Tarrega - Res de Res & Circ Bover
If you’ve been in Barcelona long enough to think that the Mercè is passé, you need to get yourself to the Tàrrega festival. FiraTàrrega is an international performing arts showcase, held every year in the small, northern Catalan town of Tàrrega. It’s become an essential date in the diary of any self-respecting theatre producer, as priority is given to shows that have never been seen in Europe before.
A professional affair it may be, but FiraTàrrega is nothing without an audience. Most of the shows take place in the open air and although the quality can vary, if you do your homework you can catch some of the world’s best street performers without spending a cent.
This year’s programme is as exciting as ever. If you can, get there for the inauguration on Thursday to see Voalà Project perform ‘Muaré’, in which a group of acrobats dangle above the audience from a giant child’s mobile, in a choreographed display using the night sky as their backdrop.
Anything can happen during the festival and it usually does. Look out for the roving musical waterwheel of Factoria Circular and Catalunya’s own La Reial, who perform in a central shop window as jobless folk who put themselves up for sale like pets. See if you can be persuaded to buy them. Meanwhile, Kamchatka take over an old factory to send audiences on an emotive trip while exhibitionist clowns CIA H202H will be flashing their generously proportioned bits at unsuspecting passers-by.
This year, the Irish are getting in on the act with three highly-visual shows from the Emerald Isle. Search your programme for Dance Theatre Ireland (who combine movement, music and building blocks); Fidget Feet’s highly technical aerial show and Tumble Circus’s extreme street antics.
When you tire of pounding the pavements, there are plenty of indoor shows to choose from, be it dance, theatre, circus or music. Many of these you have to pay for but if there’s something you want to see, book ahead as performances fill up fast. There’s also a craft market and the thrill of rubbing shoulders with thousands of bohemian arty types from across the globe.
To get to Tàrrega there are buses and trains although it’s well worth booking in advance, as everyone who’s ever owned a set of juggling balls will be trying to get there too. The festival campsite is open from Wednesday 8th and costs €12 per person per day. Under sevens go free, it’s just €6 from Saturday. See their excellent website for more details.
September 9th to 12th