Teatro Español (Madrid)

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Template:Infobox Theatre Teatro Español ("Español Theatre" – former Teatro del Príncipe and Corral del Príncipe) is a public theater administered by the Government of Madrid, Spain. The prime location was an open air theater in medieval times where small venues and some theatrical pieces, which formed famous classical literature in later years, were staged. Its establishment was authorized by a decree of Philip II in 1565.<ref name="Teatro Espanol">Template:Cite web</ref>

The 18th century also marked the definitive consecration of Teatro del Príncipe, which had its own group of followers, the "chorizos," in constant struggle with the "polacos," who preferred the scenarios of the rival Teatro de la Cruz. By this time, Leandro Fernández de Moratín premiered La comedia nueva at Teatro del Príncipe. On 11 July 1802, the theater was engulfed by fire, to be re-opened five years later with the conclusion of the renovation work led by Juan de Villanueva.<ref name=Thomason>Template:Cite book</ref>

The current building, erected in Neoclassical style according to a design of Román Guerrero, was built between 1887 and 1895 under the direction of Natalio Grueso. In the foreground of the theater is Plaza de Santa Ana, built after the demolishion of a 16th-century Carmelite monastery.Template:SfnTemplate:SfnTemplate:Sfn The names of famous theater personalities are engraved on the façade, among them the name of Federico García Lorca.Template:Sfn


Teatro del Príncipe

The former Teatro del Príncipe, or Corral del Príncipe, was a theatre of zarzuelas acquired by the brotherhood Cofradía de la Pasión y de la Soledad on 9 February 1580.<ref name="Ayuntamiento de Madrid">Template:Cite web</ref> By the end of that year, Corral de la Pacheca was acquired by the same brotherhood, which also bought two other buildings from Álava de Ibarra, doctor to Philip II, and another sold by Don Rodrigo de Herrera. It was built from 7 May 1582 with opening on 21 September of the following year with a play by Vázquez and John of Ávila.<ref name="Ayuntamiento de Madrid"/>

The theatre consisted of a stage, costume room, bleachers for men, ninety five portable banks, a hall for women, balconies with iron railings or grilles, master channels and roofs covering the stands.<ref name="Ayuntamiento de Madrid"/> The courtyard was paved and an awning made to block the sun, but not the rain.<ref name="Ayuntamiento de Madrid"/> This original structure was maintained until 1735, when a new building, concluded in ten years, was erected by architect Juan Bautista Sacchetti in cooperation with Ventura Rodríguez.<ref name=RTVE>Template:Cite web</ref> At that time its name was changed from Corral del Príncipe to Teatro del Príncipe.Template:Sfn Later, the site became a theater of work which was one of the largest in the country. In 1849, it was transformed into the current Teatro Español,<ref name=Hemeroteca>Template:Cite web</ref> the only theater in Madrid really similar to an ancient open-air theater.

During the reign of Philip II, the City Council in Madrid established two permanent playhouses or "corrales". One was Corral de la Cruz and the other Teatro del Principe, both housed at Igelsia de San Sebastian. The fervor for theater plays among the population was so intense that two corral groups were formed, the "chorizos" and "polacos." The followers of the first group were Philip IV and Lope de Vega, and the second the "nobility." The rivalry between them was so intense to the extent of disturbing each other's programmes and closing theatres under the orders of Count Arnada, minister of Charles III.Template:Sfn

In the 18th century both theaters were demolished and rebuilt in Italian architectural style with modern facilities such as an expansive stage with mechanized operation and artificial lighting.Template:Sfn

Teatro Español

In 1825, under the direction of French impresario John Grimaldi, the theatre underwent a series of improvements such as lighting and props in both structural and artistic fields. By royal decree, Teatro del Príncipe changed its name to Teatro Español in 1849. Its capacity was of 1,200 spectators and the owner the City Council,<ref name=Lissorgues-Andreu>Template:Cite book</ref> leased by the Government of Spain. Under the leadership of Minister of Internal Affairs José Luis Sartorius, a new model theatre was installed with the staging of Casa con dos puertas, mala es de guardar by Calderon de la Barca, on 8 April 1849.<ref name=Gies>Template:Cite book</ref> The playwright Ventura de la Vega was appointed director of the theater. A year later he was replaced by Tomás Rodríguez Rubí, until in May 1851 the theater passed back to the management of the municipality.<ref name=Schinasi>Template:Cite book</ref> In 1860, actor Manuel Catalina became director of the theatre.<ref name=Tamayo>Template:Cite book</ref>

Between 1887 and 1894, the architect Roman Guerrero extensively renovated the theater in its present appearance.<ref name="Hemeroteca"/> The theatre reopened on 12 January 1895 with the play El desdén, con el desdén, with management via concession from the City Council by Roman Guerrero and then actress María Guerrero,<ref name="Hemeroteca"/> who staged works of Benito Pérez Galdós, the Nobel Prize of Literature Jacinto Benavente's and José de Echegaray's.<ref name=Lorenzo>Template:Cite book</ref> Guerrero retained the management of the theatre until 1909. Over the next two decades, the theatre was occupied under concession by successive leasers, including Jacinto Benavente himself, together with actor Ricardo Calvo,<ref name="Pedraza Jiménez">Template:Cite book</ref> with the commitment of devoting room to the Spanish Classical Theatre.<ref name=Vilches>Template:Cite book</ref>

Between 1930 and 1935, except for February and May 1931,<ref name=Vilches>Template:Cite book</ref> the theater was occupied by the companies of Margarita Xirgu, and Enrique Borrás, through which the works of Federico Garcia Lorca and Rafael Alberti premiered under the direction of Cipriano Rivas Cherif.<ref name=Gilabert>Template:Cite book</ref> In October 1935, the concession granted to them passed over to Ricardo Calvo's and Enrique Borrás' for a period of one year,<ref name="Diario ABC">Template:Cite book</ref> later revoked in March 1936.<ref name="Hemeroteca"/> During the period of the Spanish Civil War, the concession of the theatre was in the hands of actor Manuel González, who staged El alcalde de Zalamea on 28 March 1939,<ref name=Lorenzo>Template:Cite book</ref> the day the troops of Francisco Franco took Madrid.

After the war, Teatro Español underwent a major change in its legal status. It reopened on 15 April 1939, coinciding with the death anniversary of Serafín Álvarez Quintero. The ownership of the facility remained in the hands of the City Council, although the management was assumed by the Government of Spain. Between the end of the war and the mid-1940s, the concession of the theatre was handed over to the companies of Ana Adamuz, Nini Montian-Guillermo Marin, Fernando Díaz de Mendoza y Guerrero-María Guerrero López.<ref name=Oliva>Template:Cite book</ref> Under a ministerial order of March 1940, a national council of theatres was created with two sections: Teatro Nacional Español, staging classic authors, and Teatro María Guerrero. The season opened on November 13 of that year with La Celestina.<ref name=Carabantes>Template:Cite web</ref>

The organizational unit was in charge of the Ministry of Education of Spain and the National Ministry of Education until 1951, and the Ministry of Information and Tourism from then on. After ten consecutive years, the management of the theatre was in the hands of Cayetano Luca de Tena, until in 1954 the authorities handed over the administration to José Tamayo and his company "Lope de Vega," in which actors Carlos Lemos, Núria Espert, Adolfo Marsillach and Berta Riaza performed. During the years of dictatorship, literary milestones such as Historia de una escalera and the introduction of contemporary foreign authors such as J.B. Priestley and Jean Anouilh premiered at Teatro Español.<ref name=Ruiz-Nebrera>Template:Cite book</ref> On 19 October 1975, the theater was damaged by another fire.<ref name=García>Template:Cite book</ref> Its reconstruction continued until 16 April 1980, when of the premiere of Calderon de la Barca's La dama de Alejandría.<ref name="El País">Template:Cite web</ref> After a whole year of joint management between the Ministry of Culture and the City Council, headed by a board of directors, the theatre went back to the municipality of Madrid on 16 October 1981,<ref name="Hemeroteca" /> with the auditorium now accommodating 763 spectators. In 2005, the old cafeteria was transformed into a small room for small events, and since 2007, the theatre's management personnel also organize events at Naves del Español theatre, located in the cultural room "Matadero Madrid,"<ref name="El Mundo">Template:Cite web</ref> with the design of the theater rooms provided by French scenographer Jean-Guy Lecat.


Some of its directors included: Template:Multicol

  • Federico Balart (1890-1905)
  • Fernando Díaz de Mendoza (1905-1908)
  • Manuel González (During the Spanish Civil War)
  • Felipe Lluch (1940-1941)
  • Cayetano Luca de Tena (1942-1952)
  • José Tamayo (1954-1962)
  • Cayetano Luca de Tena (1962-1964)
  • Adolfo Marsillach (1965-1966)


  • Miguel Narros (1966-1970)
  • Alberto González Vergel (1970-1976)
  • José Luis Alonso Mañés (1979-1983)
  • José Luis Gómez (1983-1984)
  • Miguel Narros (1984-1989)
  • Gustavo Pérez Puig (1990-2003)
  • Mario Gas (2004-2012)
  • Natalio Grueso 2012





  • This article is based on the translation of the corresponding article of the Spanish Wikipedia. A list of contributors can be found the here in the History section.

External links