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The Teatro Principal is located on a corner of the Plaza Bolivar in the Central district of Caracas.
It opened on 18th April 1931 with Jean Harlow in “Hell’s Angels”. The architect was Gustavo Wallis who designed a splendid cinema on a corner site. It was the first theatre in Venezuela to be constructed of steel frame design and have a beam balcony and acoustic treatment on the walls. The facade is in a Neo Classical style whilst the interior was in an Art Deco style with interior designs by Lahalle & Levard of Paris, France, in collaboration with Venezuelian interior designer Carmen de las Casas.
Seating was provided on two levels which were split between 550 in the stalls, 340 in the front balcony, 80 seats in the side slips and 400 in the gallery (rear balcony).
Despite the name ‘Principal’ (Main) it was actually the second main cinema in the Central district of Caracas. It boasted a large stage which was used regularly during the early years. Famed Argentinian dancer/singer/actor Carlos Gardel appeared here in April 1935 as did Berta Singermann.
It was re-modelled in 1953 which unfortunately destroyed the orginal Art Deco style interior decorations.
It became a Mexican movie house in the 1990’s and has recently closed, having been purchased by the Metropolitan Government who are currently (April 2006) undertaking a complete restoration and renovation of the building.
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