The United Kingdom has championed creative power on the stage ever since William Shakespeare shaped the world’s imagination with words. The same holds true of the visual arts, music, dance and berth of cultural expressions celebrated every day across this island nation.

Next year, when the curtain rises with the United Kingdom as the Guest Nation of Honour of the Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo, audiences will be treated to 17 performances by seven of the most prestigious representatives of British culture, beginning with the period-instrument orchestra Academy of Ancient Music on February 7. Based in Cambridge and founded by the renown harpsichordist Christopher Hogwood, the Academy has recorded some 300 classical works with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. The scheduled performance in Bogotá will tribute to the ancient cultural, political and economic bonds between the United Kingdom and Colombia.

From music by Baroque composers, the program turns the hand dial forward several centuries to the age of Queen Victoria and a contemporary twist on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. Set to the stage by the London-based Avant Garde Dance Company under the artistic direction of Tony Adigun, Fagin’s Twist is a co-production with the innovative hip-hop/ contemporary dance company The Place. With four performances and its premiere March 29, audiences will be immersed in a multi-media underworld told by Fagin, the central antagonist of this epic story of orphans turned pickpockets.

Once Oliver has tugged at your heart strings, prepare to be swept off your feet with a magnificent one-night performance by the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. As one the world’s leading orchestras and directed by the former chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, the May 11 concert marks a musical milestone for Colombia, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear an orchestra ranked among the very best in the world.

Photo: Oliver Helbig

After Sir Simon Rattle delivers musical history at the Teatro Mayor, the multi-award-winning concert pianist Benjamin Grosvenor comes to Bogotá on June 13. At age 26, the acclaimed virtuoso was recently quoted by Gramophone as giving, “performance after performance of surpassing brilliance and character.” Grosvenor’s international tour schedule includes world-class venues, such as Carnegie Hall, Barbican Center and National Auditorium of Madrid.

June ushers in the Scottish Dance Theatre with a double bill with works of two of Europe’s most influential choreographers, Colette Sadler’s Ritualia and Botis Seva’s TuTuMucky. Pushing the limits of classical ballet with contemporary dance, artistic director Fleur Darkin promises an unforgettable evening with this visually-striking dance troupe.

A pillar of the United Kingdom’s cultural industries is to give visibility in the arts to the disabled, and fund organizations that promote diversity and inclusion on the stage. One of Scotland’s inclusive dance ensembles Indepen-Dance 4 will delight audiences June 22 and 23 with their brand new show Four Go Wild in Wellies. Created by Anna Newell and choreographed by Stevie Prickett, the four dancers of this professional theatre company will have children (as well as their families) laughing in the aisles as they lead us on a whimsical adventure on how friendships are built, broken and mended.

The United Kingdom program at the Teatro Mayor closes in unison when Edinburgh’s Dunedin Consort presents one of the great seasonal works of the Baroque: Handel’s Messiah. Under the musical direction of John Butt, the Dunedins will infuse a Christmas spirit with a sound that blends their majestic voices with a rich musical layering of strings and wind instruments on December 7 and 8.

The Teatro Mayor’s commitment to giving audiences the very best in performance is sponsored by the British Embassy, British Council and a host of generous benefactors. During 12 months, Colombia will be united on a stage with all that is truly great about Great Britain, and a unique showcase of artists who persevere to ensure culture remains inclusive, transcends borders and embraces a common future.

Photo: Brian Hartley

To attend the performances of United Kingdom as Guest Nation of Honor, Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo is offering a Presale with a 20% discount until December 31, 2018. Not applicable for the London Symphony Orchestra.

Tickets for all shows are available at the box office (Avenida Calle 170 No.67-51), and Cine Colombia, www.primerafila.com.co, www.teatromayor.org and by calling Primera Fila: 404-2463