Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Spanish theatre a crumbling symbol of Tangiers' rich past  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 02/02/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) A century after it was built, the Cervantes theatre in Tangiers, once a symbol of the famed Moroccan city's cultural vibrancy, is derelict and risks disappearing altogether, eclipsed by flashy new developments.The 1,400-seat playhouse, just a short distance from the old port, is a masterpiece of early 20th-century Spanish architecture in the once-international city that in its heyday hosted a wealth of colourful characters and communities.But today the blue and yellow plasterwork and magnificent frescoes on the ceiling are crumbling, the dust-covered seats unoccupied since 1974, the year the curtains fell for the last time."You have to imagine how Tangiers was at the time. A census in 1919 registered a population of 40,000, including 26,000 Muslims, 5,000 Jews and 6-7,000 Spaniards," says Bernabe Lopez Garcia.Last month, the Spanish historian organised an exhibition to celebrate the theatre's centenary.But it was also a plea for help in restoring this cultural treasure, now more of a wreck at the end of a sidestreet, near to but also a world away from the new luxury marina being built on the city's Mediterranean seafront.

"It's like a theatre of shadows.... You make me come back, but I do so reluctantly, because each time I feel bad," says Rachid Taferssiti, president of Al Boughaz, an association dedicated to preserving the city's heritage."I find it sad that a multicultural space like this is allowed to fall into such a state."The building was commissioned in 1911 by a rich Spanish merchant, Manuel Pena, who dedicated it to his wife Esperanza Orellana, a passionate theatre-goer.Inaugurated in 1913, its history charted the Spanish presence in Tangiers, a city clearly visible from and sharing a tangled history with Spain.During World War II, the city was occupied by Spain from 1940 until 1945. Spanish forces in the city disliked the building's modernist appearance, and planned "to convert it into an imperial theatre in the neo-classical fascist style", says Lopez Garcia."Fortunately they didn't have the money."

The theatre's activity peaked in the 1950s, when the Spanish community grew to around 30,000.But the city on the crossroads between Europe and Africa, the Atlantic and Mediterranean has long captivated the imagination of foreigners and attracted a diverse mix of visitors.It was something of a Mecca for French painters in the 19th century, while a number of celebrated US writers settled in Tangiers after its designation as an international zone in 1923, notably Paul Bowles and William Boroughs.Artists who performed at the playhouse include legendary Italian tenor Enrico Caruso and Spanish-born opera star Adelina Patti, as well as Flamenco troupes and Arabic ensembles."The theatre group Al Hilal, composed of local Moroccan actors, played Othello in 1929," says Rachid Taferssiti, whose own father performed in various plays.Since it closed, the Gran Teatro Cervantes has been loaned to Morocco for a symbolic dirham per year (0.12, nine euro cents), while remaining Spanish state property, with the neighbouring countries unable to agree on a renovation plan."I think the Spanish government would like nothing better than to be able to restore it. But with the current crisis, it's impossible for them to address the issue," says Cecilia Fernandez Suzor, the director of Tangiers' Cervantes Institute, a Spanish cultural body.She admits the building is in a "pitiful state", adding: "If you want to redo it as it was in 1913, show us your millions!"On top of the cost itself, estimated at four million to five million euros, the theatre's location in a neglected corner of the city remains another obstacle."But you often find examples of a restored cultural site leading to the transformation of the area around it," Fernandez Suzor says optimistically. She suggests the theatre could also serve as a training centre for stage-related professions."We have our role to play, but the solution lies with the Spanish and Moroccan governments," says Taferssiti, pointing to the huge changes in the form of government-funded projects taking place outside Tangiers.Indeed, the authorities rarely waste an opportunity to publicise the planned economic transformation of Morocco's second industrial city, driven by a vast industrial development programme launched in September and expected to cost 1 billion.

 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Sep 1 2015 - Kuwait- KPC announces LNG prices for SeptemberKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) announced on Tuesday the new prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas products (propane or butane) for this September.Porpane will ...

 Sep 1 2015 - Kuwait- Verdict in Imam Al-Sadiq mosque blast case set for Sept 15thKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The Criminal Court on Tuesday set September 15 for issuing the verdict in the Imam Al-Sadiq mosque blast case.The blast rocked Kuwait late in June, killing 26 and ...

 Sep 1 2015 - Jordan- Gov't lowers prices of oil derivativesJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) The government on Monday decided to lower the prices of main oil derivatives as of Tuesday, September 1.According to the new prices, one litre of unleaded 90-octane ...

 Sep 1 2015 - Jordan- Government endorses electoral draft law.......1st addJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) Ensour underlined efforts of His Majesty King Abdullah II to promote democracy in the Kingdom, noting directives of the King included in the Letter of Designation and ...

 Sep 1 2015 - Jordan- Rise in temperatures over next two daysJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) A slight rise in temperatures is expected on Tuesday and Wednesday; but moderate weather conditions remain in the hilly areas, while it will be relatively hot in the ...

 Sep 1 2015 - Jordan- Border guards receive new 99 Syrian refugeesJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) A total of 99 Syrian refugees from various age groups, entered into the Kingdom through various crossing points during the past 48 hours, according to a military ...

 Sep 1 2015 - International meeting on Palestine Question to convene in BrusselsJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) An international meeting on the Palestinian cause will be held next week in Brussels under the theme "Israeli settlements as an obstacle to peace- possible ways ...

 Sep 1 2015 - Israel closes Beit Hanoun crossingJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) Israeli occupation authorities on Tuesday closed the Beit Hanoun crossing points northern the Gaza Strip barring the movement of people into and out of the enclave.The ...

 Sep 1 2015 - Palestinian meteorologists hail Jordan's efficient weather forecastingJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) Palestinian weather forecasters Tuesday hailed the accurate and professional work of the Jordan Meteorological Department (JMD), and its role in supplying many Arab ...

 Sep 1 2015 - Joedan- ASE starts on lower noteJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) The Amman Stock Exchange(ASE) on Tuesday opened trading with a drop to 2086 points from its yesterday's closure of 2097 points.The market index fluctuated in the first ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help