Interview Hugo von Liechtenstein, President of the Friends of Teatro del Lago

Hugo von Liechtenstein, President of the Friends of Teatro del Lago e.V. – Amigos Europa, speaks on the occasion of the ten-year anniversary of the Teatro del Lago in Frutillar, which was honoured with the title “Creative City” by UNESCO in 2017. He explains why this “Patagonian Fitzcarraldo project” offers numerous opportunities for sustainable regional development through first-class cultural and educational possibilities which also serve the social integration of children and teenagers, and the options to support this trail-blazing project.

· Why did you decide to support the dream “Teatro del Lago” as president of the Friends? How did this come about?

When I travelled Chile with my daughter in November 2018 and visited the Teatro del Lago in Frutillar, I was deeply impressed by the work being done at the theatre, by the foundation, the school, the city, and the effects it has throughout the entire region. Therefore I am very happy to champion this idea, spreading the word and motivating others to join us.


· Why do you believe that initiatives such as the Fundación Teatro del Lago and its associated School of the Arts are important for children and young people all over the world?

Those of us from countries where it is considered a matter of course for children and teenagers to have more or less comprehensive access to education – and in concrete, that also includes training in creative and artistic aspects – can hardly evaluate the importance of an institution such as Teatro del Lago and its associated training centres for the region. This is all about infrastructural development at the highest level! According to their talent, the children and teenagers attending receive instrumental training and instruction in singing and dance. Families whose children are educated at the School of the Arts and receive a scholarship to do so move to Frutillar from all over Chile in order to give their children this opportunity. At the same time, PLADES, a foundation acting in parallel, supports the development of an infrastructure for the city on the highest ecological level. This, in turn, is a precondition for high-class, sustainable tourism, now and even more so in the future. Regarding the latter aspects, it is worthwhile pointing out the possibilities of Frutillar and its surroundings: in the evening you can attend concerts and festivals of the highest calibre, and you can spend your days in breath-taking nature – climbing a volcanic cone, for example. This combination of art and nature is unique in this form… But I digress, I get overwhelmed by my enthusiasm… To summarize once again: in my opinion, in a few years the Teatro del Lago will be regarded as a model of sustainable infrastructural development at the highest level, especially in times and regions of the world in which social issues are coming into clear focus again, and rightfully so.


· Regarding the ten-year anniversary, which, in your opinion, were the most remarkable projects during this initial phase?

Well, first of all it is certainly the fact that a theatre was built at all, offering seating for up to 1,200 visitors inside its spacious concert hall, constructed in keeping with the latest insights of indoor acoustics! This created the conditions for this wonderful combination of school and stage. Children and teenagers being educated here are introduced naturally to life on stage, and anyone who has seen the eager and joyful anticipation in their faces and their shining eyes must simply share this enthusiasm!

The School of the Arts is now also so established and recognized that internationally renowned artists can be convinced to give master classes and limited engagements, in addition to the local teachers who do such excellent work.

Finally, the integration of the institution Teatro del Lago and all its associated facilities within the city of Frutillar and the entire region must be emphasized. The region and the theatre are mutually inspiring. For example, dance projects are initiated, allowing children from twenty different schools to participate in one joint activity. The three points above are only examples: the list of what has already been achieved could certainly be extended!


· What are your dreams for the FTDL’s next ten years, and where do you see it in the future?

For the Fundación Teatro del Lago, one can only wish that it may succeed in establishing sustainable systems, models, constellations and structures during the coming ten years that enable it to have a long-term effect, and that is why we invite you to visit us. We have the transparency, the foundation, the vision, and we already have – as studies have shown – a major impact, an impulse for economic development! I think that the Fundación actually has a potential which is much larger, on the one hand locally and directly, but on the other hand also as a model for infrastructure development at the highest level! Thinking towards the future, I hope that we will be able to assist other initiatives throughout the world which are dedicated to a comparable mission, offering them counsel as a kind of “godmother” through a worldwide network of comparable institutions.


· How can one support the Fundación Teatro del Lago?

We, the Teatro del Lago team, are always grateful for any help and support! This might consist of merely coming to visit us in Chile, only to leave again – as I did – full of enthusiasm and telling all the world about the theatre. However, there is no point in denying that we can always use donations. All the students of the Escuela de las Artes receive a partial scholarship for tuition, almost half of them have full scholarships, and of course the instruments are also provided to them. The Teatro wants to engage the best artists for performances and master courses, new equipment must be bought, repairs must be made, and the list goes on. All that costs money. Details of how to donate can be found in this newsletter, on the website and – coming soon – also on our new website,