Rediscovering Spanish Musical Theatre: Exploring an Intercultural Adaptation of Copla
Prof. Maria Delgado
MA Music Theatre, The Royal Central Sschool of Speech and Drama
BFA Music Theatre, Illinois Wesleyan University - Exchange Program
BA Media Studies, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
ERASMUS Award Exchange at Université Paris VIII
My PhD explores the exchange between the Spanish folkloric song-form of Copla and Anglo-American musical theatre forms, including book musicals, revues and jukebox shows. Copla ceased to develop during Franco’s regime in Spain (1939-75), and my practice aims to rejuvenate Copla in an international context while critically reflecting on the intercultural processes that are implicit in this research.
My main research questions are how to share my personal experience of Copla with an international audience of diverse cultural backgrounds, and how to do justice to the multiple facets and background of Copla as a storytelling form, a folkloric genre and a subversive tool in the Spanish socio-cultural zeitgeist. Practice has availed my position as a researcher and as an artist, and it has allowed me to explore changing modes of readability from one culture to another. My PaR is developed after research frameworks of historical revisionism, musical theatre making and the testing of intercultural theory. My artistic work evidences my research enquiries by placing its focus in the engagement with audiences, challenging pre-existing conceptions of musical theatre and Copla as historically known.
I am a theatre artist and researcher based in London. My creative practice explores intercultural exchanges emerging in contemporary musical theatre. I am finalising a thesis in ‘Intercultural Adaptation of Copla’ having graduated from the Universities Complutense (Madrid), Paris 8 (France), Illinois Wesleyan (USA) and RCSSD (UK). My directing work includes ‘Men on the Verge of a His-Panic breakdown’ (Phoenix Theatre, USA); the live art piece ‘Wondering thoughts’ (River City, Bangkok) commissioned by NGO Peace Revolution; and ‘The Copla Musical’ seen at Hoxton Hall, the Roundhouse, and the Collisions Festival (London). I also direct in educational settings where I lecture, such as the ‘Dream Arts’ Gala at the West End’s Fortune Theatre, or the Anglia Ruskin University production of ‘In The Heights’, after my professional collaboration with the London production shown at the Kings Cross Theatre. Credits as a choreographer include ‘Nutcracker, The Musical’ at Pleasance Theatre, and the opera ‘The Merry Widow’ seen at Wilton’s Music Hall. I have been part of the creative team in ‘Journeys of love’ (Sadler’s Wells), ‘Winter’s Tale’ (Royal Opera House) and the TV sitcom ‘Episodes’ (BBC), and I regularly collaborate with the Royal Ballet since 2012. I am project manager for the Performing Research Unit at RCSSD and have facilitated and organized various academic and performance events. I have presented my research at venues that include the Spanish National Library and I am the recipient of La Caixa Award, Board of Governors Award, IES and Madrid Government Award for Theatre Research. I am Visiting Lecturer at University of Portsmouth and Associate Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University.
2015 Choreographer, The Nutcracker, (director, Ollie Fielding), Pleasance Theatre, London
2015 Choreographer, The Merry Widow, (director, Nina Brazier), Ryedale Festival & Wilton’s Music Hall, UK
2015 Project Manager for RCSSD’s Brink Festival in MA Performance Practice and Research
2015 AD/ Dramaturgy, Burladas (director, Raquel Moreno), Corral de Comedias Alcalá de Henares, Spain
2014-16 Production Manager for RCSSD’s Performing Research Unit at MA level
2014-16 Musical theatre/Drama teacher at ‘Dream Arts’, youth theatre, London
2014-15 Cultural advisor & dialect coach, The Heights (director, Luke Sheppard), Southwark Playhouse & Kings Cross Theatre, London
2014-15 Singing and dance teacher, ‘Bunbanter Theatre Company’, youth theatre, London
2014 Writer, director and deviser, Wondering thoughts, Performance art installation, Collection Samadhi Santi, River City, Bangkok
2014 AD/ Dramaturgy, Vampi (director, Donnacadh O’Briain), Hartshornhook Productions, London
2014 AD/ Movement, Baker’s Wife (director Joe Deer), Embassy Theatre, RCSSD, London
2011-16 Author/ deviser, The Copla Musical, Hoxton Hall, Collisions Fest, Roundhouse (www.thecoplamusical.com)
2011-16 Workshop facilitator, ‘Freshwater Theatre Company’, MFL theatre workshops, London
2015 ‘The Copla Musical: Exchanges between English and Spanish Musical Theatre’, Acotaciones (Spanish Theatre Journal), 34, pp. 53-81.
2014 ‘Rediscovering Spanish Musical Theatre: Exploring an Intercultural Adaptation of Copla’, In Music on Stage, edited by Fiona Jane Schopf (London: Cambridge Scholars Press), pp. 184197.
2016 ‘Making ‘The Copla Musical’: Developing a PaR Methodology’. Intersections – The annual postgraduate conference of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London
2015 ‘The Impact of Spanish Copla in Anglophone Musical Theatre’. Intersections, RCSSD
2015 'Imposing Star Systems: Political Influencing through the Popularization of Role Models’. Song, Stage and Screen X, Regent’s University
2014 ‘Interculturalism and Hybridity in Musical Theatre’, Music on stage, Rose Bruford
2013 ‘Interculturally adapting Copla’. CPR Performance Practice as Research, RCSSD
2013 ‘Copla & Flamenco outside Spanish Borders’, Flamenco in the media, BNE, Spanish National Library
2013 'The Copla Musical: The Challenges of Adaptation’. Song, Stage and Screen VIII, RCSSD
2012 ‘The Development of an Intercultural Musical’. Music on stage, Rose Bruford
2012 'The Copla Musical: An Intercultural Approach to Spanish Folklore’. Song, Stage and Screen VII, University of Groningen, Holland
2012 ' PaR and Interculturalism in Musical Theatre’. Contemporary Ethnography and Traditional Performance, University of Chester
2011 ‘Rediscovering Spanish Musical Theatre’, CPR Performance Practice as Research, RCSSD
20-21 April 2016. Performing Research Conference, Production Manager. The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s annual MA conference
25 Sept -1 Oct 2015. Collisions Festival, Space allocations. Royal Central School of Speech and Drama PhD’s annual PaR festival
19-25 June 2015. Brink Festival, Production Manager. Royal Central School of Speech and Drama MA PPR’s annual PaR festival
22-23 April 2015. Performing Research Conference, Production Manager. Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s annual MA conference
26 Sept - 3 Oct 2014. Collisions Festival, Space allocations & FOH Manager. Royal Central School of Speech and Drama PhD’s annual PaR festival
27 Sept -4 Oct 2013. Collisions Festival, Space allocations & FOH Manager. Royal Central School of Speech and Drama PhD’s annual PaR festival.