Els Joglars: combining avant-garde and popular theatre.
Els Joglars’ theatre productions combine two trends that rarely appear together: popularity while seeking to avoid conventionality. We are used to seeing the most interesting, unconventional experiments confined to a very small audience, just as when a theatrical genre is highly popular it is often because it follows a crudely commercial formula. Managing to reach a large audience with innovative works in terms of style and content has therefore been the company’s most remarkable achievement.
Els Joglars have maintained their critical style of theatre that directly addresses current issues. They were imprisoned for this reason and were court-martialed for performing a play, La Torna, in 1977. Even after this, when democracy was in full swing, various court cases and controversies arose due to other plays. The company thus gained popularity over time due to being one of the most critical and outspoken voices in Spanish society.
The history of Els Joglars is one of constant research and investigation and construction of a theatrical language that takes the school of classical mime as its starting point and incorporates every possible dramatic element. Its working formula is based on creative group work that entails a high level of personal and professional involvement, either corporately or independently. The company is clearly one in which work comes before all else; it follows a strict system and works full time, involving very long hours – all of which makes for a dynamic system of work that is constantly developing.
It would be impossible for Els Joglars to be original without dealing with their homeland and Els Joglars’ plays therefore always have a Mediterranean feel and recreate the age-old inconstancy, anarchy and individualism of the area. The Els Joglars rehearsal room, a geodesic dome in the middle of a forest 100 km from Barcelona, is the ideal observation room, providing a truly universal view of the ways of preserving power in various fields and areas. This is Els Joglars’ main theme and today, forty five years after the group was founded, this theme is being played out in thousands of performances of 34 theatrical works in over twenty countries in Europe and America. It is also the subject of television and cinema productions and various books and research studies on the company’s activities