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'Catalan theatre is recognised and appreciated abroad', says playwright Josep Maria Benet i Jornet

The Catalan dramatist was in London for the UK première of 'Desire', directed by Julia Stubbs.


21 July 2010 07:03 PM


Laura Pous / CNA

London (CNA).- Catalan theatre is on show in London. Director Julia Stubb presented in the White Bear Theatre of the British capital the English version of 'Desire', written by Catalan playwright Josep Maria Benet i Jornet. The Catalan writer welcomed the production and talked about the increasing presence of Catalan theatre around the world. “People abroad are just as interested in Catalan theatre as they are for Castilian productions from Madrid”, said Benet i Jornet in an interview with CNA.

Catalan theatre “exists” and is “recognised” in Europe and all around the world, according to writer Benet i Jornet. He thinks that Catalonia is being “discovered” as a cultural and political entity with its own personality and specific characteristics, and that art plays an increasingly remarkable role in that. Theatre from Catalonia is seen by foreigners as “special somehow”, because of its “quality, modernity and complexity”, said Benet i Jornet. “People know that we represent a small and especial world”, stated Benet i Jornet.

According to Benet i Jornet, the last 20 years have been crucial for the international recognition of Catalan theatre as something with its own identity. Catalan theatre has grown-up abroad as the consolidation of democracy in Spain has liberated Catalonia and allowed it to get out and express itself to the world. From Benet i Jornet’s point of view, this has coincided with the existence of a solid and good group of Catalan authors with very ambitious artistic aspirations.

The writer confessed that it has not always been easy for Catalans to export their literature abroad, especially considering that Catalan culture has been sometimes “hidden”. “Some people did not understand why I wanted to write in the Catalan language”, said Benet i Jornet. “But they do now”, he added.
“Catalonia is being discovered with all of its consequences. Sometimes this annoys people, some get irritated, but others support and recognise it”, he stated. According to Benet i Jornet, foreigners are aware of the “diversity” within the Spanish state. Catalonia, said the writer, does not represent “a folkloric diversity, but a cultural diversity with a specific personality”.

Julia Stubbs, director of 'Desire', said that Benet i Jornet writes “fantastically” about people's lives in a “cross-road”. Stubbs discovered the play 10 years ago and could not forget about it. “There are occasionally plays that you come across that stay with you for a very long time. Their themes resonate within you”, she said.

'Desire' is a play about four people in their forties that have to fight against their secret and more passionate desires to discover what they want to do with the rest of their lives.



  • Catalan writer Josep Maria Benet i Jornet

  • 'Desire', by Josep Maria Benet i Jornet and directed by Julia Stubbs, is being represented in London

  • Catalan writer Josep Maria Benet i Jornet
  • 'Desire', by Josep Maria Benet i Jornet and directed by Julia Stubbs, is being represented in London