El Recreo Cultural Center in Mazatlán – update

April 26, 2012

A lot has been accomplished since the first of March when the new entity El Recreo took over the former Recrea space on Calle Constitución in Centro. If you’d like to read my previous posts on the project here they are: the first and the second.

I thought I’d bring you up to date on our progress.

Casa del Caracol has been using the space for the last few weeks. Owner Laura Medina has created a comfortable, colorful, environment – as you can see in the picture below.  Her popular story telling evenings for children are being held in the space and she has various classes there during the day, too.


Hector Peniche’s coffee and pastry bar will be open soon. As you can see in the picture below, his refrigerated  case and work table have been delivered, but there is still more work to be done to get everything installed.  This rectangular space in the front of the building will be a wonderful place to enjoy a coffee and read, talk to a friend or check your email.

A coffee stand will be here soon!

I have been part of the Mazatlán Film and Theater’s steering committee from the beginning, and I hope you’ll be interested in what our group has been doing. It’s been a lot, too!

    • We held a fund raiser and art opening on March 23 during Art Walk.  We showed the space in its “before” condition and talked about our plans for the space. Another art opening was held on April 6.

We created a Civil Association and have been assigned our tax number.  We have an accountant to prepare our taxes and a treasurer to manage our day to day affairs. We’ve opened a bank account. The PayPal account is still in progress.

    • We have shared in the upgrading of electrical service to the building and improved the service to the theater space.  Ceiling fans have been installed.

One volunteer is an architect and he drew up plans for the space with detail of the construction needed to created raked seating.

Another couple of volunteers tracked down the management of a theater here in Mazatlán that is closing its doors. They were able to negotiate a great price for the seats we need and a work party was thrown together in a hurry to get them removed and transported to our space. Two minivans, one car, and a red truck brought it all over one sunny Saturday.

Various volunteers have been getting bids on all kinds of things.  Cleaning the theater seats.  Cutting and putting grommets on the second-hand screen we bought. Air conditioning the space.

Various volunteers have been designing things – from the structure to hold up the projector to the design of the roof repairs and how to best install the seats. A talented artist is working on our logo and a proposed El Recreo website is being developed.

We’ve bought a lot of things – 70 theater seats, the screen, a second hand (but very nice) sound system and a brand new projector.

We’ve had one play reading performance (another is tonight) of Comedy on Constitución – a series of short humorous scenes.  Last night’s performance was fantastic – the full house audience really enjoyed themselves, even though they were sitting on rented plastic chairs in a room with peeling paint. I think most people enjoy experiencing the “before” and knowing they have contributed to its transformation.

Over the summer we’ll get the roof repaired, air conditioning installed, the bathroom reconfigured and turned into two, the theater seats and screen installed, and the room painted. Fabric panels will close off a couple interior doorways and help with sound control.

This has truly been a community project and it will continue to be. We know El Recreo is a solid concept as a place for cultural activities and sharing for both the Mexican and expat communities.  As the space gets more complete I’ll write about the fun ideas that have been surfacing as we all grasp what a great thing we have going here.

Below are a few pictures from the last few weeks:

Steve & Ken testing the new projector and the salvaged theater screen.
A theater seat we set up so people could see what is coming!

Our fund raising has been successful so far but we are going to need the rest (approximately 60,000 pesos) in order to get the rest of the work done over the summer. We hope you’ll consider donating – you can visit the Mazatlán Film & Theater website to find out how.

Below you’ll see a few photos from the play reading event last night.  It was a blast!

The crowd is getting seated for an evening of comedy.
The cast of the first scene – from Brighton Beach Memoirs by Neil Simon (Barry Silverstone, Linda Baker, Marsha Topf, BC Marks, Verneen Barnes, Ken Albanese)
Melissa Burridge performed an excerpt from the Vagina Monologues and sang, too!
The cast – Front – Verneen Barnes, Linda Baker, Linda Silverstone, Anne Murphy, Marsha Topf, Terry Topf, Victoria Huff, Melissa Burridge BACK – Ken Albanese, Kat Woods, Barry Silverstone, BC Marks, Paul Pattee, Fred Howard
Our fearless leader Ken Albanese trying out the theater seat!

The last thing pertaining to this project that I want to mention is that the memorial service for Jackie Peterson will be Friday, May 4, 2012 at the Angela Peralta Theater at 5 pm. Jackie was a long time Mazatlán resident and worked tirelessly to promote and support cultural events here.  She was a member of Mazatlán Film and Theater’s steering committee, and her absence has been keenly felt.


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More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

    1. Oh my, progress! Although we’re not there in person, Kennie and I are there in spirit to help support this wonderful project, Mazatlan Film & Theater

    1. I loved seeing all this, as well as photos of old (not in years) friends. What a super and exciting idea that continues to blossom. I’ll tell you, Nancy, when I saw what Scott was renting his old house for, I almost wanted to pack up and return! But, I will finish seeing my granddaughter off to college and then???… who knows. I love the picture of Ken sitting in theater chair.

    1. So much has happened, especially in the past week! Kudos to you all. It’s so thrilling to see the photos and I so wish I could have been there to celebrate all your good work. Many more exciting things to come.

    1. I am so happy to be part of this wonderful growth in Mazatlan. The best is yet to come!

    1. You and your group have created something wonderful out of almost nothing from a dream in just a few months. Brava to you all.

      If you have a moment Nancy, can you go over to my blog and vote on our new home siding color. Gracias.

      1. Hey Everyone,

        It is a wonderful project and I think we are all so grateful to Ken for his passion and perseverance. Not to mention all the work! It is going to be great.

    1. I am so glad Recreo is taking off and flying high. I would like more information on what I could expect if I planned to attend, not ony the e vents, but during the hours you are to be open. I will continue to search the internet tonight, but if there is information available elsewhere please let me know. Bette D. Schwarz

      1. Bette,

        Thank you for your comments! It is going very well. We haven’t got our hours scheduled yet as we are still waiting for the Coffee/Bakery shop to open. Once he gets his schedule, the rest of us will work around it. Right now, Casa Del Caracol is holding story telling evenings on Friday and Saturday at 7 pm – they are geared to children from about 4-8 I think. (20 pesos, last I heard) Mazatlan Film & Theater needs to spend the summer getting the air conditioning installed, the seats and screen installed, painting, etc. We should be ready to show movies in late summer or early fall if our fund raising continues apace. You can find more info at http://www.mazact.com and on our Facebook page (please LIKE it so you get updates) https://www.facebook.com/MazatlanFilmTheater. Thanks again!

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