Miramar Restoration: the story so far
by Natasha Hickman
on: Sunday, 24 June 2007
The Music Fund for Cuba's biggest and most ambitious project yet: the restoration of the Miramar Theatre in Havana.
Due to run for three years, the project will cost an estimated £200,000 and its aim is to reinstate the building as a theatre, education resource and community centre in a district with no facility like it. In Cuba excitement about the project is palpable and work is well underway in the UK to raise the money required for the restoration. Cuban architect Enrique Tamarit has been appointed and the project will be ready to go once the funding is secured.
The theatre renovation was proposed by Centro Nacional de Escuales de Arte (CNEArt) in 2006, as one of the most important projects for arts education in the country. CNEArt works in collaboration with the Fund to identify appropriate projects for support and stresses the obvious importance of the theatre restoration for local arts students. It would provide rehearsal and performance space they just don’t have at the moment. But the potential of the project is more far-reaching. Teachers and officials at CNEArt plan the theatre as a bridge between arts and the community – with students themselves taking art to the local people, through workshops and education projects as well as performance.“The theatre will be a beautiful link between the schools and the local community.” Clara Gonzalez, Deputy Director, National School of Arts.
The 600-seat Miramar theatre lies at the heart of the Playa district of Havana. Originally built as a theatre, over time the building was used as a cinema and meeting place for local people. Like most buildings in Cuba it has been battered by hurricanes and degraded by humidity. But due to a chronic shortage of funds the theatre never received the regular maintenance required in that climate, and fell into decay.