If there is an establishment that you can see everywhere in Madrid, it is the theater, whether it is meant for plays, cinemas, or musicales. Spaniards must be so in love with their theaters that it is common for quite a number to be found within a single barrio, or lining up a street, one after the other.
There are Spanish plazas that are hightlighted by at least one – and it is treated as an important, integral element. Get the chance to visit Plaza de Isabel II along Calle Arenal and near the Palacio Real de Madrid, and there you will find the iconic Teatro Real.
Then, of course, there is the Plaza Santa Ana, home to Teatro Español. Previously known as Teatro del Principe, it ìs beautifully designed using neo-classic architecture, and is meant primarily for the performing arts.
Needless to say, Teatro Español is a prominent landmark within the Barrio de las Letras. It is not surprising that there is a great number of visitors and tourists going to the Teatro, either to watch what’s currently shown or just to marvel at the impressive edifice. It helps that it is found within striking distance to other major tourist attractions, such as Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, Palacio de Cibeles, and Retiro. Evidently, the building that houses the theater is in excellent condition, as it has been placed under the jurisdiction of the city government.
A historic theater within an equally historic square
Plaza de Santa Ana might be smaller than Puerta del Sol or even Plaza Mayor, but in no way is it less significant. For one thing, it serves as the address of the Melia Hotel, one of the best there is if you looking for the finest accommodation in Spain. The square is steeped in rich history, no doubt, it was here where once lived some of the most illustrious Spanish men, writers and artists, such as Federico Garcia Lorca and Calderon de la Barca. In fact, these two have proven their great importance to the place that monuments have been built in their honor, standing proudly in the plaza.
A bit of history
Today, the Teatro Español is recognized as one of principal theaters that offer only the best productions and performances this side of Spain. However, did you know that it is proud of its humble beginnings, starting out as a small space during its start in the 16th century.
Unfortunately, the start of the 19th century saw a fire consuming much of the building, leaving only its facade still standing. Since then, a series of reconstruction was done to transform it back as a functioning theater, complete with better technical equipment.
Present-day Plaza de Santa Ana, together with a flashy hotel, and a number of modern boutiques and restaurants and cafes embracing it, still boasts of being a seat of arts and culture of the city, made clear by the theater’s imposing presence. Teatro Español, directly facing the Melia, is such a sight to behold at night. One has got to see the theater in the evening, when lighting is in full blast, and the entire face is beautifully lit.
Location: Plaza Santa Ana, Calle del Principe 25
How to go:
Metro train: Sol station, Lines 1, 2, and 3; Antón Martín station, Line 1; Sevilla station, Line 2
Autobús EMT: 3, 6, 9, 15, 26, 20, 32, 52, 51, 53, 65, 57, 150, M1