From July 15, the performing arts are again combined with the walls of the Aragonese fortresses in the fourth edition of Festivals of the Castles. Theater, music, magic… up to fifty performances make up a program with an important presence of Aragonese artists.
The castles are one of the most important treasures of Aragon. They tell our past and are living history of what has happened in this land for centuries. Every year they attract thousands of tourists who want to see these constructions up close, stroll through their rooms and feel part of the legacy they make up. But they have also shown that they can become a powerful stage on which to program concerts or theater performances. And that is precisely what Festivals of the Castles does: claiming the role of these spaces as venues for different shows.
This year the initiative celebrates its fourth edition, with the aim of recovering the pulse it had before the pandemic. In total there will be ten stages where theater, music, magic shows or humor will be programmed. As Toño Monzón, its organizer, explains, “some of the fortresses that could not open their doors in 2020 will reopen their doors and, in addition, new venues such as the castle of San Agustín, in Teruel, Fraga, in Huesca, and Alfajarín, in Zaragoza, will be incorporated”. The negative note is that of Monzón, since the temporary closure of its fortress after a collapse has meant that its participation in the festival has to be postponed until next year.
Between July 15 and August 29, ten castles of Aragon will host performances: in addition to the new additions, Valderrobres, Albalate del Arzobispo, Rubielos de Mora and Mora de Rubielos (which form the consolidated Festival Puerta al Mediterráneo), Illueca, Mesones de Isuela and Sádaba will repeat.
Aragonese arts and avant-garde proposals
This year’s program aims to maintain two of the hallmarks that this festival of festivals has defended since its inception: the commitment to Aragonese talent and opportunities for young artists, who have an opportunity here to put their proposals on stage.
As Monzón recalls, “the commitment to Aragonese creation has always been there. This year, of the 50 performances programmed, more than half are from our Community. And, as for new talents, there are many people who are doing new things and the festival has always brought them. This year, for example, there is a company from Madrid with a very modern version of Calderón de la Barca”.
Among the programmed artists we find, among others, in the musical section, Isabel Marco, O’Carolan, Aurora Beltrán, Nacho del Río with Beatriz Bernad or Delacueva. And as for theater, artists and companies such as Marisol Aznar and Jorge Asín, Teatro del Temple, Kulunka Teatro, Teatro Che y Moche, Nueve de Nueve Teatro or Rafa Maza.
The reduced capacity of 50% is maintained
As it happened last year, the stages located in the different castles of the three Aragonese provinces will see their capacity reduced by half. Toño Monzón assures that they have preferred not to increase it up to 75% to guarantee the best conditions, although he recognizes that, if the conditions improve, they could consider increasing the capacity at specific moments.
This limitation of public is also noticed, logically, in the collected box office, something that has prevented them from programming shows of great format. “Economically it is impossible, there are proposals that have had to stay in the drawer, theater, musicals… it is not the same to put 1,000 people in the audience than 500,” he regrets.
Festival complements the tourist offer
As its organizer explains, Festivales de los Castillos is an addition to the cultural program that different institutions organize around the Aragonese fortresses. “We are a complement, because most of the towns have their own plans of tourist dynamization. There are many activities, each village dynamizes its castles and we are the accompaniment or the incentive to keep things happening during the year”.
A spirit that is sublimated between the months of July and August, when the scenic offer wants to be only a part of a proposal of rural tourism: “We want to create the ritual of going to the theater at night and that during the day there are sports activities of nature, to visit the heritage of the villages and go to eat in them”, indicates Toño Monzón.
An offer that, every year, brings hundreds of visitors from inside and outside Aragon, who come to enjoy the show but also to know the cultural, natural and gastronomic heritage of the Community.