Rehabilitation of 19th-century theatres

Medal/Award in the category Conservation in the year 1994.

Dating of the building: 19th century.

Applicant: General Directorate of Housing, Urbanism, and Architecture.

Reason for the award :

For the restoration programme of 19th-century Spanish theatres by the Ministry of Public Works in collaboration with regional and local authorities.

Europa Nostra awarded in 1994, Year of the Theater in Europe, the recovery of more than sixty 19th-century theatres, distributed throughout the National territory.

Industrial development in 19th-century Spain had as its main consequence the rural exodus, the growth of cities, and the enrichment of a new social class, the bourgeoisie, as well as the setting up of a new model of city with its extension and its characteristic buildings. Of them, apart from the casino and the athenaeum, the theatre, a symbol of the new wealthy bourgeoisie, takes on particular importance. It is not surprising, therefore, that most of the theatres were built between 1860 and 1910.

With the advent of the cinema in the 1930s, the theatre lost much of its original glamour, and cities with only one theatre often ended up being relegated to a movie theatre. The decline of many of these theatres increased alarmingly from that moment onwards. Then, first, the Ministry of Public Works in 1983, and later, the Ministry of Culture between 1985 and 1992, with the collaboration of local corporations and autonomous communities, launched campaigns to recover 19th-century Spanish theatres. The result of these intense campaigns has been the recovery of more than sixty, distributed throughout Spanish territory. By 1994, the European Year of Theatre, thirty-nine theatres had already been rehabilitated and reopened.

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