Located in the heart of Funchal, in Avenida Arriaga, the Municipal Theatre Baltazar Dias is one of the island’s main artistic and cultural centres, hosting a wide range of events, including theatre, music and exhibitions. Festivals, such as the Madeira Literary Festival and Madeira Film Festival, are also very well accepted by the audience. It was in fact this thirst for culture that motivated the theatre’s construction in the first place.
As there were so many artistic shows and performances taking place on the island, the people felt the need for a permanent place appropriate to receive all these events. In compliance with the population’s request, in 1880 a company was founded especially for the purpose of the construction of a theatre worthy of the city of Funchal. Later the municipality took over this project and that company was dissolved. The architect responsible for the project was very much inspired by the Milan La Scala, a theatre model in vogue throughout Europe at that time.
In 1887 the Dona Maria Pia Theatre, in honour of the Portuguese Queen, was presented to the public with an inaugural performance.
After the establishment of the Portuguese Republic, the theatre changed its name a few more times. It was only in 1935 that it began to be called Baltazar Dias, in honour of the great blind poet and playwright, born in Madeira, who had a relevant role in the history of the Portuguese theatre.
Every detail has its own personality, its own message, its own ‘something’. Pay this theatre a visit and you will discover the masks telling of the Greek theatre, the golden clock that used to set the time for each act, the clouds on the ceiling…