- Created in 2006 and made up of students and teachers, the group writes and performs free adaptations of theater classics
- Following the lockdown, it premiered an original online work and has also produced three short films
The Elisava Theater Group is an artistic and educational proposal born in 2006 with the aim of channeling all the creativity of a design faculty like Elisava. Created by the actor, theatre director and school teacher Ferran Utzet (who was joined shortly after by the stage director Joan Yago), the group offers training to all those students and members of the Elisava community interested in the acting world and lovers of stories that invite reflection and self-criticism.
The group has remained active for fifteen years, always offering a quality educational theatre to the more than three hundred students who have been part of it. All of them, as well as the teachers and technicians, often recognised professionals of the Catalan theatre scene, work collectively to achieve a common goal: to teach and learn theatrical language, and to create a play every year. It is a process that goes far beyond interpretation, including aspects such as graphic images or scenography, a task they carry out in collaboration with the students of the Master’s Degree in Set Design for Theater, Cinema and TV.
Community, teamwork and interdisciplinarity
It is no coincidence that some of the most important schools of design and architecture in Europe during the twentieth century, beginning with the Bauhaus, had theatre classes in their curricula. And theatre is able to naturally combine music with acting and dancing, design of spaces with graphic design, project management with logistics and production, engineering with art, and so forth. It allows a large group of people to come together and generate complex teamwork dynamics from a playful and demanding point of view. A dynamic that forces us to refine creativity when solving problems, putting into practice so-called lateral thinking, "design thinking" or "problem solving", in addition to stimulating the feeling of belonging to a community and growing professionally and personally.
From rereading classics to online format and cinema
During its 15 years of existence, the Elisava Theater Group has adapted numerous classic works, always in its own way and providing a particular sense of casual humour that has become the brand of the house. Its personal rereadings include Dante's The Divine Comedy, Shakespeare's Hamlet and Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan, to name a few.
The Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected the performing arts sector across the country so much, has forced the theatre group to reinvent itself. "We wanted to stay active anyway," explains Mònica Molins, one of its managers. Thus, in 2020, after a storytelling workshop and numerous online rehearsals, they gave shape to the online work Amar en tiempos de cuarentena (Love in times of quatrantine), a 45-minute short film that was a great success. It was watched by more than 2000 people on YouTube the day of its launch.
Faced with this positive feedback, this past year they have ventured directly into film: "We replaced some acting classes with screenwriting classes and the students wrote, directed and professionally produced three short films." The resulting pieces, Fani, Señora and Parole, premiered in early October at a "gala" at Elisava's auditorium. This is another example of the tenacity and perseverance with which they face a new year full of new projects. "Thanks to the efforts of teachers and students, we have remained active during this strange season," concludes Molins. “We are currently trying to get the audience back, and at the same time reformulate the training in order to be able to include the knowledge we have acquired in disciplines such as cinema. We want to expand the theatre to new horizons, always maintaining a solid foundation of theatrical training”.
The experience of the Elisava Theatre Group from the inside
Alumni and teacher at Elisava
“Joining the theatre group was the best decision I made during my degree. It is a sentence that nowadays, as an alumni and teacher, I keep repeating to everyone I come across. Theatre is not only theatre, it also teaches you to have presence, voice, diction; to present your projects better. It teaches you the importance of rehearsal, of constancy, of dedication. But most importantly, it teaches you to work for the common good; a play is the result of months of coordinated and focused teamwork to create something we can all be proud of. Theatre is one of the best tools that a student (and more than one adult) can learn and use in their daily lives.”
Alumni, professor at Elisava and founder of Domestic Data Streamers
“Being in the Elisava Theatre Group was unexpectedly one of the best things I've done at Elisava. Firstly, because of the group and the cohesion built to carry out such a big project among so many people outside of their disciplinary area; beyond ages, courses and specialities; it's a truly integrative place in a university where there are few such places. Secondly, because of the tools it gives you, to make theatre is to create experience, to design everything. The tempo, the materiality of the scene, the gestures, the laughter, the narrative… You have control of it and, of course, you get much closer to the figure of the integrative designer that schools often look for. Beyond that, one pattern I've discovered is that almost all the people we've worked with at Domestic Data Streamers for more than 10 years since I left theatre still come from the Elisava Theater Group.”
Alumni and teacher at Elisava
“To me, the theatre group is about connection, community and growth. Connection with like-minded people who share interests and want to explore creativity from another angle. Community that goes beyond age and courses. A (very cool) group of people who help each other and share resources and experiences (ranging from knowing where to buy methacrylate to how to solve a project and to giving emotional support in some intense moments of the career). Third, growth. The evolution of the people in the theatre group goes in parallel with their evolution as designers and engineers, so they are two worlds that grow together and complement each other. Theatre gives soft skills such as teamwork, tolerance and presentation in front of an audience, and design comes back to theatre in the form of staging, posters, costumes, scenography and visual discourse. A tearful moment, but it's true: I personally cannot understand my experience at Elisava without the theatre group, and I am sure that today I am the professional and the person I am thanks to the theatre group. Anyone who has been part of it knows what I'm talking about.”