The Grec Festival of Barcelona is an annual summer festival celebrating theatre, dance, music, and circus. It dates back to 1976 when a group of actors and directors got together and decided to arrange a summer season at Teatre Grec de Montjuic, with the objective of bringing more independent and experimental theatre to the city. Within just a few weeks they had managed to organize the entire line-up, and since then the festival has taken place every year.
In 1979, after the first democratic local elections, the festival organization was taken over by the Barcelona City Council who opened the festival to include productions from other countries and increased the number of venues as well as the amount of private sponsorship. At this point the Grec Festival became a firmly established event. This year, which will be the 34th edition, promises to be just as varied and exciting as in past years. It will take place from June 17th to August 1rst tickets will go on sale starting in May.
The Grec Festival has been directed by Ricardo Szwarcer since 2006. Szwarcer is originally from Argentina and was chosen by the Barcelona City Council because in addition to his outstanding experience as a director he has also worked in many different parts of the world. The Barcelona City Council hoped that the direction of Szwarcer would make the festival more international, and in this sense Szwarcer has clearly fulfilled their expectations, making it a priority to include groundbreaking productions from all over the world along with local productions.
Today, the Grec Festival is one of the most important events on Barcelona´s cultural calendar. The main venue is still the Teatre Grec de Montjuic but it also includes other sites and venues including the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya and L’Auditori. Venues not normally used for theatre have also been included, such as the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) and the Fundación de Joan Miró, which is something that makes de Grec Festival of Barcelona particularly unique.
As in past years, the festival will include both local companies and companies from abroad, and this year particular attention will be given to Asian theatre, music, and dance. The world renowned Taiwanese company Cloud Gate Dance Theatre has already been confirmed, and will be performing Wild Cursive, a dance testimonial to Chinese calligraphy which is sure to be a hit with anyone who enjoys contemporary dance.
Very appropriately, the festival will open with Prometeu, directed by Carme Portaceli. Prometeu, by Heiner Müller, is a montage of various Greek myths and includes the actress Carme Elías as well as live saxophone music by the composer and musician Dani Nel∙lo.
Dunas, a dance project combing flamenco and contemporary styles is creating a buzz. It unites Moroccan-Belgium dancer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and the flamenco artist Maria Pagés. It is a cultural and artistic exchange uniting flamenco and Arabic music in which the two dancers´ roots coincide in a desert setting. It will be set to music composed by Szymon Brzóska and Rubén Lebaniegos.
On June 17 the Grec Festival and Sónar, two of Barcelona´s greatest festivals, will united for Noche Grec-Sónar, which was proposed by the Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda. It consists of a light show involving a series of columns of lights which will be seen from all over the city. The same night, at the gardens of the Teatre Grec, Ikeda will present her latest audiovisual show, test pattern.
Also highly anticipated is The Venus of Willendorf, a dance production by Iago Pericot which uses movement to reflect on different themes such as love and violence. This year´s festival will also include a commemoration of the independence of the Latin Americans from Spain in the theatrical montage Bolívar, fragments of a dream. Others which have been confirmed by the Grec Festival include performances Dumb Type, an artist collective based in Japan that combines visual arts, theatre, dance, and music, and Carles Santos, a pianist from Valencia.
The Grec Festival has something for everyone, from children to seniors and traditionalists to innovators. In fact, in order to make the festival accessible to as many people as possible it will include free shows and discounts for seniors, students, and those receiving unemployment benefits.
If you plan on being in Barcelona this summer you should make it a point to visit at least one of the Grec Festival performances. With such a wide variety of performances and venues the most difficult thing will be deciding which one to attend.
For more information on performances, venues, and ticket sales visit www.barcelonafestival.com or call 34 93 316 10 00.