The young, social side of the Grec Festival, from My baby is a queen to Brundibár
The Grec 2017 Festival of Barcelona has many faces, some of them designed for younger audiences, to be enjoyed with the family or to transmit social and educational values. You will understand this if you come and see such shows as My baby is a queen and Brundibár.
My baby is a queen (Mercat de les Flors - Sala Pina Bausch; July 15 and 16), is a coproduction by the Grec Festival and La Petita Malumaluga, a company formed by Albert Vilà and Eva Casamitjana. You don’t know them? Well, this is the team that invented a show for babies, Bítels per a nadons (Concert tribut a The Beatles), a Beatles tribute concert that showcased their ability to thrill audiences around the world, even at highly demanding venues in Asia.
Vilà and Casamitjana have now created a new show. Entitled My baby is a queen, the piece revolves around ideas of seeing and being seen. This truly unique production is aimed at young and old alike, but be warned: in it, the spotlight falls on the audience.
However, one of the first events on this year’s Grec programme (at the Teatre Lliure - Sala Fabià Puigserver on June 30) will be an opera by the Czech composer Hans Krása. This is Brundibár (The Bumblebee), which Krása composed in 1938, shortly before he was interned in a concentration camp, and which he rewrote in captivity so that all the children interned with him could present it. Performing the opera enabled those young people to enjoy a little bit of normal life through artistic creativity at a time of extreme suffering.
In 1998, Brundibár became the centrepiece of a social, participatory project that turned Barcelonan children into singers and actors. This initiative was so successful that it has continued, in one form or another, even to the present.
And so it is that Grec 2017 will present a emotive experience that closes a circle with a new production of Brundibár, performed once more by children, but directed this time by some of the original young cast (now grown into adults) who took part in that first show.
This event is a community experience involving hundreds of children and teachers at the city’s schools, one that focuses particularly on such values as peace and tolerance. We can enjoy this opera performance thanks to the involvement in the project, originally launched by David Albet, of bcn216, a contemporary music ensemble; Comusitària, an organisation specialised in participatory projects; and Els Pirates Teatre.