We first met Jorge de Juan (Cartagena, 1961) when we interviewed him a while back in 2014. Back then, he was telling us about his return to London and plans of setting up The Spanish Theatre Company in the capital…
“The STC are currently running a crowdfunding campaign which hopes to raise the £120,000 needed for the completion of this 90-seater space”
Fast forward two years and the STC is now a reality, with the theatre company seeking to raise the profile of Spanish theatre in the UK. “With the exception of Lope de Vega, Calderón, Tirso de Molina and of course, Lorca, our playwrights simply aren’t making it to the UK. Yes, you get the odd show here and there, but these are usually in one-off pub theatre type events which hardly ever run for more than a few nights”. That’s what actor/director De Juan told us back then.
He then went on to explain the importance of having a designated performance space; “Finding that physical space, a ‘theatre’ is crucial. It is from this space that you can project and carry out your vision for the future”
Now we’re in that future, with Jorge’s quest for this space edging ever closer through his ambitious dream of the Cervantes Theatre in London… a dream which is soon to be reality.
And this is all down to the way in which the STC has inspired London’s Spanish and Latin American artistic community into pursuing this shared vision of a platform from which to promote art and culture, working hand in hand with artists from both the UK and abroad, in both English and Spanish.
With backing from Southwark Council and National Rail, the STC has devised a construction plan for the Cervantes Theatre, to be located in Southwark’s Union Yard (just a few yards down from The Globe and the Old Vic, in London’s cultural centre, just south of the Thames). They are currently running a crowdfunding campaign which hopes to raise the £120,000 needed for the completion of this 90-seater space. These funds will be invested in electrical facilities such as heating and air-conditioning, as well as flooring, ceiling, seating and the purchase of technical equipment and mechanics, according to Indiegogo (the project’s crowdfunding platform).
The STC has a fantastic programme and has received support from a dedicated team of actors, directors, authors, musicians, set designers and technicians who are behind the project, each step of the way. A team who are prepare to work tirelessly in order to turn this dream into a reality. Most of the STC team and supporters are well known and loved by us such as Andreas Muñoz, Maite Jáuregui, Sofia Monreal, Jaime Menéndez Lorente, Olivia de Diego, Sergio Maggiolo, Rafael Gallardo, Lucía Espin, Mateo Rufino, Paula Parducz, Paula Rodriguez, Ana Inés Jabarés Pita, Nico Casal and Dolores Galindo to name a few. These talented individuals have really fought tooth and nail to bring Spain’s very own theatre to London… and with all the effort and passion they’ve put into it, they certainly deserve it!
They deserve, as do we all… this ultimate tribute to our culture. As actor Jaime Menéndez Lorente says in one of the Cervantes Theatre’s promotional videos; “London’s Spanish-speaking community is big enough to deserve its own specific space to showcase our theatre and writing talent”. The project is also backed by high-profile ambassadors including Nobel prize-winning Vargas Llosa, actress Aitana Sánche Gijón, English National Ballet director Tamara Rojo and the artist José María Cano.
Yet, financing is proving to be a real stumbling block for STC and its dream as despite being sponsored by various private firms (such as Porcelanosa and construction giant Maferman) as well as receiving a grant from the Spanish Embassy in London for its programme, the project simply isn’t getting the funding it deserves… and that’s not to point fingers at either the institutions or the big UK-based companies.
The STC’s programme, which is directed by De Juan and Paula Paz (STC creative director), has already featured a string of successful dramatic readings by writers such as Buero Vallejo, Jardiel Poncela, José Ramón Fernández o Ana Diosdado and is currently rehearsing ‘The Grain Store’ by Fourth Monkey, a drama school of which De Juan is the associate director.
This year, De Juan has already collaborated with the English National Ballet, as the dramaturg for one of the three performances in ‘She Said’, working alongside Chinese choreographer Yabin Wang. The programme itself, devised by Tamara Rojo, features three separated performances choreographed by women. The show ran in London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre.
We at BritEs cannot reiterate how important it is to get this theatre the funding it deserves. We are calling out to all the big Spanish companies to ask them to invest in our culture, by getting this project up and running… after all, this will be a theatre for us all!. It’s such as shame that we readily through an estimated €130m at printing new ballot papers for the coming election, yet we cannot spare this small sum needed to get social and cultural projects like this off the ground… let’s get funding! Be part of the history!
Cover image © Todd Manley
The Spanish Theatre Company is a non-profit organisation. If you would like to know more about the theatre company and its recent activities, visit the official website: www.spanishtheatrecompany.org.uk
Support Cervantes Theatre: http://www.spanishtheatrecompany.org.uk/?page_id=107