The noble and ancient city of Almagro in Castilla-La Mancha, Spain, celebrates every year a theater festival that pays homage to the baroque legacy and the Spanish Golden Age, presented in a contemporary milieu: the International Festival of Classical Theater in Almagro. Held from July 3rd to the 27th, the entire city seems to be immersed, day and night, in the performing arts.
Those who want to explore this beautiful Spanish town, featured in the adventures and misadventures of Don Quixote, will enjoy the sights and streets that evoke the time of Cervantes. Not to be missed is the excellent Castilian-Manchego cuisine in its restaurants, and to stay, the centrally located Parador de Turismo, a building that was a convent in the 16th century and is now a luxury hotel with lovely courtyards and bright galleries. (Other cultural locations to visit in Spain: Úbeda and Baeza and Soria)
But Almagro is much more than a charming city. Every year, more than 40,000 theater fans come together to enjoy unforgettable renditions of plays written by classical authors— both Spaniards and foreign— represented in the same beautiful stages where nobles, knights and common people of the time saw them.
With 8,000 inhabitants, Almagro is renowned as a Historic-Artistic Ensemble. In 1954, the corral de comedia (a sort of comedy theater unique to Spain) was discovered there, a landmark baroque building that hosted theatrical performances during the 16th and 17th centuries, and is today the best-preserved building from Spain´s Golden Age. Alongside the corral de comedia is the medieval Plaza Mayor or Main Square, which is today the city’s center of activities. Both sites are part of the 16 scenic areas that each summer hold this great event. Works by Calderon de la Barca, Lope de Vega, Molière and Shakespeare are represented in unique spaces such as churches, Renaissance courtyards, museums, squares and chapels.
This year, during the festival’s 37th edition, 52 theater companies will come together–41 Spanish and 11 foreign–featuring 58 different plays in 98 performances. The audiences will be delighted in soul and spirit with the verse drama of the period, with works like El Caballero de Olmedo, Fuenteovejuna or El perro del hortelano by Lope de Vega; Donde hay agravios no hay celos by Rojas Zorrilla; The Imaginary Invalid by Molière; Dido, Queen of Carthage by Christopher Marlowe; and Hamlet, Othello and Twelfth Night by Shakespeare, among other wonders of classical theatre.
In addition, during these days, Almagro also offers outdoor concerts, workshops, exhibitions, courses and children’s theater. ■