A new musical based on Spanish Civil War International Brigades to be premiered in London

‘Goodbye Barcelona’ will be on show by the end of the year in London. It will be premiered the year of the 75th anniversary of the International Brigades’ creation, the foreigners who came to Spain to defend the Republic against the Fascist uprising.

CNA / F. Javier Rodríguez Baena

April 5, 2011 11:56 PM

London (ACN).- By the end of the year, London will host the premiere of a musical about the International Brigades that took part in the Spanish Civil War in defence of the Republic. The musical, 'Goodbye Barcelona', intends to convey the spirit of struggle of thousands of foreigners who joined the Republican Popular Army to fight Fascism. Its premiere will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the creation of the International Brigades. 'Goodbye Barcelona' was presented in London recently at an event where the public could hear some snippets of a production. Historian Paul Preston and writer Victoria Hislop participated in the presentation event.

'Goodbye Barcelona' tells the story of Sam, a young Englishman who, during the war, falls in love with Pilar, a woman from Barcelona whose family was killed by the Fascists. Sam's mother, worried about her son, also travels to Spain to find him, and ends up working as a volunteer nurse for the Republicans. The work is a project by director Karl Lewkowicz and the writer Judith Johnson, and contains many references to real personal stories of survivors of the British Brigades.

During the presentation of the event, the historian Paul Preston said the Brigades showed “the cowardice of the British government. They made it clear that the British government was putting its class prejudices ahead of strategic interests. Through the policy of non-intervention, which prevented the Spanish Republic from buying weapons to defend itself, the British, the French and the American governments did more than Hitler and Mussolini to ensure the victory of Franco”, said the historian. In this sense, Preston affirmed that “any event to remember the volunteers” must be held. “The volunteers really believed that the Spanish Civil War was the time to fight Fascism and defend democracy. This spirit also resonates today and we have tried to communicate it in our work”, said Lewkowicz at the musical’s launch.

The premiere will be held in December at The Arcola Theatre in London. The production has the support of the Catalan Government Office in the UK and the Spanish Embassy, ??as well as the British Arts Council. The project began back in 2005, when its directors held interviews with volunteers and specialists from the Civil War. The first draft texts were presented in the summer of 2009 to a small audience, but in December 'Goodbye Barcelona’ will be presented on the big stage with actors, musicians, costumes and contemporary staging.