La Casa dels Entremesos

Centuries ago groups of jugglers, minstrels and actors took part in court festivals. Some of them would wear figurative motifs such as beasts and fantastic creatures and they performed before, during and after the banquets: they provided entertaining interludes. The establishment of the festival of Corpus Christi at the beginning of the 14th century and the introduction of the Corpus Christi procession in Barcelona in 1320 gave rise to the custom of creating small itinerant performances of biblical episodes as well as re-enactments of the lives of the saints. These performances, which took the form of theatrical interludes, were called entremesos. Some of these theatrical interludes used props that represented characters and beasts which were hard for actors to portray. From the end of the 16th century these came to be a customary element of the reception parties that greeted members of the royal family as they entered the city. Over time the figures (giants, beasts ...) and the dances (involving devils, sticks...) that were part of these performances took on their own independent identity although they continued to be referred to as entremesos. In order to undertake the conservation and continuation of the figures and dances in 1439, Barcelona's governmental institution at the time, the Consell de la Ciutat (Council of One Hundred) instituted the Casa dels Entremesos.

In 2009 the Casa dels Entremesos “reopened” in heart of the Ciutat Vella district. Since then and in just a few years it has become an active centre for the promotion of the popular culture of Barcelona and Catalonia. It is managed by the Colles de Gegants i Bestiari Coordinator for Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella district and produces and co-produces festivities, traditional events, meetings, gatherings and demonstrations throughout both the city and country, as well as exhibitions, talks, debates, workshops, book and music launches, specialised visits...; these are hosted at its centre in Barcelona, which also house a permanent exhibition of Barcelona’s festive imagery with around fifty figures: gegants, capgrossos, bestiaris.

The following organisations are based at the Casa dels Entremesos: the Associació de Festes de la Plaça Nova-Comissió de Festes de Sant Roc del Barri Gòtic, the Associació d'Amics dels Gegants del Pi, the Associació d'Amics dels Gegants Ramon i Lola del Raval, the Associació de Geganters, Grallers i Bestiari de la Barceloneta, the Esbart Català de Dansaires, the Associació Colla Gegantera del Casc Antic, the Associació Colla de Gegants de la Parròquia de Sant Pere de les Puel·les, the Grup Sardanista Xaloc i Enxaneta: Colla Sardanista Mare Nostrum, the Grup Sardanista Iris: Aula de Sardanes, the Associació dels Falcons de Barcelona, the Associació de Trabucaires d'en Perot Rocaguinarda, the Associació Colla Gegantera dels Gegants de Sant Jaume de Barcelona and the Associació de Pessebristes de Ciutat Vella-Escola taller de Pessebres de Barcelona. These associations represent the range of areas encompassed by popular culture such as the giants, dwarfs and capgrossos, the festive beasts -as used in processions, for firework displays and performances-, the devils and fire jugglers, fireworks, traditional dances, stick dancers, the Sardana, falcons, the Trabucaires, music -gralle players, drummers and traditional music-, nativity scene making, traditional and popular games and finally, the neighbourhood festival commissions

Opened in: 2009

Number of rooms: 2

Events hall: yes, (90 people)

Other types of room: 3 exhibition spaces, 3 rehearsal rooms (one is soundproofed) and 2 meeting rooms. The are equipped with sound systems, projectors, screens, DVD/TV and connections (cable, ADSL, TV Imagenio and Wi-Fi)

Outside spaces: yes. Patio, 40 square metres, for rehearsals of Castellers and Falcons, workshops and traditional games, puppet session, receptions and catered events

Area: 1,300 square metres

Services provided: free-booking and loan of rooms and facilities, tailored visits for schools, tourists, families... Courses, training and workshops.

Workshops: traditional dances, sardana dances, the gralles and kettledrums. Fireworks training. Training for carrying gegants and performing the dance of the gegants and bestiaris for groups of adults and children.

Disabled access: yes

Other services: specialised archive open to the public- on traditional dances of the Catalan regions, festive dances and traditions of the Barri Gòtic - (opening hours to be agreed). Changing rooms and showers.