Photo by Antoni Bofill
Kiddy Classics 2
Things to tell your friends at the next parent-teacher meeting:“My children just loved the opera we saw at the Teatre Liceu last weekend!” And you won’t be joking.
The Petit Liceu is a Barcelona-based programme that stages a season
of classical ballet, theatre, and opera in a format that is geared
towards educating while entertaining some of the city’s youngest population.
It is a collaboration between the Liceu’s music, artistic, and
production departments and the local educational services, and is
one of various social programmes that were created to attract people
who might not usually come to the opera under normal circumstances.
Making opera interesting for children may sound like a massive undertaking
but Carme Trobalon and the rest of the Liceu’s production
department are more than up to the task.
Carme is responsible for Education Services under the Production
Department of the Teatre Liceu. The education programme has been
in place since 1983, when the theatre was still a private institution.
But after the theatre became publicly owned in 1997, the board of the
Liceu felt that they were duty-bound to create more programmes that
would serve the community. This includes programmes such as the
Petit Liceu, which was launched in 2004.
“It’s almost obligatory to create educational programmes for children
and young people if you really want to both serve the public and
get them involved with what you’re doing,” says Carme. Our goal was
to get closer to the community through education. So far, it’s working.
We work with the directors of individual productions to make sure
that there’s a clear educational purpose, besides being entertaining,
of course. We try to think about the social impact that the productions
Petit Liceu puts on eight to ten productions every year. The 2012-
2013 season includes adaptations of The Barber of Seville, William
Tell, and The Musicians of Bremen. Besides the Teatre Liceu, the productions
are also being performed at L’Auditori de Cornellà and the Teatre-Auditori de Sant Cugat.
The production department usually coordinates with the artistic director
or with external producers to choose which works to adapt for
children. Sometimes the final production is significantly different from
the original play or opera, but Carme notes that, “other times, it’s surprising
how easy it is to adapt a work that’s traditionally thought of
as highbrow. It’s important to keep the productions short enough to
hold a child’s attention span—maybe an hour long—and we use bright
colours and fun costumes, but we always make sure that we maintain
high quality in terms of content and production values.”
In spite of the economic crisis, the Petit Liceu still receives strong
community response. This includes the current season. Families come
on the weekends, and schools bring groups of students during the
Yet, the programme has had to tighten its belt in recent years. The
budget has shrunk significantly. “We have to be more specific with our
goals and more selective with the projects we take on. In the past, we
could afford to play around a bit more, take more risks, and put on
more elaborate shows,” Carme explains.
Economic concerns haven’t stopped the Petit Liceu organisers from
looking to the future. Carme, her boss, her staff and the other departments
are constantly creating and collaborating on new programmes
for children, young people and university students. One of the newest
is an outreach project that is aimed at blind children, to be launched
some time in 2013. Carme says that the Teatre Liceu “plans to continue
to expand the children’s productions as well as the workshops we
put on; in short, to keep doing what we’re doing, to the best of our ability.
Our goal is to keep an eye towards the future, and to never forget
that we’re doing something important by introducing local children to
the world of live theatre and of art.”
For the complete schedule and ticket information, go to: