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Banderas, together with his brother Javier (left) and the regional director of CaixaBank in Andalucía, Juan Ignacio Zafra. Ñito Salas
Malaga-born actor and director Antonio Banderas reveals future plans for his CaixaBank Soho theatre in the city
Entertainment

Malaga-born actor and director Antonio Banderas reveals future plans for his CaixaBank Soho theatre in the city

The star is also finalising the opening of the Sorhlin space, a technical training school with an auditorium for 1,600 people and an immersive space

Regina Sotorrío

Malaga

Friday, 24 May 2024, 16:32

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For Antonio Banderas, the idea of success is simpler than it seems: "Do what you want to do, how you want to do it and with the people you want to do it with. And that's what I'm doing." The CaixaBank Soho theatre is proof of this. The actor and director from Malaga has renewed his "marriage vows" with CaixaBank for three more years, after the five years he has already been linked as the main partner. This agreement has led him to take stock of what he has already achieved and to lay the foundations for the future of the facility in Calle Córdoba: "We are going to continue with our own production and we are going to increase it," he said.

Banderas has set himself the challenge of overcoming the pending subject of musicals in Spain: to create his own product from Malaga in every sense, from the libretto to the music. A kind of Malaga-style Broadway which, despite the "complication" involved, he sees as feasible. "There is talent for it, and there are good composers. We are working on it, we are giving a lot of thought to the possibility of starting our own productions, but we had to go through what we are going through." By this, he refers to previous productions of classics such as A Chorus Line, Company and the future production, Gypsy (for the last quarter of this year).

The next show is They're Playing Our Song, a romantic musical comedy that he will direct from 4 June to 14 July. With it, he says, he wants to pay tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, the composer with whose work (A Chorus Line) he inaugurated the theatre in 2019. The show has a libretto by Neil Simon, screenwriter of classic films such as The Odd Couple. "It's going to be a surprise because it's very funny and at the same time has a lot of heart," he said.

Beyond the musical, the theatre will promote co-productions with national and international companies. "We are aiming for new works, to premiere plays by authors that interest us," he said. And he put forward one name: Óscar Martínez, who has written 'Soy tuya' (I'm yours), which has a very American structure, with private funds and sponsors who are committed to this concept, as is the case of CaixaBank. The bank will continue to give its name and support to the theatre with an annual contribution of over one million euros. The aim of his life, he said, is to consolidate this project "and for it to have a life that goes far beyond my own".

Much more than a school

In the meantime, another of Banderas' plans for the launch of Soho is taking shape: the training aspect, especially oriented towards the technical professions that surround the performing arts (stage management, sound, lighting, make-up...). Sohrlin Andalucía, located in premises in the Misericordia area, will start some masterclasses this summer, initially linked to scenography and high-level prosthetic make-up. It will open its doors a little later than expected due to delays in the building work, "but the school is practically finished". In September - "God willing", he pointed out - the course will begin, which will make up for the deficit that exists in Spain in the technical area.

But the possibilities of this space are enormous. It is 8,000 square metres, a blank canvas that Banderas conceives as a 'cluster' where different proposals can fit. In fact, it will have a covered auditorium with a capacity for 1,600 people, the largest capacity in the capital (until now the maximum capacity has been at the Cervantes with almost 1,000), and 1,200 square metres will be used for high technology projects. The design also contemplates different 'black boxes' for different uses, from a recording studio to a stage laboratory for Malaga's theatre. But all this takes time. "Things take time, because you have to build and rebuild. They take time and while you are building one thing you have to partially close the other. It's a 'tetris' that has to be put together little by little", he concluded.

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