The Performing Arts in Madrid
The capital has the best performing arts programmes and shows in the country and there are over a hundred theatres and venues, big and small, dotted around the city.
The best way to know what's going on and to search out a pleasant night's entertainment, is to get hold of a copy of Teatro Madrid magazine (a recent issue is shown right). Published monthly, you can find these in the public foyers of all the theatres - so when you're strolling about and come across one, and you will, simply pop-in and pick up a copy from a rack. It's free, it's handy size and it fits easily into a pocket.
Teatro has all the listings for every single show in town, plus interviews with the luvvies, acting news, show reviews and a neat little guide to restaurants and bars for post / pre show sustenance. All in Spanish mind so you may need a dictionary.
If going to a show, bear in mind that Madrileños tend to start their evenings a little bit later than 'normal' people, but tubes and public transport run later too.
- Plays and 'performance art' are a particular passion. The 'big shows' from Broadway and the West End will often end up in Madrid - as Madrid-Uno writes Mel Brooks' The Producers (Los Productores) has just started a run - and there are regular festivals and playwright showcases. Any time of year a full range of theatrical styles is available; from classics, to modern, to foreign, to farce, to musicals and to the Spanish version of Commedia dell'arte which they call Zarzuela. There is even a company that focuses purely on Chekhov plays and Chekhovite adaptations. Perhaps the most important theatres are:
Teatro De La Zarzuela - Jovellanos, 4
Teatro Español - C/. Príncipe, 25
Other important theatres include:
Galileo Teatro - C/. Galileo, 39
Nuevo Teatro Alcalá - C/. Jorge Juan, 62
Teatro Albéniz - C/. Paz, 11
Teatro Bellas Artes - Marqués de Casa Riera, 2
Teatro De La Abadía
Teatro Nuevo Apolo - Tirso de Molina, 1
Teatro RESAD - Avenidad de Nazaret, 2
Street Theatre seems to be popular too. If you walk around the touristy central parts long enough you will usually find yourself accosted by strange people acting out odd scenarios. A good recent one was a bunch of spacemen from another planet who moonwalked about La Latina inspecting everything they found as totally new and foreign and speaking to each other in a strange language. At least I think it was street theatre... A good place for kids to go in the summer is Retiro park where clowns and entertainers put on shows in the late afternoon.
- For modern drama comedy a good place to look is the Corral de Comedias Alcalá which is famed for its productions of Pinter / Beckett / Ionesco etc. For the more slapstick stuff try the Alfil Theatre which is managed and run by a drama company called Yllana - good for younger audiences especially; very irreverend. For stand-up comedy places it's the usual suspects - large bars and clubs with an integral stage. Look out for fliers advertising nights. Paramount Comedy nights take place all over the city and have a monthly feature at a lovely little theatre on C/. Hermosilla called La Chocita del Loro, which is the premier comedy club in town and also features magic shows.
- The Compania Nacional de Danza is based in Madrid and attracts leading principal dancers from around the world. Madrid's own company is the Ballet de la Communidad de Madrid Victor Ullate and a well recognised independent is Compañía Dani Pannullo for modern stuff. And, of course, don't forget the strong Flamenco / Ballet tradition which, while emanating mainly from the south of Spain, has a strong following in Madrid.