Centre for the Study of Hispanic Exile

Juan Mateu [1929—]

Date of Birth: 1929 Pedralba/ Valencia

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Dramatist involved in the theatrical activities of Republican exiles in Toulouse during the 1950s. A builder affiliated to the CNT, Mateu has claimed that his 'verdaderas obras' are the houses he has built and restored, whilst his theatrical works 'son de usar y tirar, de disfrutar un instante y olvidarlos en seguida' (quoted by F. Serralta in his intro. to Don Juan Tenorio "el refugiao", p.11).

Time Table

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1929 Pedralba/ Valencia
Born in Pedralba, a Castilian-speaking town in Valencia, on 8th July.
1941 Pedralba/ Valencia
At the age of 12 or 13 Mateu leaves school to become a labourer.
1945 Pedralba/ Valencia
At sixteen he becomes a builder's apprentice. He remains a builder for the rest of his life.
1950 Pedralba/ Valencia
During the 1950s Mateu becomes involved in a reading group in Pedralba affiliated to the CNT. Writes humorous and satirical verses.
1957 Toulouse/France
Travels to France on a tourist visa to work as a seasonal farm labourer. Offered a permanent post as a builder in Toulouse, where there is a vibrant theatrical scene among Spaniards in exile. Joins the theatrical group Iberia, affiliated with the CNT and the Movimiento Libertario Español en Francia.
1–2 Nov 1958 Juan Montiel
Juan Mateu's Don Juan Tenorio "El Refugiao" performed by Iberia with Juan Montiel in the role of Don Juan and Mateu in the role of Ciutti.
Nov–Dec 1958 Valencia
Returns to Pedralba to marry Cora Martín. Arrested on the train by the Francoist police, who have heard of his activities in France, and imprisoned for a few days in Valencia.
1959 Toulouse/France
Returns to Toulouse with his wife. Joins the Amigos del Teatro Español (ATE), a group created and directed by José Martín Elizondo.
1966 José Martín Elizondo
The Amigos del Teatro Español stage Mateu's new satirical play, El pasaporte.
1967 Pedralba/ Valencia
Returns definitively to Pedralba with Cora and their two children, Bruno and Corín.
1968 Pedralba/ Valencia
Stages, for the first time, Miguel Hernández' El labrador de más aire in Pedralba.
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