The Festival of Almagro is currently considered the most important of its kind in the world dedicated to the theatre of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in the Hispanic world, known as Golden Age. The Renaissance and the Baroque meant a prolific period for Spanish culture and language. At this time, It was built an unique aesthetic and rhetoric vision of the world.

It is an unavoidable cultural event that takes place during the month of July in the monumental town of Almagro, which has been declared Historic-Artistic Site since 1972. Here is an unique Festival, held over 25 days at almost twenty different venues.Almagro is the center of Baroque thought, -a Natural Reserve of the Golden Age-, unique in its kind and with a diverse manifestations: comedy, drama, the ‘auto sacramental’, mysticism, picaresque, lyric, painting, music and the dance. All these expressions are added to the stage to move, entertain, subjugate, fascinate and make the spectators, coming all over the world, think about Calderón, Lope, Tirso, Sor Juana Inés and Fray Luis, as the main represents of our thinking and our theater.

The Festival is a place for performance but also a meeting hub for creators, professionals and specialists of diverse fields in Baroque theatre, like teachers, researchers, critics, directors, actors, producers, stage designers, playwrights, specialized journalists, technicians and managers. Being an international event and welcoming all kinds of audiences through its diverse programme, it brings together spectators of all ages from all over the world.

For its commitment to the past, the present and the future of the theatre in Spain, the Festival is a clear example of the evolution in the development of the performing arts. In each of its editions, the Festival strives to find new languages and to incorporate other artistic disciplines to represent – through the contemporary scene -the authors of the Baroque.

Throughout the Festival are organized around a hundred performances, several international meetings and various cultural and pedagogical activities held in different spaces and venues, such as squares, open-air cloisters or Italian-style theatres –perfectly technically equipped- as well as in multidisciplinary spaces, thus contributing to the revitalization of the urban space through culture.

The Festival supports and contributes to the preservation of traditions, highlights and promotes the historical heritage but also shows itself as an open window to new proposals, always from a perspective of excellence, thanks to which it enjoys worldwide prestige, becoming a leading cultural event at international level.

Objetives

Use siempre hacer
muchos actos de amor,
porque encienden y
enternecen el alma.

Santa Teresa de Ávila

Contests

International Almagro Off Contest

Created in 2011 to promote and support the new stage direction.

International Baroque for Children Contest

Family theatre shows with accessible language, since 2012.

History

How and when It all starts

The first Jornadas de Teatro Clásico Español (Spanish Classical Theatre Conference) were organized in 1978, promoted by Rafael Pérez Sierra, General Director of Theatre and Performances of the Ministry of Culture at that time. During those days of conferences and events, gathered in Almagro relevant figures of various fields of the theatre industry ranging from the critics to the poetic creation. The Conference was created with the aim of easing the gap between the theatre on stage and the academic sector, as well as to give continuity to the summer performances that took place in the Corral de Comedias; but maybe the main reason was to give a new revitalized image to the Spanish Classical Theatre and save it from being rejected by the audiences and the progressive critics.

Furthermore, the discovery of Corral de Comedias -a Golden Age playhouse declared Historical Artistic Monument in 1955- as well as its restoration between the years 1953 and 1962, were fundamental reasons to celebrate in Almagro the Jornadas de Teatro Clásico Español.

Alongside to the Conferences, three performances were programmed in the emblematic setting of the Corral de Comedias: ‘Medora’ de Lope de Rueda by the company of the Royal School of Dramatic Art of Madrid (RESAD), La estrella de Sevilla de Lope de Vega, directed by Alberto González Vergel and ‘El despertar a quien duerme’ of Lope de Vega, under the direction of Jose Luis Alonso, in addition to the ‘Las danzas españolas of the 16th and 17th and 18th centuries’, directed by Gregorio Paniagua.

The Conference and the performances turned out to be so successful that only one year later the Almagro International Festival of Classical Theatre was created.

A Festival and a town: Almagro

The main stage, where the shows were taking place continued to be the Corral de Comedias, but as of 1980, out of the 15 stage-plays programmed, five were presented in other venues.

The celebration of the 300th anniversary of the death of Calderón de la Barca in 1981, gave to the Festival and the Conference greater significance, becoming the backbone of the commemoration and attracting a larger number of spectators.

In 1982 the event started to take the shape it still has today, and it was considered the need of creating an authentic Festival organization, with a legal entity and an international recognition. A Board of Trustees is set up, a professional director is appointed for the first time to manage the Festival – César Oliva- and the event starts to be called the Almagro International Festival of Classical Theatre.

In 1984, the Festival eventually received a significant institutional funding with the creation of the INAEM and thanks to the commitment of José Manuel Garrido, the General Director of Music and Theatre at that time, and also thanks to the greater participation of regional and local institutions.

As a result of the backing received by the Festival and of the importance and popularity it was acquiring, the National Classic Theatre Company (CNTC) was established in Almagro, – inspired by the Festival- and with the purpose to continue regulating the staging of the Golden Age authors. From the first moment, the Festival and the CNTC shake hands, share common goals, mutual recognition and complement each other by working together with coherence and cohesion for the sake of the Classics.

In 1986 the project initiated by Adolfo Marsillach is consolidated and after two years of shows in the Cloister of the Dominicans and eight more performances in the stage set up in the Plaza of Santo Domingo, the CNTC establishes its summer home in the venue of the Hospital de San Juan in 1994.

Another cultural landmark that takes place thanks to the Festival is the creation of the National Theatre Museum. In 1989 Almagro is designated as the hosting location of a museum dedicated to the history of theatre thanks to the fact that the Festival was taking place in the town. Once the construction of the building located in the Plaza Mayor was completed, the museum opened its doors, coinciding with the 13th Edition of the Festival, under the direction of Andrés Peláez Martín, with a temporary exhibition dedicated to the Golden Age theatre in Spain. Since 2004 the Museum is located in the former buildings of the Palacios Maestrales.

Big steps in the Festival History

The 13th and 14th editions of the International Classical Theater Festival of Almagro, held in 1990 and 1991, were assumed by Francisco José Mayans as new director. In 1992, Spain celebrated important events and the 15th Festival of Almagro had a new director, Juan Pedro de Aguilar from Albacete. De Aguilar was the promoter of a new festival concept, which he carried out for the next three editions, what suppose the visit of 20.000 spectators average. Parallel activities were also promoted, such as book presentations, dramatized readings, the ‘Encuentros Internacionales de Almagro’, organized by José Monleón; or concerts of music bands in the Plaza Mayor, among other experiences.

In 1994, the National Classical Theater Company inaugurated its headquarters in Almagro, in Hospital de San Juan space. During 1995 various changes were made in the theatrical and cultural map of Spain, since the direction of INAEM changes, assumed by Elena Posa; Amaya de Miguel´s was designated as the new director of the Festival, and Carmen Alborch as new Minister of Culture. The organizational team of the 18th Festival was completely renewed. Among other professionals, Francisco Leal was hired, who assumes the technical direction. Nowadays Leal continues working for the Festival, as he has become an essential professional for the proper development of the event.

In 1997, the International Festival of Classical Theater of Almagro celebrates its 20th edition, with Luciano García Lorenzo as a director. He managed the Festival until 2004, coinciding with its 27th edition. At this time the days dedicated to the contest were extended, covering four weekends, in order to attract more public. In 1997, the Festival got incomes for 55 million pesetas and a budget of 35 million pesetas. Among other milestones, Luciano García Lorenzo encouraged dialogue between researchers, professors and creators of the performing arts, increasing the number of scheduled foreign companies and inviting young directors to participate. This initiative provided a contemporary look on the classics, in addition to creating the section ‘Trasnochando’, as different publications.

A total of nine prestigious directors have assumed the challenge, the commitment and the responsibility of running the Festival from its beginnings to the present day: César Oliva, Rafael Pérez Sierra, Francisco José Mayans, Juan Pedro de Aguilar, Miguel Amaya, Luciano García Lorenzo, Emilio Hernández and Natalia Menéndez.

A clasical Festival: Almagro alive

The Festival has progressively acquired an international character until it became a world class showcase for international companies and a wonderful opportunity for the Festival audience to see the finest stage-plays of a diversified map of classical and contemporary views on the Baroque theatre.

The creation of the Almagro International Festival of Classical Theatre Foundation in 2011, undoubtedly contributed to pursue this aim. The Foundation, apart from providing the Festival with an essential legal framework- that it never had – it enabled its participation in the international ambit and especially the co-operation with other national and international institutions, through the signing of collaboration agreements. On the other hand, the Foundation has created two international contests that are recognized today around the globe: the International Contest Almagro Off, -supporting young directors and contemporary adaptations using new languages and innovative way to approach the Classics-; and the International Contest Barroco Infantil, favouring the creation of stage-plays destined to young and future audiences.

A Festival and a theatre: The ‘Corral de Comedias’

In the most recent editions, an average of more than 50,000 people, come to the Festival every year to attend and enjoy performances, exhibitions, events and awards ceremonies or to attend workshops, conferences, meetings, or many other activities.

The Festival has carried out important works of rehabilitation and renovation of emblematic spaces of the city for the valorisation of its Historical-Artistic Heritage. Currently, these 19 different spaces are used for representations, meetings, exhibitions halls, workshops or other events. Thanks to the International Festival of Classical Theatre, the entire town of Almagro is transformed into a great world theatre stage, where every corner shines with baroque life and light, creating a blend of emotions, culture, wisdom and verses within its walls.

The Festival has been and continues to be a fundamental engine for the revitalization of classical theater. Its strength, its continuity and the upward line over last four decades have made this event one of the most emblematic and important in the world in its specialty, until becoming a reference and a meeting point referent for creators, scholars and audiences of very different ages, nationalities and concerns.

Comunitat Valenciana, guest of the 43rd edition

If the theater is the stage of the world, Spain has a history in which the art built a common identity. The language and the Golden Age poets and playwrights are the pride of the imagination and the proof that culture is the homeland where we find ourselves. The Valencian Community will be our guest this 2020. We will celebrate the V Centenary of the worldwide tour of Magellan as a metaphor of the Hispanic culture globalization.

Italia
2014

República de Corea
2015

India
2016

Alemania
2017

Colombia
2018

México
2019

Comunitat Valenciana
2020

Awards and tributes

The Premio Corral de Comedias is the award given, every year, by the Almagro International Festival of Classical Theatre, since 2005, to national and international figures, featuring a relevant artistic career within the world of the performing arts and in various fields or genres. In the previous editions have been awarded outstanding institutions such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Comédie Française, and leading theatre figures like Nuria Espert, Vanessa Redgrave, Francisco Nieva, Michel Piccoli, José María Flotats, Norma Aleandro, Declan Donellan, among others.

Moreover, each year the Festival pays a tribute to recognize the achievements and the dedication of public figures, teachers, directors, producers, artists, whose work and contribution to the universe of the Baroque artistic heritage has been fundamental and relevant to the development, study and dissemination of this cultural tradition. Protagonists of this tribute have been names such as José Nieto, Vicente Fuentes, Rafael Pérez Sierra, César Oliva, Andrés Peláez, José Tamayo, José Hierro, José Manuel Garrido, Javier Artiñano, Ángel Fernández Montesinos, among others…

Director

Ignacio García

In the front row of the Almagro International Festival of Classical Theatre Foundation since January, 1st, Ignacio García (Madrid, 1977) was selected by the Board of Trustees to direct the next five editions of the contest based in Castilla-La Mancha.

Graduated in stage direction by the Real Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático de Madrid he has been taking part in 14 of the 20 last editions of the festival as a director and a musical composer as well. During his career he received differents awards like the Premio José Luis Alonso for young directors which is confered by ADE (Association of Stage Directors of Spain) and the first contest of stage creation organized by the Teatro Real de Madrid.

His work as director and stage manager is remarkable, he has a wide knowledge about the Festival of Almagro and a long experience in promoting the Spanish Golden Age fund. He directed theatre shows based on the texts of Calderón de la Barca, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Antonio Hurtado de Mendoza, Francisco de Quevedo, Juan Del Encina, José María Rodríguez Méndez, León Felipe, José Luis Alonso de Santos, Ernesto Caballero, Max Aub, León Felipe and José Saramago, among many others, on stages, festivals and national theatre companies from Spain, Europe and Latin America.

He was incorporated in the Artistic Direction of the Teatro Español de Madrid and programmer of the Festival Internacional de Dramaturgia Contemporánea Dramafest of México. He successfully collaborated, among many others, with the ‘Gran Teatro Nacional de Perú’, el ‘Teatro Nacional de Bogotá’ or with the ‘Compañía Nacional de Teatro de México’.

The team

Deputy Director
Manuel Lagos

Manager
Esther Bravo

Technical Director
Francisco Leal

Communication and projects
Nico García

Programming Coordination
Teresa Pérez-Prat

Marketing Manager
Paola Villegas

Accountant
Inmaculada Saiz

Production Assistant
Yajaira Jimeno

Assistant Technical Direction 
Vicente Briñas

Venue Coordinator
Félix Montero

Head of ticketing
Marga Róspide

Group Manager
Delia Fernández

Press and Communication Assistant
Natalia Rodas

Graphic Design
Nerea García

Internships
Noelia Barrientos

Appreciations
Eduardo Aguilar, Instituto Cervantes, CELCIT, AECID y Museo Nacional del Pradombajada de España en Costa de Marfil

Last editions

The Foundation

We encourage you to know the objectives and activity of Almagro International Festival of Classical Theatre Foundation.

Programming by preference

We invite you to discover the programming by topics, so you can choose easier and right.