José Manuel Mora


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Given the fleetingness of theatre, the text, the carrier of the sediment of the author’s wounds and his time, becomes a kind of historical witness of the theatral fact. For this reason too I appeal to the responsible institutions to treat the polemic on the significance of spoken theatre in the creative fabric of the city of Madrid with sensitivity. Together with theatre people it is necessary to bring spaces into operation that inspire the emergence of theatre on the basis of texts.

I shall never forget how at the Royal Court Theatre in London and the Play Market at the Berlin Theatre Meeting, professional actors and seasoned stage directors put themselves at the service of an unfinished text by a completely unknown author to show the tension between literature and the stage, and so to convey an experience of the very nature of theatre. Work which in a sense should have been the affair of an educational establishment – which thus needed institutional backing.

This created an open, quasi-non-utilitarian safe space for the text. It is not my point that theatral expression should renounce the power of images. No, on stage words are the bearers of images, actions and feelings. Everything, however, even the greatest deviation, must serve the core of the text, in which old impulses always lie concealed that will prove themselves to be the bearers of new aesthetic and ethical gifts. This is the case at least in the great texts, which can never be exhausted.


The plays of José Manuel Mora (born in 1978 in Seville) have been translated into several European languages. He has been the recipient of invitations to Warsaw, the Berlin Festival, a residency at the Royal Court Theatre in London, the programme for contemporary dramaturgy of the Spanish Ministry of Culture and the programme for young authors of the FONCA (Mexico). As author, dramatist and theatre critic for, among other publications, El Cultural (of the daily newspaper El Mundo), Mora has been awarded numerous prizes. His production Los Nadradores Nocturnos was honoured as a “great theatre discovery” at the Premio Max 2015.

He is artistic director of the Draft.inn, an association for contemporary productions with an international orientation, which he founded together with the Madrid theatre scene. As a playwright, he has worked with the Belgian ensemble for theatre/dance Peeping Tom and as artistic consultant for the Theatre Biennale at the Wiesbaden State Opera. Recently, he has been appointed Head of the Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático de Castilla y León.