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Courtesy Barcelona International Comedy Festival
Séan Hughes is one of the star turns at the Barcelona International Comedy Festival
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Photo courtesy English Drama Festival
English Drama Festival
Put yourself on the stage with Barcelona’s first English Drama Festival
This month sees two English-language festivals take place, one a new kid on the block, the other already well-established—we compare and contrast.
BARCELONA INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL
This year sees the fifth edition of the Comedy in Spain-created festival dedicated to comedy performed not only in English but also in a variety of other languages, which this year are Catalan, Castilian, Swedish and Dutch.
The whole event was actually put at risk a few months back, thanks to the government’s decision to raise VAT on tickets to cultural happenings such as this from eight to 21 percent, but, as the organisers say, “we feel this festival was never as important to help break free of the gloom”, to which we respond with a loud “hear hear”.
Although the final line-up was still being prepared at the time of going to press, two major stars have so far been confirmed: Séan Hughes and Rich Hall. Other features include a return for the ever-popular Logan Murray comedy workshop and two special stand-up shows, including a free event from the Stand Up Comedy Kills (S.U.C.K.) group.
The other main news for this year’s festival is the BCN Funniest Ficer Award. With so many great acts (including Hughes, courtesy of the Perrier) gaining fame as a result of award initiatives, it’s probably no surprise that our city festival is launching its own amateur English-language comedy competition. There will be three initial heats, all with free entry (Stoke Bar, Saturday 29th; 7Sins, October 4th; Carders Public House, October 11th). These culminate in a big final (October 18th, Las Cuevas del Sorte) and the selection of a winner who will have the chance to take part in the festival’s Gala event alongside Rich Hall. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a comedy star, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to arrive by September 14th.
September 27th to October 20th. Various venues and prices. www.barcelonacomedyfestival.com
1st annual ENGLISH DRAMA FESTIVAL
The English-language drama scene in Barcelona has had its ups and downs in the past, with ad hoc performances put on whenever hard-working producers, directors and actors could manage it. But it seems that we are now in something of a boom time, with more shows being put on by different companies that explore varied aspects of the theatrical genre (this year so far we’ve had one-act plays, adaptations of classics, a musical and a murder mystery). And on the back of this success, this month sees the first English Drama Festival in Barcelona.
It brings together some of the leading lights in Barcelona’s current English-language theatre movement: Julian Wickham, the man behind the English Drama School, which is organising the festival, and husband-and-wife team Hunter and Georgina Tremayne, whose skills include directing, acting and writing. They have created a varied programme that offers different opportunities to get stuck in to the thrills, stresses and rewards of the theatre world.
For those who fancy the chance to get up on stage, there are both improvisation and comedy workshops available—the former will be followed by a performance of the show created during the class. If you prefer to be the person in charge behind the scenes, Hunter will be taking a directors’ masterclass, and will also join forces with Georgina for a class specially created for the younger actor, with a kids’ drama workshop aimed at nine to 12 year olds. If you don’t really have thespian aspirations, but are interested in developing your public speaking skills, there is a workshop that focuses on just that.
So, whatever your interests, this new festival is the ideal chance to let your dramatic side shine.
September 13th to 16th. English Drama Theatre, Nou de Sant Francesc 20. www.englishdramaschool.com