Teatro Circo Español, Barcelona

On April 16, 1892, the Circo Español Modelo was inaugurated in Barcelona. It was the first theater on Avinguda del Paral·lel. The Gran Compañía Ecuestre, Acróbata y Gimnástica, directed by D. C. Llop, a theater businessman, performed there. In the performance: Miss Leocadia performed with trained cockatoos, ‘El Puente Roto’ by the Llop brothers and the eccentric musicians Miguel and Evaristo.

As early as 1893 the structure was renamed Teatro Circo Español. The director was Manuel Suñer, who introduced theater and zarzuela with great success. It was a large theater, with a wooden structure, in the manner of a large hut. 21 of May of 1907 caught fire and was destroyed.

In its place a new theater was constructed, the Gran Teatro Español, known as the Teatro Español. It was build by the owner of the land, Josep Terrés, to designs by the architect Melcior Viñals. It opened on November 27, 1909. It featured French vaudeville and zarzuela. The popular tragicomedy ‘Baixant de la Font del Gat or La marieta de l’ull viu’, by Amichiatis and Gastó Màntua, premiered here in 1922. The theatre worked together with the popular Café Español until 1980, when it closed down.

A New York Style nightclub named The Studio 54 was the new tenant and maintained most of the structure. Studio 54 lasted only a little over a decade and was demolished in 1997. It was taken over by Josep Maria Callís, owner of the Hotel Auto Hogar, with the aim of setting up a spectacular restaurant, Scenic Barcelona. This place remained open for just over two years and closed in 2001 due to lack of profitability.

Now owned by the municipality, the building was leased to the General Society of Authors and Publishers, which in 2006 announced that it would turn the theater into a cultural center where theatrical performances, musical performances, courses, training workshops, conferences and cultural activities in general would take place. The new space opened in 2010 under the name of Artería Paral·lel. The performance hall, in the old theater hall, hosts to between 900 and 1,500 spectators.

In 2012 the management was taken over by ‘TheProject’ and the theatre again changed its name; it is now (in 2021) called BARTS, Barcelona Arts on Stage. But due to the fire of 1907 there is nothing left of the original Teatro Circo Españo that once stood here.

image courtesy of Piet-Hein Out, The-Circus-Collection.Com