Centre for the Study of Hispanic Exile

Fernando Arrabal [1932—]

Date of Birth: 11 Aug 1932 Melilla, Spanish Morocco

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Playwright, novelist and filmmaker who settled in France in 1955. Much of his work translated into French by his wife and better known in France than in Spain until recent years. Absurdist dramatist and co-founder of the 'teatro pánico' movement.

Time Table

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1932 Born in Melilla.
1936 His father, Fernando Arrabal Ruiz, is taken into custody on the 17th of July, the day of the fascist coup, as a well-known republicanist. He is moved to Ceuta, where he attempts to commit suicide, then to Ciudad Real and Burgos. Fernando and his two siblings move with their mother, Carmen, to Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca, near the Portuguese border.
1937 Begins his schooling with the nuns of St. Theresa. The death penalty imposed on his father is commuted to a thirty-year prison sentence.
1940 Moves to Madrid, where he continues his schooling.
1942 His father escapes from the Hospital Central in Burgos. Fernando does not see him again.
1943 Begins his secondary schooling.
1947 Enrols unwillingly into the Military Academy.
1951 Awarded his bacalaureat, which requires pledging his loyalty to the regime.
1952 Studies Law at the Universidad Central in Madrid.
1953 His play, Los hombres del triciclo, is awarded second prize in the Ciudad de Barcelona theatrical contest.
1954 Hitch-hikes to Paris to see the Berliner Ensemble. Meets Luce Moreau, his future wife.
1955 Awarded a three-month scholarship to go to Paris, where he lives at the Casa de España's university residence. Lives in France on a semi-permanent basis from now on.
1956 Has health problems which keep him in hospital for over a year.
1957 Meets J.M. Serreau and his wife, who take an interest in his work.
1958 Marries Luce Moreau.
1958 One-off performance of Los hombres del triciclo in Madrid.
1959 J.M. Serreau stages Los soldados, the first of Arrabal's works to be performed in France.
1962 Founds the Movimiento Pánico with Alejandro Jodorowsky, Roland Topor and Sternberg at the Café de la Paix, a year after meeting the surrealist André Breton.
1967 Detained in La Manga, Murcia in July; imprisoned, tried and released in August.
1969 The police occupy the theatre where Los dos verdugos is to be performed (with Nuria Espert in the leading role) along with Genet's Las criadas ('Les bonnes').
1971 Named Visiting Professor at the Adlai Stevenson College of the University of California.
1986 Awarded the Medalla de Oro de Bellas Artes by the Ministry of Culture in Spain.
1993 Awarded the Prix de Théâtre by the Académie Française.
2000 Awarded the Premio Nacional de Literatura in Spain.
2001 Awarded the Premio Nacional de Teatro in Spain.
2003 Awarded the Premio Nacional de Literatura in Spain.
2005 Awarded the Légion d'Honneur in France, as well as the Checa Association of Film Directors Prize and the René Char Gold Medal at the Avignon Festival.
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El Teatro de Fernando Arrabal
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