All posts, Órgiva and environs, Culture and buildings

High drama – a theatre in the mountains

Imagine sitting in the sunshine – or as the light fades on a summer’s evening – waiting in expectation for an actor’s voice, some music or dance. In Laroles, high in Las Alpujarras, one woman’s dream is taking shape: to build a performance space for all to enjoy.

Anna Kemp, who lives in London but regularly spends time in Spain, has gathered friends and helpers to build a stone amphitheatre on the site of an old corn-threshing circle. When finished it will have 300 seats and, like all projects, it has a series of targets: €10,000 builds the theatre, €30,000 gets it a bar/café (and helps fund an opening night) and €60,000 gets the project truly underway throughout 2015.

The project has attracted interest from, among others, local writer Chris Stewart and the manager of the Minack Theatre in Cornwall who, as Anna told us ‘likes the parallels with the story of Rowena Cade who built their theatre in the 1930s.’

Laroles theatre worker

Precisely what events take place is being worked on but Anna says: ‘We have the support of the Fundación Féderico Garcia Lorca and our intention is to start a Lorca festival with their support.’

Anna: ‘Our aim is an international – and Spanish – audience. We’ll welcome amateur and more local productions but in terms of revitalising the local economy and encouraging tourism, our focus is there. Once the theatre is built we’ll take some time to define its future, so I know we’ve made the best decision.’

It’s a big team effort. There’s a slate expert from Wales, a crowdfunder in Australia – and various people who run festivals all chipping in. Members of a group of international entrepreneurs in Madrid – Guiripreneurs – recently spent a weekend helping on site. Compañia Nacional de Danza de España have offered lighting equipment for some events too.

Laroles_theatre

Anna (who we’ve never met) spends time on Twitter promoting the cause, with tweets to people such as Leonard Cohen, Russell Crowe, Melanie Griffith and John Cleese (one idea is to have ‘named’ seats and even quotes so people can ‘read’ the theatre). And you too could be sitting on a rock in a hard place, enjoying some high entertainment in future years. Chuck the project some euros and there are various perks – like a seat for the opening night in August 2014.

As the fundraising website says: ‘When it’s finished, we’ll transform the summer into a cultural extravaganza and bring some sparkle to the local economy.’

It sounds like a fascinating project which we’ll report on as and when. In the meantime you can follow its progress – via Anna – on Twitter.

Here you can see the progress already made.

Related posts:

Goodbye, Paco de Lucía

Don Quixote – alive and kicking in Órgiva

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Discussion

8 thoughts on “High drama – a theatre in the mountains

  1. I met Anna last November when I attended a conference of Writers and Bloggers About Spain (WABAS) in Malaga. Her open-air theatre project at Laroles is an AMAZING project 🙂

    I was hoping to visit a few weeks ago, but couldn’t make it at the last minute. Hopefully soon 🙂

    Posted by Marianne | April 11, 2014, 9:02 am
  2. I visited Laroles (& Anna) last August for the inauguration of the stage – It’s a fantastic project. Laroles is an enchanting village and the whole village is supporting the project. I can hardly wait until August, when I return. (If you want me to pick you up on the way, just shout!) 🙂

    Posted by Sue Sharpe (@suesharpe1) | April 11, 2014, 12:06 pm
  3. What a brilliant project! Thanks for telling us about it 🙂

    Posted by Wendy Kate | April 11, 2014, 2:47 pm
  4. What a marvellous project!

    The Theatre Company in Mumbai opened a theatre retreat with a natural outdoor amphitheatre in Kamshet “Workshop” – we went for an all night performance as part of its inauguration last month. The funds predominantly came from the Indian theatre community… contributing over the years what they can.

    Best wishes to Anna and the project team! Good to see such initiatives!

    Posted by Every Day Adventures in Asia | April 12, 2014, 7:08 am

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