La Mostra d’Igualada celebrates 29 years of history. It is held annually, for four days near Easter dates, in the capital of the Anoia region (Barcelona). The festival is a showcase where traditionally children’s theatre companies in Catalonia present their new productions. Over the years, La Mostra has premiered more than 2,000 shows and has seen the top companies in the sector start out and grow.
A journey through its past illustrates the many people who have made each edition possible with their passion and involvement; people such as the festival’s valuable network of volunteers.
- First stage: 1990–1995
The first children’s theatre showcase was held in Igualada in 1990, organised by Moviment Rialles de Catalunya (a functional delegation of Òmnium Cultural) under the artistic direction of Pere Fontanet. Apart from the 1991 and 1992 editions held in Terrassa and Sabadell, the festival took place in Igualada.
- Second stage: 1996–2005
From 1996 onwards, Fundació Xarxa (created in 1995) took over the leadership of the Igualada showcase under the artistic direction of Agustí Coll.
In parallel, from 1996, Rialles held its children’s theatre showcase in Cerdanyola del Vallès (with the 2005 edition held in Sabadell). From 1996 to 2003, it was led by the team of Rialles, while the 2004 and 2005 editions were directed by Isidro Rodríguez.
The goal of the showcases for both associations was to supply their network of volunteers—who programme children’s theatre productions in more than 90 cities and towns around Catalonia—with suitable shows in order to bring performing arts to Catalan children.
- Third stage: 2006–present
2006 marked a turning point for the festival. Under the guidance of the then ICIC (Catalan Institute of Cultural Industries, an entity responsible for managing and promoting Catalonia’s cultural output, now the ICEC), with the support of Igualada City Council and the commitment of both associations Fundació Xarxa and Rialles, Catalonia’s two children’s theatre showcases (Igualada and Cerdanyola del Vallès) were fused into a single event held in Igualada.
While the name continues on, it is now called “La Mostra d’Igualada” with a subtitle to help define it: the children’s and youth theatre festival. The primary goal of this fusion is, apart from providing Catalan municipalities with programming, to establish a market for Catalan companies in the rest of Spain and abroad.
The organisation of newly fused La Mostra incorporated the company Vol-Ras (Joan Faneca and Joan Segalés) as artistic directors, with La Xarxa’s executive management and Ramon Llimós in charge. Furthermore, it received support from Agustí Coll (La Xarxa) and Eulàlia Ribera (Rialles) as assistant directors.
In 2007, Vol-Ras continued to provide artistic direction and for the first time, La Mostra had a manager, Pau Llacuna.
From 2008 to 2014, the festival entered a new phase with a more stable management team, with Òscar Rodríguez and Òscar Balcells as artistic director and manager, respectively.
In 2015, La Mostra d’Igualada was recognised as a strategic marketplace for the Generalitat de Catalunya as a means for supporting children’s and youth theatre and its organisational structure was revised. From 2015 to 2017, Pep Farrés is the artistic director and Silvia Lorente is executive director, from 2018 the executive direction falls to Òscar Balcells and Pol Gil Marimon.