Head to Laroles, Las Alpujarras, July and August for a series of events. Here is the Me Vuelvas Lorca programme and a little history.
This is the brainchild of Anna Kemp who lives with her family in Madrid and has a holiday home in Laroles in the Alpujarras in Granada. The project is refurbishing and bringing to life several old threshing circles in the village and turning them into an open-air space for theatre and perhaps other events. Spain Buddy is proud to have been involved and has visited the open air theatre in Laroles where Anna’s dream was born.
At the end of the summer 2012, on the verge of returning to Madrid, Anna Kemp was admiring one of the many panoramic views around and about the Alpujarras area. When she was growing up, Anna had spent several summer holidays near the Minack Theatre in Cornwall, and had always found theatre (and the whole ritual around watching a play there – sleeping bag, cagool, picnic, queuingup for a seat…) magical and the figure of the woman (Rowena Cade) who had the crazy idea in the 1930s and went ahead and built the things anyway, very inspiring. Anna suddenly thought that day, “We don’t have the Atlantic in the Alpujarras (just a glimpse of the Mediterrean in the distance) but we do have stunning panoramic views… and it might just be what the area needed to bring a sustainable tourism interested in more authentic experiences.”
The idea buzzed around in her head for a few weeks and then one day, she zipped off an email to the mayor of Laroles outlining the vision. He wrote back to say that he had made it his policy over the years to consider every idea that landed on his desk. And the idea went from there.
Anna looked at various sites, but the threshing circles stood out. These are magestic spaces, have an oral tradition of improvised songs sung during harvest associated with them (which Anna loved the idea of) and they were close enough and accessible to the village to make it “sensible” in terms of electricity and access etc. They had to restore the threshing circle, which had all but disappeared under decades of mud and had collapsed in places. This was achieved thanks to a grant from the Junta de Andalucia, and work was carried out by one unemployed member of every family in the village. This meant the money got shared out and the town had a real mixture of people working: from housewives to builders to lads of 17.
The skills got passed from those that knew how to work the stone (the local drystone walling is a real art) to those that didn’t. The move away from the more modern style of renovation and back towards the more traditional methods used to build the agricultural banks in the area was something pushed for from the beginning. It was initially a struggle: considered more laborious and less appealing (modern) by locals… until they saw the result. Now they look at the theatre with pride and as a thing of beauty. Anna did a lot of winning over with cakes that summer though!
From March to May of 2013 Anna and her extended team renovated the stage.
In 2014, it became a theatre: the mayor found the money for five rows of seating and we did a crowdfunding campaign to build two more rows (250 seats in all) and to buy some temporary flooring to lay on top of the cobbles so they could have a flat area to work with.
Building: March to July 2014. They inaugurated that August with a weekend of shows and concerts: author Chris Stewart talked about his experiences as a foreigner in a spanish community, a company from Madrid created a Lorca piece, there was a jazz concert and an improvised theatre show. In 2015, the project was given money by diputacion to build the much needed steps up the sides (to make the theatre useable) and up to a second threshing circle which is used as a bar area, plus a storeroom and toilets. It feels much more like a theatre now.
The first edition of the festival was in 2015: four weekends, seven shows. This year, five weekends, eight shows.
The second edition of the ‘ME VUELVES LORCA’ theatre & music Festival
The festival represents a new phase in the life of Un Teatro Entre Todos, the award-winning social development project that aims to revitalize a lesser known area of the Alpujarra mountains in Granada through culture and sustainable tourism
Sudbury Dramatic Society, Tribueñe Teatro, Alberto San Juan, Las Migas and Jamming Compañía are some of the artists taking part.
From July 16 to Aug. 13 in Laroles, Granada
ME VUELVES LORCA: A tribute to Federico García Lorca
Me Vuelves Lorca, which takes its inspiration from the figure of Federico García Lorca and his passion for taking culture to the rural areas of Spain, will celebrate its second edition this summer. Tribueñe Theatre, Sudbury Dramatic Society, Alberto San Juan, Julián Ortega, Las Migas and Jamming theatre company are among the artists and companies taking part in this year’s Festival, which will run for five weekends.
This summer, the Festival will join in this year’s celebration of the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Cervantes and Shakespeare as well as commemorating the 80th anniversary of Lorca’s death.
Tribute to Lorca on the 80th anniversary of his death
- Saturday July 16th. The House of Bernarda Alba, by Federico García Lorca. Tribueñe Theatre (Madrid)
Federico García Lorca finished writing The House of Bernarda Alba in June 1936, just two months before he was shot. In 2016, 80 years after his death, award-winning Madrid company Tribueñe brings their acclaimed production of this intense drama, directed by Irina Kouberskaya and Hugo Perez de la Pica, to Laroles.
- Friday, July 22. Tango bajo las estrellas. Osvaldo Jimenez (Argentina)
After a long career that has taken him to some of the most prestigious tango festivals, Argentinian tango singer, guitarist and composer Osvaldo Jiménez will perform a selection of tangos and the songs and poems of García Lorca.
Homage to Cervantes on the 400th anniversary of his death
- Saturday July 23rd. Despertando a Cervantes: MC. Manco y de la Mancha, by J.P. Cañamero (Extremadura)
2016. Cervantes awakes 400 years after his death…. A modern tragicomedy that explores Cervantes’ life through the people that shaped him and the characters of the masterpiece he doesn’t know he has written.
Tribute to Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death
- Saturday, July 30th. The Tempest in English (W. Shakespeare). Sudbury Dramatic Society (United Kingdom)
Many consider The Tempest to be Shakespeare’s farewell to the theatre. The Sudbury Dramatic Society presents their site-specific production created specially for the occasion. A group of 10 actors and musicians will bring this work to life through music, physical action, visual images and, of course, the language of the author.
La Voz Secreta: conversations between an actor and his audience
Weekend of monologues
- Friday, August 5th. La Tigresa y otras historias, Dario Fo (Madrid)
Three comic monologues with the underlying political and social message characteristic of Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo. Performed by Julián Ortega (Winner of the AGORA 2010 Award) and directed by José Antonio Ortega.
- Saturday, August 6th. Autorretrato de un joven capitalista español.
Alberto San Juan (Madrid) Alberto San Juan, founder of the theatre company Animalaro, presents his solo piece which he wrote and directed and which gives his entertaining, often critical, vision of Spain’s politics and history.
- Friday, August 12th. Las Migas in concert (Barcelona)
This inspiring, all-female modern flamenco quartet has been shaping the world of flamenco since 2004. With their own vision of flamenco which draws on latin, folk, jazz and even classical music, they have taken part in some of the most important music festivals in the world. Now they bring their new show to Me Vuelves Lorca, a fascinating blend of Flamenco and Mediterranean styles that combines singing and dancing, classic and contemporary rhythms, and melodies that range from powerful to passionate to playful.
COMEDY & IMPROVISED THEATRE
- Saturday, August 13th. Jamming Show. Jamming Compañía (Madrid)
Once again, we pay tribute to the local tradition of singing improvised songs about daily life during the long hours of work on the corn threshing circles with a night of improvised theatre. The show has already been seen by 1,000,000 spectators and Jamming is the first impro company in the world to take part the International Festival of Classical Theatre in Almagro.
- Friday 29th and Saturday 30th July. Shakespeare Unplugged . Two days of theatre workshops in English. Sudbury Dramatic Society (United Kingdom)
A behind-the-scenes look at Shakespeare’s last play for students of english and drama alike. Two days of workshops and discussions with actors and director of The Tempest in the stunning natural surroundings of the Alpujarra mountains and the chance to watch The Tempest in English in the spectacular, community-built open-air theatre of Laroles.
- Saturday, August 13th. Jamming School. Improvisational theatre workshop. Jamming company (Madrid)
Jamming Compañia share the improvisation techniques they use in their shows in a one-day workshop aimed at boosting creativity, improving confidence, teaching listening skills, and techniques for working as a team on stage.
More information and tickets:
Tlf: +34 649420681