Teatro Español y Naves del Español

Artistic direction


José Alberto Puertas 
Natalia Menéndez - Directora Artística
Artistic Director
Natalia Menéndez

Natalia Menéndez (Madrid, 1967) is an actress, director, playwright and theatre director. She has a degree in Acting and in Stage Direction from the Royal School of Dramatic Arts in Madrid (RESAD). Her professional career as an actress began in 1987, a facet of the arts in which she has amassed considerable experience. In film, she has worked with directors such as Carlos Saura, Emilio Martínez Lázaro and José Luis Bollaín; in television, with Diana Álvarez, Carlos Serrano, Adolfo Marsillach, Eva Lesmes, Pepe Ganga, Jaime Botella, Toni Sevilla and Paino, among others; and in theatre, with Jesús Cracio, Guillermo Heras, Miguel Narros, Gerardo Malla, Jorge Lavelli and Jean-Pierre Miquel. 

Menéndez has directed some thirty productions in theatre, music, zarzuela and chamber opera, both in Spain and America; these include: Comida by Matin Van Velduizen, El Invierno bajo la Mesa by Roland Topor, Don Juan Tenorio by Zorrilla in a version by Yolanda Pallín, El Curioso Impertinente by Guillén de Castro, La Duda by Patrick Shanley, Las Cuñadas by Michel Tremblay, Música Clásica by Ruperto Chapi, Tantas Voces by Pirandello, in a version by Juan Carlos Plaza Asperilla, 2 Delirios by José Sanchis Sinisterra, Realidad by Tom Stoppard, La Amante Inglesa by Marguerite Duras, La Villana by Amadeo Vives, Tejiendo la Paz, which premièred in Bogotá on the occasion of the Signing of the Peace Treaty, Tebas Land by Sergio Blanco, Mi Niña Niña Mía by Amaranta Osorio and Itziar Pascual or Tres Sombreros de Copa by Miguel Mihura. 

She is the author of Llevarnos lo Malo, Querido Mozart, Clic, and A Voces, she has created versions of numerous texts including Tartufo, un Impostor de Molière, and a dozen or so adaptations including La Cantante Calva by Ionesco, Se Van los Días by John Fosse or Las Falsas Confidencias by Marivaux 

For the past ten years, she has been collaborating as a dance dramatist with 10&10 Danza. As an artistic director, she has put on several exhibitions, including A Tres Bandas, which was inaugurated in Bogotá, 1812: El Poder de la Palabra, which opened in Cadiz, or Arte y Naturaleza en la Prehistoria, which opened in Madrid. She gives courses, workshops and conferences in Europe, America, Africa and Asia. She was also the director of the Almagro International Festival of Classical Theatre Foundation from 2010 to 2017.

In 2020, Natalia Menéndez was made Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. Her career has been marked by awards such as the Chivas Prize for Best New Director for El Invierno bajo la Mesa (2006) or the Critical Eye and Agora awards at the Almagro Festival for La Discreta Enamorada, both in 1996. She was awarded the Celcit medal in 2013, and in 2017 she was admitted to the Civil Order of Alfonso X the Wise, in the category of Commendation.


The Teatro Español and the Naves del Español at Matadero are part of my life. My father acted in the Teatro Español and it was here too that I discovered contemporary dance with my mother. On this stage, I fell in love with Giorgio Strehler's light and with his idea of Goldoni. I have seen great actors from this country and from abroad. I have learnt with them. As a member of the audience, I know every floor of this theatre. I was at the opening of the Margarita Xirgu hall. I was also at the inauguration of the Naves at Matadero; I had that fascinating sensation of taking part in a cultural change in Madrid. A place we were proud to be a part of; we discovered another way of looking at the Legazpi neighbourhood, the river exuded culture...

Everyone who has managed these spaces has brought their point of view and their talent to them. That is why I have such respect for them and why they make me want to dedicate myself in body and soul to the task that has been entrusted to me. I would like to thank all the teams that have preceded me. These spaces radiate grandeur, entertainment, talent, light. They resound with applause, laughter and sighs.

It is a tempting challenge, an extraordinary adventure that I embrace with a sense of responsibility and with enthusiasm, dedication, joy and curiosity. My intention, on assuming this role as director, is to create, together with this wonderful team, a heterogeneous territory that is a reference point for the performing arts, for thought, and for other forms of creation. I am interested in the energy that springs from exchanges, from processes and from encounters. We are going to pursue that created and shared life, from its multifarious forms and confluences. Promoting talent, with children, young people, adults and seniors in mind, but also groups, different capacities... In search of new spectators through presentations and performances, where there is room for generosity and inclusion. It is a question of becoming aware in order to live with one another in greater harmony, where pedagogy must be a fundamental action. We will create a magazine that will bring together thinkers, scholars, creators and spectators. Fostering an active cosmos, a suggestive meeting, in which to present the programme and its transversal activities, as well as reflections, cultural notes, etc... We will use our limited resources to grow, to investigate and to enjoy. An inclusive, diverse, plural management amidst the diverse scenic and artistic languages.

Questioning what we are experiencing and delving into it through research. Establishing spaces of creativity under construction, as well as finished processes. Creation sparks relationships; we are attracted to the idea of being able to establish them inside and outside the theatres, with all manner of people and with ourselves. We are attracted as much to the unclassifiable as to what can be labelled. Committing to tolerance, dialogue and good manners. Developing, through communication and by reflecting on this management, a social commitment to a non-violent aesthetic. Culture is important for a better coexistence. Theatre is in dialogue with the arts, it interacts with the street, with people; theatrical events are not isolated from other cultural and social events, they often reflect or influence them. This will be another of our endeavours, to be part of those movements. We will sail with the tide and against the tide, with the wind and against the wind. We will set our hearts on the spectator and on the creator, without calling the balance into question. Taking care of both of them, their variety, their plurality and their differences ... Listening to the audience, we will pay close heed to their insights so that, as far as possible, we can address them. We will also explore the silences, the shadows and the invisible. We will try to guide the public in whatever it needs. The Teatro Español and the Naves del Español will have a continuous programme and each space will have its own peculiarities, which we will gradually refine. To do so, our communication will be practical and inspiring.

With dignity, humility and humour, we will decipher the proposals, to journey on a pilgrimage through the theatre of today, as well as through our references, our tradition and our repertoire, converging with both spontaneous creations and others created by young people. The Plataforma project will allow us to place value on independent creation, in what is a clear commitment to emerging talent.

In addition, we will honour our older professionals with projects such as La Senior. This is a time of memory and opportunity. We will introduce work dynamics to an open and flexible company, where specific training will be given to actors over 65 years of age. We will organise meetings between veterans and young creators, between experts and children, and we will invite directors and other professionals from different artistic and cultural disciplines to collaborate with us. Senior members of the public will be able to attend these meetings.

With Teatro de la Mano, we will open a line of action that has to do with technical creativity; we will raise the awareness and appreciation of many of the crafts within the performing arts. In addition, in our training space, we will provide technical residences to cater for less valued theatrical professions such as assistant directorships, or to carry out research into Europe's oldest theatre: the Teatro Español.

We will endeavour to coordinate shared projects, in which various managers will bring their own vision to cycles or festivals dedicated to the family, to concerts performed by actors, or to urban culture. We will launch this process with Vividero, a family project that will address a range of family-related creations through performances, dramatised readings, workshops and discussions. On this occasion, we will be led by the stage director Olga Margallo and the playwright Itziar Pascual.

The Teatro Español and the Naves del Español at Matadero face each other once again. Let's take advantage of this opportunity, let’s encourage transversal actions between them that will make each and every one of their spaces more attractive to visit. These stages are part of a cultural urbanism. We must keep our ears tuned so we can converse with the pulse of the city. We will keep an eye on the cultural events that take place in Madrid so that we can add our vision to them. Moreover, we will seek alliances, covenants and agreements with various institutions in Spain and overseas. Feeling the cultural and social heartbeat of the world, choosing with awareness and pleasure actions that unite us and others that set us apart.

Let's weigh anchor to imagine myriad creative voyages, to find the issues that move us. We will be several teams in one, the one that looks, the one that does, the one that listens, the one that speaks, the one that asks, the tortoise and the hare. We care about a higher quality organic co-existence, a return to the wonder of nature.

Culture is appealing to us. It calls upon fiction, myths, ideas and the senses. A theatre exists in relation to a city, a country, a temperature, in relation to other bodies, in how they respond to each other, how they influence each other, how they put each other to the test. Theatre provokes group searches. Every day, the challenge goes out to invent different forms of encounters between artists, technicians and spectators. Different ways of sharing, exchanging or transmitting. Let's dwell on them. Capturing the world in a different way; truths and pleasures can emerge, the out-of-date, the useless, the absurd, talking about things and taking our time to talk about them, without running. Like when you go for a walk... Putting voracious time on hold, casting aside the anxiety of everyday life and immediacy, lightening your load and offering time that soars and dives; suggesting other times, how to live time in this territory of culture: the Español and the Naves del Español at Matadero.

Thank you.

My thanks to the team for their commitment and effort.

 José Alberto Puertas
Luis Luque - Director Adjunto Artístico
Assistant Artistic Director
Luis Luque

An actor and stage director, Luis Luque Cabrera (Madrid, 1973) has trained alongside masters of the calibre of Miguel Narros and Andrea D'Odorico. He graduated from the Mar Navarro school of theatre where he specialised in the technique of Jacques Lecoq, and he trained as a performer with Zulema Katz. He has also studied at the Juan Carlos Corazza Studio, and in addition to this, he has trained in comedy theatre and clowning techniques with Hernán Gené and in vocal techniques and Spanish metrics with Vicente Fuentes. As a stage director, he has directed Fedra, Dentro de la Tierra, Lulú, El Pequeño Poni, El Señor Ye Ama los Dragones, Ahora Empiezan las Vacaciones and La Escuela de la Desobediencia, all of which are texts by the playwright and winner of the National Prize for Dramatic Literature, Paco Bezerra; Todas las Noches de un Día, by Alberto Conejero; La Cantante Calva, by Ionesco; Oleanna, by David Mamet; Alejandro Magno, by Jean Racine; Insolación, by Emilia Pardo Bazán; Diario de un Loco, by Nikolai V. Gógol; Porno Casero, by Jose Padilla; Ni Príncipes ni Azules, by Rosa Sáez; and No Digas que Fue un Sueño, by Constantino Cavafis. For Mónica Runde, he created No Quiero Olvidar, his first choreographic piece that was part of Episodios, a show that celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the 10&10 Danza company.

In 2005, he met Natalia Menéndez and began working with her regularly as an assistant director. He has worked with her in more than six productions, including, for example, Las Cuñadas, Realidad, Don Juan Tenorio, La Sospecha and Tres Versiones de la Vida.

He was nominated in 2018 for the 12th Valle-Inclán Awards as best director for La Cantante Calva, a production that premiered at the Teatro Español, and in that same year he was named Best Director at the 39th City of Palencia Theatre Festival Awards for Todas las Noches de un Día. With this same text and production, he won the award for Best Show of the 2018/2019 Montcada i Reixac season. As a teacher, he collaborates on a regular basis with the Juan Codina Studio where he has been a member of the teaching staff since the centre's creation.