Since it first launched in 1988, thanks to an initiative by the Argentine-born actress Fanny Mickey, the Ibero-American Theatre Festival has attracted millions of spectators and helped the Colombian capital city become known as a global venue for the performing arts.

With this edition 14 of the FITB, the roster of theatre groups and performers will gather at the Jorge Eliécer Gaitan Theatre as the curtain rises Friday April 4th with the Brazilian musical “Gonzaga, la leyenda.” The following day, Bogotá welcomes the Brazilian carnival comparsa ‘Os Negoes’ with its colorful samba pa- rade along the Carrera Septima.

With 25 countries represented, 1,200 performers and 39 international works on stage, for two weeks (the festival ends April 20th) spectators have an impressive

repertoire to choose from, especially as the spotlight shines on six works by Brazil, the special guest nation. The Brazilian works range from Bob Wilson’s stark ‘La dama del mar’ to ‘Amores sordos’ by the celebrated director Antunes Filho.

Contemporary circus troupes take to the air, including Australia’s internationally-recognized production company Strut & Fret with their dazzling ‘Limbo’ cabaret. Argentina takes tango to new heights also with a lofty performance of ‘echo,’ WHS of Finland follows with a multimedia show entitled ‘Partir’ and the Norwegian group Carte Blanche gives us some stunning choreography in ‘Corps de Walk.’

The United States is represented by the New York based Shen Wei Dance Arts and their imaginative, sensual dancing in ‘Folding/Consagracíon de Primavera.’ The English stage director and author Declan Donnellan presents a ‘Tempest’ with actors from The Chekhov Festival and Korea’s Lee Youn Taek offers audiences a powerful rendition with ‘Bodas de Sangre.’For family entertainment Peter J. Wilson presents ‘The Girl Dragon’ with the Chinese Children’s Arts Theatre.

From the Czech Republic (Tomaz Pandur) to South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, the international offering in the 14th Ibero-American Theatre Festival is impressive. Not to be missed are Germany’s Thalia Theatre with ‘Woyzeck’, France’s Compagnie de Petits Heures and their visual narrative ‘Murmullos’ and the acrobatic musical spectacle ‘La Veritá’ by the Swiss Compagnia Finzi Pasca.

The national representation will be primarily from The Golden Dragonfly (La Libelula Dorada) and Magical Threads (Hilos Magicos) theatre groups, which will present more than 27 works, and six other companies that will perform a repertoire of “classic pieces, contemporary versions, fables and original creations.”

Children’s classics plays such ‘The Little Prince,’ ‘The Ugly Duckling,’ ‘The Boy Who Cried Wold,’ ‘Red Riding Hood’ and ‘The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs’ will be presented by Hilos Magicos who are celebrating their 40th anniversary.

A must-see event for visitors and residents alike, the Ibero-American Theater Festival offers an array of functions so incredibly diverse that anyone and everyone should be able to find something to enjoy as dramatic sights and sounds fill the city and Bogotá once again becomes home to a world stage.

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