El Prat opens a theater after 12.5 million € investment

Thursday, 28 March 2019

José Polo - La Vanguardia

The cultural space, which will collaborate with the local associative fabric, is co-directed by Cristina Alonso and Cèsar Compte

Something more than a theater. L'Artesà is one of the most emblematic places of El Prat de Llobregat. Built in 1919 by the modernist architect Antoni Pascual, it was one of the cultural axes of this city of Baix Llobregat until the late 80s of the last century. In 1988, already rented by the City Council, its activity ceased due to the structural deficiencies of the property.

More than three decades later it reopens its doors from this weekend after 22 months of works. It will not be as before, because only the elements cataloged and protected by their heritage importance (cafeteria, lobby, patios and two facades) are preserved, which irritated numerous neighbors, who requested a more extensive conservation, when the project was announced.

But the City Council decided that the old theater could not be preserved as it was because it was ambitious with an equipment of the s. XIX, which this Thursday has been presented to the press. It is awesome. It has 5,283 square meters dedicated to theater, dance, music and the circus. The Consistory has invested 12.5 million euros in times where it is difficult to see bets of this caliber in the cultural field by public administrations.

 “We have designed a first level theater in an existing building. It is not just a theater, it is a cultural center that has been redefined to open it to the public, ”explained the architects of the play, Manel Bosh and Joan Forgas. The large room has a capacity for 611 spectators and there is also a more modest one for 160 very flexible people that will be “multifunction”. In addition, three rehearsal spaces have been built - one specialized in dance - and the theater has been connected to the bar, whose patio is a citizen meeting point.

"We have made flexible equipment," added the architects. In this way, the installation is prepared to host different types of shows and activities. From large events to small ones through training courses.

And it is that transferring the idea of ​​conventional theater, the project of the new Artesà is based on three aspects: the exhibition, training and creation. The three will have the collaboration of the large associative and cultural fabric of this municipality of 64,000 inhabitants. The idea is to act as an irradiating core of the culture in El Prat, beyond programming. "It was a historic debt of the City Council with the city," said the Director of Culture of the Consistory, Rafa Milan.

The equipment is co-directed by Cristina Alonso and Cèsar Compte, who won a public contest that was held last year. “This is a window that runs away from the unique concept of exhibition, it will be open every day. We are really asking citizens what side of the stage you want to be on? ”Compte said.

"It is a very transformative project, with itineraries of artistic experimentation with schools," said Alonso. "We are interested in the process, the practice, not just the final product," said Alonso.

 Although according to Rafa Milan, the “local, national and international production” is committed to the new Artesà is born with a premise: the maximum price of all the shows will be 15 euros. To program, the co-directors have an annual budget of € 350,000 per year.