. I could just be looking in the wrong place of course.

I'm planning to bone up on my Spanish once I get there, btw, but it may take me more than the year to be able to understand a whole play in Spanish :cool:

Grateful for any advice,
Imagine the foreign language theatre scene in your home city. Foreign touring theatre companies may arrive from time to time, put on one or two performances targetted more at foreign language students than at their nation's ex-pats and then they move on. You may be lucky enough to catch something like that, though I admit I haven't discovered it yet. The British Council may be able to advise.

You may discover English language productions being performed by special-interest Argentine organisations as part of a process of education or appreciation but these might not be what you are looking for. A couple of years ago some friends went to see - I think it was - the Buenos Aires Jane Austin Society's production of Romeo and Juliet in English. The all-Argentine cast performed in front of the all-Argentine audience and it was a success by every definition that the Society would have used. It was however a cut-down and reinterpreted version over which the Bard had very little input and you as a native English speaker might not have wanted to be there - except of course to add moral support to a very worthwhile enterprise.

Beware plays with familiar titles - these are very often cut down or reinterpreted. Having said that, there's an absolute wealth of good quality stage drama and when you are in Buenos Aires you will learn how to seek it out. And don't be afraid of the Spanish language - good performances transcend the language. Last year in Buenos Aires I saw the visiting National Theatre of Spain production of Don Gil de las Calzas Verdes. Performed in the original archaic Spanish, a native English speaker was at no greater disadvantage than a native Porteño and the play and the production were absolutely superb.
It's a Spanish speaking country. A small percentage speak some english, and an even smaller percentage speak fluent english. Forget trying to find plays in English. Accept it that the theatre scene is essentially 95% in Spanish. Those that aren't are operas in Italian or German, or non-speaking theatre such as ballet or the occasional touring group like Cirque de Soleil. Broadway shows are staged regularly (Caberet was here for ages, as was Sweet Charity, and Hairspray may still be on), but the lyrics are all translated into Spanish. Same with plays, they will put on a myriad of plays originally written in English (or another language for that matter) with the dialogue translated. Sometimes they will leave the title in English still.

Don't be annoyed that a Spanish language city doesn't have an English language theatre scene though -- use it to your advantage instead. Think of it as a great way to learn Spanish. Concentrate on plays you already know in English, before going buy the book, read it in Spanish before going so you have some idea what's going on and translate the portions you need to, and then go enjoy the show.
Thanks guys for your responses, very much appreciated.

Not annoyed in the least! Just hoping to get as much information as possible about the theater scene before I arrived in BA. I will definitely be soaking up as much Spanish language theater as possible, but I wonder if it would be possible to stage a small English production for fun? I will have to look into it when I get there, but would love anyone's thoughts on the subject.
I went to Caberet when it was in BA. I have virtually no Spanish and I totally enjoyed the play. Maybe because it was a musical but the production, the seats, the actors....all were as good as it gets.

A bit late, but check the British Arts Centre (BAC)'s theather section from time to time. Last weekend, they had an English play called "The Drama of the River Plate".

Like Tom above, we've also seen some well known productions (Dracula, Hairspray) in spanish here in BA and have enjoyed them very much. Knowing the story beforehand will help with the language thing. We're planning to see Phantom of the Opera soon as well.