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José Sanchis Sinisterra
José Sanchis Sinisterra
Born in Valencia in 1940, it was in the University of this city that he began his journey as an actor, director and author in 1957. He founded the Aula de Teatro in 1960, and the Seminario de Teatro the following year, where he worked as a teacher and researcher until 1966. After completing a degree in Filosofía y Letras [Philosophy and Letters], he was appointed Assistant Lecturer in Spanish Literature in the same University (1962-1966). In 1966 he became Professor of Spanish Language and Literature in the Instituto Nacional de Bachillerato in Teruel. He moved to the I. N. B. in Sabadell (Barcelona) in 1971, and began to work in the Institut del Teatre de Barcelona, where he taught until 2010.
In 1977 he founded and directed El Teatro Fronterizo, where until 1997 he would channel his activity as a dramatist, director and researcher. From 1984 to 1989 he worked as a teacher of Theory and History of Theatre Performance in the Spanish Language Department of the Faculty of Arts of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. In 1987 he founded and co-directed the Sala Beckett in Barcelona, home of El Teatro Fronterizo (until 1997). He was Artistic Director of the Iberoamerican Festival of Theatre in Cádiz in 1993 and of the Teatro Metastasio, Stabille della Toscana (Prato, Italy) from 2005 to 2006. He has taught courses, seminars, workshops and laboratories on Drama Technique and Dramatic Writing in many cities in Spain and, since 1985, throughout almost all of Latin America (Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru), as well as in France and Italy. He has published essays and articles on the theory of theatre and of teaching in several Spanish and Ibero-American journals. In 2007 he was elected member of the Executive Committee of the Spanish General Society of Authors and Publishers (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores).
He is the author of some forty theatrical texts, which include originals, adaptations and dramatic versions of narrative texts. Among these are: Tú, no importa quién  [No Matter Who You Are] (1962); Demasiado frío [Too Cold] (1965); Algo así como Hamlet [Something Along the Lines of Hamlet] (1970); Tendenciosa manipulación de La Celestina de F. de Rojas [One-sided Manipulation of La Celestina by F. de Rojas] (1974); La leyenda de Gílgamesh [The Legend of Gilgamesh] (1977); Terror y miseria en el primer franquismo [Terror and Misery in the First Francoism] (four scenes, 1979); La noche de Molly Bloom [The Night of Molly Bloom], from Ulises by James Joyce (1979); Ñaque o De piojos y actores [Thespians, or Of Lice and Actors] (1980); Informe sobre ciegos [Report on the Blind] from On Heroes and Tombs by Ernesto Sábato (1981); El Gran Teatro Natural de Oklahoma [The Great Natural Theatre of Oklahoma], based on texts by F. Kafka (1982); El Retablo de Eldorado [The Eldorado Tableau] (1984); Pervertimento y otros Gestos para nada [Perversion and Other Useless Gestures] (1986); ¡Ay, Carmela! [Ay, Carmela!] (1986); Carta de la Maga a Bebé Rocamadour [Letter from La Maga to Bebé Rocamadour], from Rayuela by J. Cortazar (1987); Los figurantes [The Extras] (1988); Perdida en los Apalaches [Lost in the Appalachians](1990); Naufragios de Álvar Núñez [Shipwrecks of Álvar Núñez] (1991); Valeria y los pájaros [Valeria and the Birds] (1992); Lope de Aguirre, traidor (1977-1992); Bienvenidas [Welcome, Girls] (1993); El cerco de Leningrado [The Leningrad Siege, The Siege of Leningrad] (1993); Marsal Marsal (1994); El lector por horas [Reader by the Hour] (1996); La raya del pelo de William Holden [The Parting in William Holden’s Hair] (1998); Vacío y otras poquedades [Emptiness and Other Irrelevances] (2000); Sangre lunar [Blood of the Moon] (2001); Terror y miseria en el primer franquismo [Terror and Misery in the First Francoism] (nine scenes, 2002); La máquina de abrazar [The Hugging Machine] (2002); Flechas del ángel del olvido [Arrows from the Angel of Oblivion] (2004); Misiles melódicos [Melodic Missiles] (2004); Paciencia y barajar o Regreso a la cueva de Montesinos [Have Patience, and Keep Shuffling the Cards or The Return to Montesino’s Cave] (2005); Enemigo interior [Internal Enemy] (2006); Golfos de postín [Posh Layabouts], dramatic version of El trueno dorado [The Golden Thunder] by Ramón del Valle-Inclán (2007); Deja el amor de lado [Leave Love to One Side] (2008); Vagas noticias de Klamm [Vague News about Klamm] (2009); Próspero sueña Julieta (o viceversa) [Prosper Dreams Juliet (or viceversa)] (2010); Saturnal (obra fallida) [Saturnal (a failed play)] (2010) and Cronopios rotos [Broken Cronopios], by Julio Cortazar, dramatic version by Torito y Graffiti (2010).
In 1999, he coordinated the Proyecto Dramatúrgico Iberoamericano [Ibero-American Drama Project]: ‘La cruzada de los niños de la calle’ [The Street Children’s Crusade].
As a director of theatre, he has staged plays by Cervantes, Lope de Rueda, Lope de Vega, Joan de Timoneda, Molière, Racine, Shakespeare, Pirandello, Chekhov, Strindberg, O’Neill, Saroyan, Cocteau, Giraudoux, Anouilh, Brecht, Kipphard, Dragún, Rodríguez Méndez, Brossa, Beckett and Mayorga; as well as his own plays based on narrative texts by Joyce, Kafka, Beckett, Melville, Sábato, Saramago, Valle-Inclán, Cortazar, Buzzatti, etc. He has also directed several of his own works.
He has adapted plays by Sophocles (Oedipus Rex), Shakespeare (The Winter's Tale), Fernando de Rojas (La Celestina) and Calderón (La vida es sueño [Life is a Dream] and Los cabellos de Absalón [Absalom’s Tresses]) and translations by Jean Anouilh, Jean Cocteau, Jean Giraudoux, Paul Claudel, Marcel Achard, Samuel Beckett, Josep M. Benet i Jornet and Josep Pere Peyró.
Several of his plays have been translated into French, English, Portuguese, Italian, German, Greek, Finnish, Russian, Polish, Czech, Turkish, etc., and performed and/or published in several countries in Europe, Africa, and Latin-America in particular.
He has received the following prizes, among others: Carlos Arniches Theatre Prize, 1968; Camp del Arpa Poetry Prize, 1975; Premio Nacional de Teatro, 1990; Premio Lorca, 1991; Premi d’Honor del Institut del Teatre, 1996; Premio Max al Autor Teatral 1998 and 1999; Premio Nacional de Literatura Dramática 2003; the Life Achievement Award from the XXIII International Hispanic Theatre Festival of Miami, 2008, and the CELCIT Medal 2010.
Available titles
Lope de Aguirre, traidor
El lector por horas
Reader by the Hour
¡Ay, Carmela!
La máquina de abrazar
The Hugging Machine
La machine à étreindre