"> Name: Spanish theatre group, Els Joglars, imprisoned by military

Date:  1976 - 1984

Location:  Europe

SubjectPolitical/Economic/Social Opinion

MediumPerforming Art

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Artist: Els Joglars, a Spanish theater group classified as mime artists.

Confronting Bodies: Spanish army officials

Date of Action: 1977

Specific Location: Spain

Description of Artwork: The play, "La tourna" is about the execution by strangulation of an unknown Pole named Heinz Chez. It is not heavy on realism and all the actors other than Cez wear masks, but it does make a parallel to the recent execution of an anarchist in Barcelona. The programme even mentions this and claims that both these executions had political aim. In addition, "La tourna" displays the military very unflatteringly. The generals are drunk, the Civil Guards are roosters, and the executioners are handicapped.

Description of Incident: In December 1977, the military closed off the theater where the group was performing and took Albert Boadella (The group director) to jail. All the actors in the company were sentenced to at least 2 years in prison for insulting the military. This provoked an international reaction from artistic communities and there were theater strikes in Spain. Boadella was offered a pardon, but still insisted no civilian should be put on military trial. He was imprisoned by the military for four months until King Juan Carlos pardoned the actors.

Results of Incident: The group continued to perform successfully afterwards, but still caused violent reactions from the community over their scandalous subject matter. They have never had another official censorship, but have been physically attacked by extremist groups for their performances.

Source: Censorship: A World Encyclopedia. Ed. Derek Jones. Chicago; London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.

Submitted By: NCAC

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