The Plaza Mayor, historical centre and hub of the social, economic and cultural life for the inhabitants and visitors of the town of Almagro, has been used as a performance space by the Almagro International Festival of Classical Theatre since its second edition in 1979.
Located in the centre of the old town, it marks the confluence between the main communication axes and therefore it has always been the main focus of all kind of activities. During the Festival, the Plaza Mayor is a magnificent meeting place for the theatre professionals participating in the Festival, the vast audience, the inhabitants of the Almagro and for the Festival staffs itself.
The architectonic structure of the square of medieval origin, with its arcades and corridors, started to take its present shape at the end of the 15th century, but it underwent remarkable transformations throughout the 16th century coinciding with the arrival of the Függer family, dynasty of bankers and merchants of German origin and subjects of the Emperor Charles V, who leased them the mercury mines of Almadén. During their stay, new buildings were erected in the main square and in particular the introduction of the beautiful glazed galleries, with their characteristic green colour, reminiscent of the buildings of northern Europe, is a clear evidence of their presence in Almagro.
The works of restoration of the square began in the 60s and lasted until 1967, directed by the architect Francisco Pons-Sorolla, who gave to the square the appearance it has nowadays. The square has an irregular rectangular plan, measuring 104.5 by 37 meters. The eastern side is dominated by the elegant ashlar-stone facade of the Town Council but the most unique asset of the Plaza Mayor are probably the harmonious set of houses arranged on arcades over two floors, located on the larger sides of the square.
In its widest part, formerly called the ‘acera de la umbría’ (shadow sidewalk), stands the majestic adorned door that gives entrance to the Corral de Comedias, built in 1628 on the former site of the inn Mesón del Toro, by its owner Leonardo de Oviedo, native of Almagro.
During the month of July, the Festival builds an extensive stage, between the garden area at the back of the square and the Maestral Palace, now housing the National Theatre Museum, which allows gathering a large number of spectators -up to 5000- to attend the various performances on stage from the square and also from the windows of the upper galleries.
Thanks to the Festival, the Plaza Mayor of Almagro has hosted many national and international shows: it has seen in its starry sky the aerial acrobatics of Don Quixote and has made vibrate its cobblestone pavement with the eternal verses of the classic authors, combining live music, theatre, dance, horses and magicians. All these artistic universes have illuminated with baroque light the “heart of Almagro”, a unique, noble and scenic open air space.