As Shakespeare wrote: “If music be the food of love, play on.” And it plays on in plenty of places across the Algarve, from purpose-built auditoriums and theatres, to small, specialist venues. Take your pick, book your seats, and love it

Teatro das Figuras, Faro

This venue is described by its fans as one of the most important concert halls in the Algarve due to its sheer size and quality of equipment. The building can hold over 780 people when at full capacity, and due to that it is also used as an event space for conferences and parties. Award winning Portuguese architect, Gonçalo Byrne, was the brains behind the Teatro whose mission is to “satisfy, enchant and surprise”, while awakening the five senses of the performing arts. There’s an eclectic mix of stage performances scheduled regularly, ranging from theatre and dance to opera and ‘new circus’, and the theatre is also well known for its flamenco shows.

The theatre runs the Friends of the Figuras programme, which gives those who sign up a sense of ownership, and responsibility for their community theatre while contributing to its upkeep financially. There’s a big emphasis on education and training with the aim of expanding the cultural development of Faro, the Algarve and Portugal itself.

Cine Teatro Loulé

Formally the Cine-Teatro Louletano, this historic theatre opened to the public in 1930 with the aim of building something for the community. Actress Ilda Stichini opened the theatre, which has seen some historic names perform over the years, like actor and comedian Raul Solnado and actress Maria do Céu Guerra. Today, it plays host to an array of arts, not just stage theatre, but concerts, artistic evenings and cinema, and has a reputation for showcasing world-renowned films. The original founders of Cine Teatro invested 80 Contos each, divided into nine shares, to develop the two plots of land it sits upon, one of which was acquired at public auction by Loulé City Council. The site was refurbished in 2011 and has been home to a permanent calendar of events since then, including debates, programmes aimed at a family audience, dance, musical theatre and performance.

Tempo Theatre, Portimão

The team of people behind this theatre had a vision to revitalise the historic area of the city of Portimão with an urban theatre that would convey the Algarve’s diversity. They wanted TEMPO to be a meeting place in the heart of the city that would stimulate visitors’ senses. There’s a main large auditorium as well as a smaller one, a ‘black box’ and a café. Due to its contemporary setting, albeit in a traditional building, TEMPO offers a range of performing arts, including theatre, jazz concerts, festivals, like the recent percussion and piano festivals. Tribute bands also appear regularly including the likes of The Peakles, better recognised as the ‘fab four’. There’s also a wide range of dance, dramatics and music. The theatre boasts brilliant acoustics, which never fail to impress visitors.

Auditório Municipal de Albufeira

This is a modern, 368-seater theatre which is known for its exhibitions, shows, cinema and conferences. Its central location makes it easy for visitors. The stage is often used for art exhibitions and visitors to the Municipal Auditorium and Art Gallery are told that they will be sure to enjoy the variety of events held there throughout the year. There’s easy external parking, which makes the theatre more accessible.

Fado com História, Tavira

Located in the heart of the historic town of Tavira, this auditorium presents daily Fado shows. Fado is a music genre that can be traced to the 1820s in Lisbon, but the date on which it actually originated is thought to be much older. The auditorium is petite, with capacity for just 40 people.
Over the space of an hour, visitors are treated to a 35-minute live show with Portuguese guitar, viola and voice, featuring some of the most important Fado songs. The show also includes a video presentation followed by a live performance of traditional Fado, translated into several languages. If that isn’t enough, there is a tasting session with wine from Porto, accompanied by traditional Folar bread and dried fruits from the Algarve. The experience is described as a ‘must’ for people who want to sample a slice of Portuguese tradition. The centre was awarded the Tripadvisor Excellence Award in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 and is considered the Number 1 Attraction in the Algarve, in the category of Shows.

The Pedro Ruivo Auditorium, Faro

This auditorium is located on the same site as the Regional Conservatory of the Algarve Maria Campina. With space for 400 people, there is an orchestra pit, and a good range of sound and light equipment. This allows for much more than theatre and music – there are regular conferences, seminars, workshops and film projections held here. The Pedro Ruivo Foundation is a non-profit institution which aims to promote the Algarve as a cultural region while attracting a diverse range of events to it.

Centro Cultural de Lagos, Lagos

The Centro Cultural de Lagos is seen as a venue for ‘diverse’ cultural events and activities from the performing to the visual arts. Classical music and stand-up comedy are regulars here, but the centre is also used for events like photography, archaeology and history exhibitions. There are two main spaces, the largest of which is an Italian style auditorium with seating for up to 300. The exhibition part of the centre is spread out over three rooms. International events are run in partnership with institutions such as the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

Teatro Lethes Faro

One of the oldest theatres in the country, Lethes is managed by A Companhia de Teatro do Algarve, or ACTA, Algarve’s Theatre Company, which is not only active in putting on productions across Portugal, but outside of the country, as well.

The name Lethes comes from a mythical river in Greek mythology, which has the powers to erase people’s memory. The aim of this theatre, when it opened in its current form in 2012, was to promote the cultural, spiritual and artistic qualities offered by both professional and amateur production companies. The theatre’s current building began life as a Jesuit College in the 1500s, Colégio de Santiago Maior, and was auctioned off in 1843. The idea of turning the former college into a theatre was always a popular one. The building was closed in 1925 after it was sold to the Portuguese Red Cross, to whom it still belongs today, although the actual theatre was eventually handed over to the Regional Delegation of Ministry of Culture.

Words: Lucy Mayer

The inside of the theatre is a very grand affair; how purists would expect a traditional theatre to look with stunning artwork on the ceiling and ornate fixtures and fittings throughout. You will find all genres of theatre enacted on the stage at Lethes, but it undoubtedly lends itself to the great plays of Shakespeare and the classical Portuguese Fado. An interesting fact about Lethes is that the remains of a Napoleonic soldier’s skeleton were found in the walls of the theatre while work was being carried out; the site of this find is now an electric cabinet.

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