Historical atlas of Spanish stage

Messrs Corea and King have probably by now forgiven some youthful stumbles and my funk trombone career is about to be relaunched, so I’ve started taking a slightly greater interest in stages. There are lots of interesting ones round here, but I like the ones on this Cordoba University site (via Libro de notas) even better. As in other parts of the world, early theatres were adapted from other buildings, and so we could once have gone to shows in (Spicy) Pork Sausage Hall (Valladolid, 1575), Fruit House (Toledo, 1576), and Coal Hall (Granada, 1588). (I don’t know how to translate corral; think “rodeo” if that helps.)

This tradition of multifuncionality and improvisation continued in rural Spain until quite recently, so that in the 40s one still finds entrepreneurs laundering money with homemade bull and circus rings built of stocks and carts. (The current meat market in Vilafranca del Penedès is only on the site of the old municipal theatre,which doesn’t really count.)

(Going off track, it would be interesting to know a bit about the staging used in Australian convict theatre. Robert Jordan’s The Convict Theatres of Early Australia, 1788-1840 apparently includes fascinating anecdotes “such as the discomfiture of the three-times-transported and utterly outrageous Henry Herring, the man with the silver nose, whose prosthetic adornment flew off as he attempted a violent gesture during a performance as Shylock.”)

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