At an international symposium devoted to the contemporary Catalan stage, which was held at the Institut del Teatre de la Diputació de Barcelona in 2005, director Toni Casares observed how the Catalan theater scene in its post-Franco evolution had, already endured a decade aimed at clarifying its cultural politics. "És l'epoca del teatre institucionalitzat o en vies d'institucionalització," he declared, referring to the decade comprising the years 1985 to 1995. It seemed an almost ironic observation at the time, as any attempt at institutionalization was certainly not a new endeavor for the Catalan theater scene; yet, Casares was also quick to make clear that the decade in question comprises the period in which Catalan theater finally was able to attain a long-awaited degree of government sponsorship and "normalization" ("Teatre públic" 275). By the decade of 2000, Casares's vantage point, the Catalan cultural landscape, in effect, had witnessed the culmination of several large-scale theater projects, both within Barcelona and beyond city limits. They include the Teatre Lliure (in its newest incarnation), the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, the Centre d'Arts Escèniques de Salt/Girona, and the Centre d'Arts Escèniques de Reus -all public institutions that stand as emblems of a once unimaginable level of professionalization achieved through the collaboration of several administrations. As we begin the second decade of the present century, it appears as though the question of normalization gradually has been giving way to a prevalent preoccupation with Europeanization, with how the Catalan stage positions and defines itself vis à vis Europe and vis à vis European production models and aesthetic practices. The ten essays featured in this special cluster of the Catalan Review, written by scholars based in Europe and North America, present an array of snapshots representing a range of historic, aesthetic, cultural, linguistic, and political concerns that have defined the Catalan stage, both modern and contemporary. They serve, furthermore, as confirmation that the issues of normalization and institutionalization, as well as the question of Europe, while far from recent, are now perhaps as timely as ever.

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Copyright © 2009 North American Catalan Society (NACS). This article first appeared in Catalan Review: International Journal of Catalan Culture XXIII (2009): 153-57.

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