Welcome to the Festival of Spanish Theatre of London
The Festival of Spanish Theatre of London, or FeSTeLõn as it is also known, is an independent initiative with the aim of creating a cultural exchange between Spanish theatre companies and a British based audience. It was founded in 2013 by Mariví Rodríguez Quiñones, a lecturer at King’s College London, in response to the lack of Spanish theatre being performed in the English capital.
Since being founded the festival has brought theatre companies from Spain to London each year giving them the opportunity to reach a new audience. Over the past five years FeSTeLõn has been growing and gaining more and more of a presence in London, not only amongst Spanish speakers nor Londoners alone but also, as our surveys from FeSTeLõn 2017 have shown with over 15% of our audience having a first language outside of Spanish or English, the festival’s reach expands much further. Furthermore, with the use of surtitles the productions are also accessible to those who are hard of hearing. Through this, FeSTeLõn has been able to allow Spanish theatre companies to perform in their native language whilst also guaranteeing that all those interested in Spanish theatre, regardless of their knowledge of the language, are able to participate and enjoy the productions.
As well as the work it produces onstage, FeSTeLõn has also dedicated itself to introducing a collection of activities offstage to its programming. For example, each production at the festival hosts a Q+A session for the audience after one of their performances in order to strengthen the cultural interchange and understanding between spectator and performer. Also, all companies have the opportunity to give talks relating to their work, for example 2017’s companies held talks with topics ranging from theatre as a poetic space for reality and the role of humour as a tool for social intervention.
Moreover, the founder and director of the festival has also spent time with a local school this past year which has a high percentage of native Spanish speakers who have found it difficult to integrate into their new surroundings. Every week, she voluntarily held theatre classes and helped students create plays relating to their own lives, teaching them how to begin expressing themselves artistically. These projects show that the cultural exchange which FeSTeLõn hopes to achieve is not limited to what happens on the stage but actually goes much further than that. Since the very first edition of FeSTeLõn it has been presenting its audience with an exceptional mix of critically acclaimed theatre productions every June.