On March 11th, I had the honor of directing the Spanish division of The League of Professional Theatre Women (LMPT) second gala in Madrid. It was called “DIRIGE – Mentorías a Escena”. DIRIGE was presented to general audiences within the Ellas Crean Festival and it was a huge success, more than 200 people were left outside queuing for returns!

The League of Professional Theatre Women – Spanish Division, that I founded and direct, has launched a Mentoring Program in which we pair a woman with more than 10 years of professional experience in theatre with another one that has significantly less experience. In this pilot program we have paired more than 60 women that are developing 30+ projects. This gala, DIRIGE – Mentorías a Escena, was created with the idea of showcasing three of those projects to present the whole Mentoring Program to the Spanish society. All of them felt the pressure of putting something on stage in an early moment of the process but I personally think that throwing theatre makers into a stage can always be turned into a really good experience. Both the Ellas Crean Festival and the Conde Duque Theatre put the best people they have to work with us, making out of DIRIGE a really enjoyable experience. I couldn’t be more thankful.

We started to set up the Conde Duque Theatre on Friday and it went beautifully. Cristina Santoro was our light designer and Alba Redondo our sound technician. They both did an amazing job.

Our host for the night, and vicepresident of the League of Professional Theatre Women – spanish Division (LMPT) Belén Santa Olalla rocked the stage!

Within the Mentoring Program and in order to create the first piece of the Gala, QUIMERA, The League of Professional Theatre Women – Spanish Division, organized a multidisciplinary laboratory in collaboration with the Circo Price. The laboratory was directed and guided by Neus Gil Cortés and Eva Redondo developing the project Neus is working on. QUIMERA will be fully developed and ready to tour by the end of the Mentoring Program.

The talented women who worked in the laboratory, with Neus and Eva, developing QUIMERA and then presented it at the gala were Lucia Bravo, Cristina Sánchez, María Zárate, Laura Jabois, Sarah Funda, Aranzazu Alonso, Ascen Caballero, Lola Acosta, Julia González, Lucía Passardi, Inma Gamarra, Natalia Moya. Thank you, ladies. You were all brilliant!

Our second piece for the evening was called EXTERNAL YOUTH and the team who developed it were Cachito Noguera, Marta Bascuñana and Loly Garayalde. Cachito and Marta are working together since the LMPT paired them within the Mentoring Program. Loly helped them directing the piece for the gala. The two women present the life of a girl through the milestones of her birthdays until she is forty years old. She undergoes a series of surgeries and body modifications in order to please everyone but her. We can’t wait to see this play fully developed.

Our third work in progress for the evening was the result of the work of the playwrights Velilla Valbuena and her mentor Laura Rubio Galletero, based on “Excentric Paganini”,  a musical project by Pablo Martos. It presents the story of Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma and Paganini. Within the Mentoring Program Laura Rubio Galletero is helping Velilla take care, not only of the dramaturgical development of the piece but of the historical precision of each single word. Inés Adán directed the piece beautifully.

We’ve got till the end of this article without mentioning Yolanda Dorado and you may wonder how that happened, well, she is the woman in the shadow who makes everything possible. Let’s shed some light on her now. Yolanda runs the LMPT with me and if we are growing at such a fast pace (from zero to 6300 members in less than a year) is because of her hard work. Thank you, Yolanda. It’s always a pleasure and an inspiration to work with you.

So getting back to DIRIGE, it was a beautiful evening, full of amazingly talented and professional artists, technicians, the theatre and the festival staff and more. Concha Hernández, María José Aliste, Raquel Provencio, Marc Bartolo, Álvaro Villahoz, Daniel Ramírez, Patricio Forrester, Sandra Dominique, Pilar Almansa, Conchita Piña… and so many more! I couldn’t be more thankful to all of them for making my job so easy and enjoyable. See you all soon!!

Pictures of the pieces ©Ellas Crean by Alicia Blanco

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