Did you know that London has a theatre dedicated exclusively to the best of Spanish and Latin American drama? If not, this month’s world premiere of Guillem Clua’s The Swallow (La Golondrina) – with performances in both Spanish and English – gives you the perfect excuse to see for yourself. Here’s a pre-cursor to your visit to SE1…
The Cervantes Theatre is (almost) brand new. Located eight minutes walk from Waterloo Station and three minutes from Southwark Station in the Old Union Arches off Union Street in Southwark, just a few arches down from the Union Theatre, it opened its doors in November 2016.
The Cervantes is the proud creation and permanent home of the Spanish Theatre Company (STC), a charity which aims to bring the best Spanish and Latin American theatre to London and to British audiences, thereby promoting Spanish language dramatic arts. It stages a combination of STC productions and performances of Spanish and Latin American plays from other companies.
Purpose designed, the Cervantes features a 75-seat air-conditioned auditorium, plush seats and a welcoming bar, all under its reclaimed railway arch. The theatre has been described by audience members as ‘intimate, almost like a private performance’, ‘worth visiting in its own right just to see the fittings’ and ‘with the friendliest staff on the fringe’.
It has also excited directors who love the flexibility the auditorium offers, with a stage in thrust format and interesting possibilities for managing entry and exit.
The Cervantes Theatre is led by artistic director Jorge de Juan with associate artistic director Paula Paz, both of whom have directed critically acclaimed productions there since its opening: Jorge with Lorca’s Blood Wedding (Bodas de Sangre) and Paula with Juan Mayorga’s Darwin’s Tortoise (La Tortuga de Darwin). As is the trademark of the Spanish Theatre Company, each production is performed three nights a week in Spanish and three in English with separate casts.
Since it opened, the Cervantes has presented a wide variety of work from Latin America and America and Spain with full productions of Cervantes’ The Judge of the Divorces and Alberto Conejero’s The Dark Stone, two festivals of Latin American writing and a sold-out Flamenco festival.
Currently on is the first annual cycle of New Spanish Writing sponsored by Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), which culminates next week with the world premiere of Guillem Clua’s The Swallow (La Golondrina) , running 25 September to 14 October 2017 – for news and rehearsal photos, click here – which is followed by a new production of Lorca classic The House of Bernarda Alba (La Casa de Bernarda Alba) from 23 October to 2 December 2017.
More details of the theatre and its current programme can be found at www.cervantestheatre.com.