Spanish street theatre company. Founded in 1971 in Barcelona, Els Comediants (also Comediants) is directed by Joan Font Pujol, principal director and founding member of the troupe. Pujol studied at the Institut del Teatre (Theatre Institute) in Barcelona and the Jacques Lecoq school of mime in Paris. He was introduced to puppetry by the Bread and Puppet Theater of Vermont.

With the mission of “Restoring the festive spirit of human existence by reconnecting with myths, rituals, and pagan ceremonies”, the company stages carnivalesque musical and pyrotechnic “happenings” around specific themes, such as miscegenation, freedom of expression and environmental protection, or to mark a special event. These events may take place in either open or closed spaces, including streets, neighbourhoods, Olympic stadiums, and theatres.

The actors, singers, and acrobats who comprise Comediants employ a wide variety of forms of expression, including “big heads”, giant puppets, and costume puppets. The company has a Creation Centre (Centre de Creació de Comediants) in La Vinya, Canet de Mar (40 kilometres from Barcelona), which houses its rehearsal, workshop and recording studios and hosts performances by invited troupes.

Among the company’s many productions are Non Plus Plis (1972), Catacroc (1973), Plou i fa sol (1976), Sol, solet (1978), Dimonis (Demons, 1981), Alè (Breath, 1984), La nit (The Night, 1987), Mediterrània (Mediterranean, 1991), Viatge per la Mediterrània (Travel in the Mediterranean, 1993), Libre de las bèsties (Book of Beasts, 1995), Anthologia (1996), La Flauta Màgica (The Magic Flute, 1999), Zenit (1999), El sol d’Orient (The Sun from the East, 1999). For Mozart’s 250th birthday anniversary in 2006, Comediants created the musical cavalcade, Mozart Andante, that began with travelling stages depicting the musician’s life and ended in a collective concert celebration. For Thang Long. 1.000 anys de Hanoi (Thang Long. 1,000 Years of Hanoi, 2010), the company recreated the legend of the origin of ancient Hanoi for the city’s millennium. An adaptation of Rossini’s opera Il Barbiere de Siviglia (The Barber of Seville, 2011) was a co-production with four opera companies (from Houston, Toronto, Bordeaux and Sydney).

Comediants has performed abroad at many international festivals and for major events, such as the closing ceremony of the Juegos Olímpicos de Barcelona 1992 (Barcelona Olympics); it created La Magia del tiempo (The Magic of Time, 1992) for the Expo ’92 (Exposición Universal de Sevilla 1992) in Seville; performed at the Expo ’98 in Lisbon, the Expo 2000 in Hanover, and at the Fòrum Barcelona 2004 (2004 Universal Forum of Cultures).

(See Spain.)