Spanish Baroque Theater

The World of the Theater

Most theater before this period was religious. Professional theater in Spain began around 1550 with Lope de Rueda. By 1570’s theater was very popular especially in Madrid and Seville. The plays were presented in corrales.

The ‘Corrales’ (Public Theaters)


These theaters had sections for the upper and the lower classes and even separated men from women. Lope de Vega created a new form of theater: La Comedia Nueva. It breaks away from the classic forms. According to Lope, theater should be a portrait of life and should please the public. There is an emphasis on the action, it mixes tragedy with comedy, it's divided in three jornadas (acts), it's written in verse, it has a happy ending. A frequent theme is 'honra' (public reputation), something that reflects a lot on the values of the time. There were usually 'damas' and 'galanes' (young men and women), a king or elderly man that represented authority, and a 'gracioso' (buffoon) who gave a humorous tone to the play.


Lope de Vega

Tirso de Molina

Juan Ruiz de Alarcón

Agustín Moreto

Calderón de la Barca

Ana Caro Mallén de Soto