Grand Teatro de Cervantes – Historical Theater Attraction

Even if you do not speak the local language, a person should always try to enjoy at least one theatrical production in whatever foreign country he/she is visiting. Theatrical productions are a great way to gain insight into the culture and artistic society of a particular land. If you are planning to spend time in Tangier in Morocco, you simply have to head to the Gran Teatro de Cervantes.

The Gran Teatro de Cervantes in Morocco may look a bit broken down, but this is to be expected of a theatre which opened in 1913. By this stage you may be wondering why the name ‘Cervantes’ is vaguely familiar. Miguel Cervantes Saavedra is famous mainly for his literary work ‘Don Quixote’, though he was not only a novelist but also a playwright and poet. In fact, when Cervantes was alive in the 16th century, he was regarded as being one of the most important and influential people with regard to literature and culture in Spain. But Cervantes’ life was not always so glamorous. Though he was likely born into minor gentry and he debuted at just 21 years of age, he also spent time as a soldier, was captured by Barbary pirates and spent time working as a purveyor for the Spanish Armada and as a Tax Collector. He even spent three years in jail. Nevertheless, he went on to create some of the greatest literary works of his time and was even dubbed ‘The Prince of Wits’.

The Gran Teatro de Cervantes was created at a time when Morocco was brimming with Spaniards. In fact, the theater was created to fill the cultural needs of what was then the largest non-Moroccan community in Tangier. Opening just one year before the First World War, the theatre might have been doomed to failure. However, regardless of this untimely opening, it continued to be popular in the interwar years. During the 1950s, it enjoyed its heyday years with plays, operas and a variety of cultural meetings taking place at this lovely theater. In recent years its decrepit state led to its temporary closure and it is now being restored with Spanish funding. While you may not yet be able to enjoy a world-class performance at this theater, you can enjoy the beautiful Art Deco façade and other aspects of this building’s architecture. It makes for a great tourist attraction and is a striking reminder of a time when there were almost more Spaniards in Tangier than there were Moroccans.

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