August, a month of opportunity for Barcelona's small theaters
Maldà, Sala Versus Glòries, Teatre Gaudí, Eixample Teatre and Teatreneu are the only venues offering plays and shows over the summer
Everything traditionally shuts down in August for the summer, but it also provides an opportunity for some of Barcelona's theaters to attract people with some time on their hands who might otherwise be seduced by the Catalan capital's other attractions.
Maldà, Sala Versus Glòries, Teatre Gaudí, Eixample Teatre and Teatreneu are among the city's few theaters that this year have decided to remain open during August, and the decision seems to be paying them dividends.
"We decided to take the risk. For us, the benefits have far outweighed the costs, because we have reached a new audience," Marina Marcos, manager of the Maldà theater, tells the Catalan News Agency (ACN).
"It's important there are cultural activities"
While many leave the city in August, there are always some people left who need things to do. "If you want to stay in Barcelona it's important that there are cultural activities to do," says Marcos, who has opened the Maldà theater every August since 2014.
At that time, only the Teatre Gaudí stayed open in August, but the risk proved to be worth it for Maldà. "We get a lot of new people and that is super interesting for us, as it opens up another door," Marcos adds.
With July dominated by the annual Grec theater festival, the Maldà theater closed last month, re-opening this month with 'Peter Pan', a show that is bringing in a lot of families who do not normally come during the rest of the year.
"It's the best month of the year"
The Sala Versus Glòries opens all year. "It's the best month of the year. There aren't any festivals or theaters open, so the offer is much reduced. You get people spending a fortnight in Barcelona who have never been," manager Jofre Blesa tells ACN.
Last year the theater sold out its major events and hopes to repeat the success this year with two comedies, the premiere of 'El funeral de la Mary-lin' and the return of 'Separacions'. "You have to put on a comedy or something attractive," says Blesa.
Many find the theaters online, through offers on Atrápalo, as the range of options is less and so they stand out. "It's people looking for opportunities. We're surprised because the public is totally different than what we normally get," says Ever Blanchet, manager of Teatre Gaudí.
Visitors to the Gaudí theater will also find a comedy, 'Tancats'. Blanchet thinks that in Barcelona there is a section of the theater-going public who only go to certain venues, such as the Lliure, TNC or Romea. "Politicians never come to a small theater," he says.
"Everyone complained there was no theater in summer"
It was the wish to attract new audiences, such as young people, that first led him to open in August in the early 2000s, when he was running the Sala Versus. "Everyone complained that there was no theater in the summer," he recalls.
Blanchet says that the theaters that open in August are the ones that get less public funding. "We have to sell tickets. As long as you don't get it wrong with the content you can sell a lot. It creates audiences that did not exist," he says.
Meanwhile, the Eixample Teatre is trying its luck this August with 'Pijames, la comèdia' and 'Sex escape' on Fridays and Saturdays, while the Teatreneu is also open all month with its popular 'Improshow' and shows such as 'Màgia Kids', '¡Ay coño!' and 'La hora de la verdad'.