A Hidden San Miguel Gem-Shelter Theater

By Michael Hager

We hear about it almost every time the Shelter Theater is mentioned in a conversation: “I’ve never been there. Where is it?” This hidden gem, located in Colonia San Rafael, is an intimate theater that seats 60 people and which is turning into one of the “places to go” for music, comedy, and film. Some of you may have recently attended several sold-out performances by Broadway performer Daniel Packard, but for those who haven’t had a chance to enjoy this theater experience you should probably take advantage of the next opportunity to attend one of the upcoming events.

“We’re just starting to really ramp up our event schedule as more and more performers and audiences discover our little corner of San Miguel. We hope 2012 will be a banner year for us in getting introduced to the patrons of San Miguel, starting off with the “Gimme Shelter Concert Series” in February,” owner John Wharton told us this week.

For those who have been attending weekly events such as “Open Mic” on Tuesdays and some of John’s film series such as the one he promoted on Earth Day, they know the value of having a cozy theater at our doorstep. John truly sees this theater as a “community theater” supporting and promoting the performing arts in town. “He opens his doors up to us for free,” said Phil Rodgers, the MC for Open Mic. “Providing us with a comfortable, supportive environment for experienced and novice performers to hone their craft whether it be song, poetry or comedy. In addition, both John and YaYa are really committed to working with kids in the neighborhood by involving them in theater arts and other creative projects.“

Some people have wondered about such issues as location, parking, and safety. John assures patrons that he regularly parks his new car on the street and it has never been harmed nor have his Mexican neighbors, who are happy to see the arts arrive in San Rafael, ever bothered any patron.

As for the location of the theater, it is just off Calle Antonio Villanueva, the broad street that runs parallel to Insurgentes, up from the ‘river’. It’s a 10-minute walk or 5-minute cab ride from the Jardín. As for parking, there is always plenty on nearby streets (see map below).

So the next time you’re ready to experience a new venue for the theater arts, take time to visit the Shelter Theater, your “shelter from the ordinary.”

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