By the late 1970s, internationally known performance groups such as Els Joglars, La Fura dels Baus or La Cubana had precipitated a decline in text-based Catalan theatre, reversed in the mid 1980s with the appearance of a younger generation of playwrights led by Sergi Belbel. Influenced by contemporary European rather than Spanish or Catalan drama, his work was very different from the realist idiom favoured by playwrights of the Franco generation.
But playwriting is only one aspect of Belbel's work as a theatre practitioner. He also has a highly successful career as a director of Spanish, Catalan and foreign plays [a number of which he himself has translated], and, since 2006, he has held the position of Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Catalonia.
This study examines these three key aspects of his career, as well as Ventura Pons's film adaptations of his plays. Finally, it considers the reception of his plays in several countries, analysing his evolving relationship with critics at home and abroad.
DAVID GEORGE is Professor of Hispanic Studies at Swansea University.