The companies Taules Teatre and La Garnacha Teatro share the Max Amateur Award 2019

With several decades of experience and numerous awards in their curricula, they have become two reference companies in the panorama of Spanish amateur theater

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The organizing committee of the Max Performing Arts Awards has granted the Max Amateur or Social Character Award 2019 ex aequo to companies Taules Teatre of Pinoso (Alicante) and The Garnacha Theater of Logroño (La Rioja). The first celebrates four decades of uninterrupted activity. Forty years, since its premiere in 1979, during which it has made more than sixty productions with which it has toured throughout the Spanish geography and, even, by different international festivals, from Mexico to India, and that have earned them to harvest more of a hundred awards. The committee of the Maxs has wanted to emphasize especially the role that the company has developed as a cultural promoter throughout the province of Alicante and, by extension, of the Valencian Community, and its permanent commitment to a theater amateur of great quality and committed to the reality of its environment.

Also veteran is La Garnacha Teatro, which since its creation in 1983 has established itself as a reference company in the amateur stage scene, both for its numerous awards and the rigor of its proposals, and for showing the consolidation of a cultural project in the one that practically continues the same team from its beginnings. In addition, this group has been the driving force of the Garnacha National Theater Competition of Rioja Haro, aimed at amateur and professional companies, which this year reaches its 22nd edition and has become the most important competition in its category of how many are held in all Spain.

On May 20, the director of Taules Teatre, José Antonio Pérez Fresco, and that of La Garnacha, Vicente Cuadrado Palma, will go on stage at the Calderón Theater in Valladolid to collect their respective awards during the gala of the XXII edition of the Max Awards for Performing Arts, organized by the SGAE Foundation with the collaboration of the Valladolid City Council and the Universities Foundation and Superior Teachings of the Junta de Castilla y León.

"Receiving the Max Amateur has meant, in addition to immense joy, recognition of a whole career of forty years," explains the director of Taules Teatre. "Four decades during which we have not ceased to release and rotate a single year, always wanting to grow and achieve maximum excellence. You can say that we are already an institution in our region, "he adds. In similar terms, the head of La Garnacha Teatro, Vicente Cuadrado, highlights the "immense joy" that this award has been for the entire company. "It has been something quite unexpected. The highest award we could aspire to, "he says.

Taules Teatre: 40 years of passion for theater

The passion for theater is what undoubtedly defines the work of Taules Teatre. This is the only way to understand the enormous involvement of the members of this company in a project that has been growing at the same rate that its audience was doing, and that, despite its own vocation amateur, aspires to offer a professional quality product to the spectators. "We are very demanding with ourselves, but also our public is more and more. People value our effort and the quality of our assemblies, and, in fact, of the nearly eight thousand inhabitants that our municipality of Pinoso has, around two thousand attend our representations regularly, "says José Antonio Pérez Fresco.

There is an anecdote that the director of the company recalls and that, somehow, portrays the members of Taules Teatre: "The Catalan writer and playwright Jaume Serra i Fontelles, with whom we maintain a magnificent relationship, he wrote for us Refugiats i fugitius, which we premiered in 2009. The work is about a group of people who every night take refuge in a station without trains to share stories with which to try to escape from everyday life and the monotony of their own lives. Serra told us that this is how he saw us all and, in reality, this story is a metaphor that defines us perfectly. The theatrers are very rare people "laughs Pérez Fresco.

The origin of Taules Teatre dates back to 1979, when a group of young people, moved by the euphoria of the Transition and the nascent democracy, decided to create a cultural association that, among other initiatives, soon launched with great success a film club and a theater group. The projections lasted five or six years, the theatrical activities, however, gained momentum and have not stopped in these four decades. "The company lasted because from the first moment the venom of the theater was permeating all of us. And in our audience. We managed to give life to a town away from large populations, in addition to offering cultural alternatives to our young people, so that they could be integrated and participate, "says the theatrical director. In this line, the training work that Taules Teatro has been developing since the early 90s has been particularly relevant, through the creation of a Municipal Performing Arts Workshop for girls and boys, which years later was transformed into a Theater School that currently has with almost a hundred students of all ages and from all over the region. "Over the years, we have made children and adults consider the theater as an essential aspect for their development. From our school, in addition, professionals from the scene have come out. All this feeds us, renews our enthusiasm and passion for theater, "he says.

The director of Taules Teatre, finally, points out two milestones in this long trajectory of the company. On the one hand, when in 1989, coinciding with the tenth anniversary of the theater collective, the Casa de la Cultura de Pinoso was inaugurated. There they found a suitable space to rehearse and represent their shows in conditions, which led them to "take the leap and face much riskier productions". Already in the 90s, on the other hand, when the theatrical competitions began to proliferate all over the country, the members of Taules Teatro saw there a possibility of undertaking new challenges and continuing to grow. His passion, again, was reinforced and recognized with numerous awards, more than a hundred since then, and with the jump to the international scene, participating in the Indian Theater Olympiad and in the Revolt Festival of the Mexican State of Durango. Acknowledgments to those who now add the Max Amateur Award 2019, which, in the words of José Antonio Pérez Fresco, will serve to provide "added value and new doses of passion to the company." For many years.

La Garnacha Theater: the dream of the theater

With almost forty years of history behind it and a spectacular curriculum, La Garnacha Teatro is considered one of the most prestigious amateur theater companies in Spain. The figures support it: its components have staged around forty works (currently, they have eight different productions in their repertoire) and add more than 350 awards in national competitions (and, among them, a total of 66 first prizes) . Also, as they like to point out, the company keeps four of its founding members in its ranks. "It seems like a dream," says the director of the theater group, Vicente Cuadrado Palma. "We never imagined that we would travel and get to know the entire Spanish geography, its gastronomy, its culture, its landscapes, doing what we like the most and finally reaching a recognition as important as the Max's," he adds.

The adventure began in 1983, when a group of students from the I.E.S. Brothers D'Elhuyar of Logroño joined together to, simply, "make theater". Since then, those young people have grown, but they say they keep their enthusiasm intact for the scene and, although they have been integrating new members to the company during the journey, they still prefer not to talk about generational relief: "We are still young and would like to continue with This project is the same as we started it, along with those who have joined us to make this story that we are passionate about and to which we have dedicated so many hours of dedication during all these years possible. "

They also keep intact that kind of motto that has guided them on their way: "We make theater to do theater". So, without more. Cuadrado explains: "We have always considered that the most important thing for us was the fact of doing theater, without this vocation could serve as a source of income for any. Therefore, La Garnacha has dispensed with the subsidies and never any member of the company has charged anything for their activity. Everything that is generated is reinvested in the group itself. " In this way, the theater collective has been adding each season new productions to their history, increasing their level of demand and avoiding prejudices. "We have represented all kinds of genres: comedy, tragedy, classical and avant-garde theater, children's theater, musical theater … And from works by emblematic authors, such as William Shakespeare, Albert Camus, Dario Fo or José Zorrilla, to classics of the Riojan theater as Manuel Bretón de los Herreros or contemporary playwrights like Alfonso Sastre and Ignacio García May"

In 2006, La Garnacha Teatro received a nomination in the Max Awards, in the category of Revelation Show, for The night of Madame Lucienne of Copi, under the direction of Angel Facio. "It is the only time that we have been directed by a professional, although it adapted to our group philosophy, but we had to renounce the nomination because it was not a professional company," says Vicente Cuadrado Palma. On May 20, however, the head of the company can go on stage to pick up a statuette at the gala of the Max. "By residing in a small community like La Rioja, where there are also very few theaters, the contests have allowed us to travel and make our work known throughout Spain. In a way, the prizes are the seeds that constantly renew our illusion and allow us, in addition, to finance new assemblies and initiatives ".

Some of those projects parallel to the company is, for example, the National Garnacha Theater Contest that since 1998 organized in the town of Haro. "The contest has a phase for amateur companies and another for professionals. It is a risk and, in fact, at first we thought it would not work. However, more than two decades later, the festival is fully consolidated and is a reference in Spanish theater, "he concludes.

Three special prizes

Organized by the SGAE Foundation since 1998, the Max Awards, whose prize is designed by the poet and artist Joan Brossa (Barcelona-1919/1998), promoter of one of the renewing collectives of post-war Spanish art, have been consolidated as over these years as the broadest recognition in the field of Performing Arts in the Spanish State, reaching a growing number of followers and arousing the interest of companies of all types and throughout the national territory.

These awards, whose next edition will be broadcast live at 8:00 pm on TVE's La 2, celebrate 23 years of keeping their three special awards: Max honor award, that this year has distinguished the figure of Concha Velasco as a pioneer of Spanish musical theater; the Max Amateur or Social Prize, which includes projects in favor of integration and social projection and amateur companies with an outstanding contribution to Performing Arts; and the Max Public Award, which will be granted to the show that has obtained the greatest number of votes from the public through the online application #VotaMax. .

The Organizing Committee of the 22nd edition of the Max Performing Arts Awards is composed of Ana Graciani, president of the SGAE Foundation; Pilar Jurado, president of the SGAE; the dramatists Juan Luis Mira, Paloma Pedrero Y Óscar Castaño 'Garbitxu' (president of the Territorial Committee of SGAE in Euskadi); and the members of the School of Great Law of the SGAE Eduardo Galán, Yolanda García Serrano and the choreographer María Pagés.

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