ellascrean 2022

18th edition

At a time like this, with an ongoing pandemic, when introspection cocoons us and culture becomes the anchor we need to keep in touch with life, the Ellas Crean festival aims to bring visibility to, and vindicate, the work of women in the arts. This year, the accent is on recovering memory as a source of inspiration, as a commitment to a future that should bring hope in spite of uncertainty. Sadly, this edition has to mention the loss of one of Spain’s great contemporary writers, Almudena Grandes. If there is anyone who has written about memory in Spain, about the men and women who lost everything, it was Almudena Grandes. This 18th edition of Ellas Crean is dedicated to her memory. The festival is organised by the Ministry of Equality’s Institute for Women, and in this edition receives support from the Ministries of Culture and Sport and of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, as well as from various institutions such as Casa de América, Residencia de Estudiantes and Institut Français.
It will be held from 6 to 31 March. Music, dance, theatre, cinema, visual arts … A great celebration of creative women.


In the music section, the festival will go back in time to bring music written by women in medieval and renaissance times, recovered and performed by DeMusica Ensemble, as well traditional folk music brought on this occasion by researcher, singer and multi-instrumentalist Vanesa Muela, undoubtedly the most important specialist in Spanish folk music today. Both these concerts will be held in the National Archaeological Museum. Contemporary music will also be on offer, with composer and flautist Marta Mansilla and her jazz-soul group Eme.Eme.Project who will be presenting their new album Pacemaker as part of the festival. And coming to Ellas Crean from the landmark festival for electronic music, Sónar Barcelona and Sónar Istanbul, is the new project of DJ Cora Novoa, Cora Novoa & The Artifacts with Alba Morena. Electronic music and urban styles based on concepts such as dystopia, artificial intelligence, capitalism, dehumanisation. A social critique that the group describes as “an ode to our collective future/present”. The music will be accompanied by the work of video-artist Diego López Bueno.

In this edition there will also be a special programme, with an intimate format, drawn up by ACRecoletosJazz with performances by Cristina Mora, Marlango, Carmen Vela, Alba Molina, Carmen París, Sandra Carrasco, Miriam Méndez, Alana Sinkëy, Guadalupe Álvarez and Verónica Ferreiro, as well as a project to rediscover composer Sylvia Rexach in the company of Ángela Cervantes and Pepe Rivero. Women with brilliant musical trajectories, together with emerging artists, will be offering repertoires featuring different musical styles – jazz, song, bolero, flamenco…
And the academic world will also be present in this edition with concerts devoted to female composers.Music for memory, music for the future.


This year, too, Ellas Crean shows its commitment to dance. The Dance in Museums programme includes work by nine choreographers in different locations within national museums based in Madrid – Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Museo de Artes Decorativas, Museo Cerralbo, Museo del Traje, Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Museo del Romanticismo, Museo de América and Museo de Antropología. As in previous editions, flamenco and contemporary dance come together to showcase the talent of women in this discipline that is so much in need of institutional support. Emerging values alongside artists who have already made their names such as Patricia Guerrero, recent winner of the Spanish National Dance Award for 2021.

And together with Patricia Guerrero will be Leonor Leal, Sara Calero, Taiat Danza, Paula Quintana, Paloma Hurtado, Léonor Zurflüh, Lucía Montes&Mado Dallery as well as Evie Demetriou from Cyprus. These will be proposals in which dance enters into a direct dialogue with architecture, with the museum spaces, staircases, gardens, exhibition halls and, in some cases, will offer world premières (Taiat Danza, Sara Calero and Paula Quintana) of pieces devised precisely for such spaces, in which audience contact is more intense. Dance made by women meets its audience, offering the possibility of a unique aesthetic experience and shared emotion.
And the show by choreographer and dancer Sara Cano, A palo seco, together with the projection of a review of the latest editions of Ellas Crean will be representing us at the Universal Exhibition in Dubai to celebrate 8 March. This activity will take place in collaboration with the Spanish Embassy in Dubai.


Under the title El Corazón and directed by Laura Trentini, Cinthia Delgado and Gonzalo Figari will immerse us in a story based on a real experience through three consecutive monologues in which the common thread is the heart. The venue will be the Casa de América.
Having won many prizes for best play, actress and director, the monologue Pundonor by Andrea Garrote will be performed for the first time in Europe in the Teatro La Abadía.
The festival continues its collaboration with Teatro Urgente, with a performance in the Teatro Quique San Francisco of the triptych La mujer buena, with texts by Karina Garantivá, a reflection on hurt, resentment and morals based on the theories of Nietzsche and Scheler.
Ellas Crean will also receive the long-awaited first performance of Tea Rooms by Luisa Carnés, a key writer and one of the so-called “hatless” writers of the Generation of 27, whose books are currently being re-published. An opportunity to learn more about the reality of Spanish women, working women, in the early 20th century. This will be in the Teatro Fernán Gómez, and will be directed by Laila Ripoll.


The written word will also be featured in Ellas Crean 2022. Today there are more and more women scriptwriters, but the statistics indicate that only about 20% of the scripts that actually make it to the screen are written by women. We shall hear the experiences of a group of women scriptwriters, currently working on large platforms, in the meeting to be held in the Spanish National Library, with Verónica Fernández, Julia Montejo and Gema R.Neira.
The world of research and journalism will also be present at Ellas Crean. At the Residencia de Estudiantes a documentary by Julia Montejo, El acento en el cuerpo, will be presented with participation by Rosa Montero and Lola López Mondéjar. They will talk about the possible influence, if such an influence exists, of female physiology on the creative drive and on writing by women.

In the field of journalism, there will be a special edition of the successful Diario Vivo, which brings the art of telling true stories to the stage in a spectacle that takes place without the possibility of recording, enhancing the excitement of the ephemeral. In Ellas Cuentan, seven women – a policewoman, an activist, a university teacher, a cultural manager, a photographer, a sound technician and an environmental researcher – will narrate in the first person stories that they themselves have written. Unique stories, written and narrated for Ellas Crean.


In the presence of two theatre directors, Sylvie Mongin-Algan from France and Laila Ripoll from Spain, a debate will take place in the Fernán Gómez theatre on Memory and Stage, in a joint French and Spanish project that aims to facilitate the sharing of theatrical experiences, with memory as the main theme. Alongside the two directors will be stage director and visual artist Carmen Mariscal; dramatist, actress and researcher Aurore Evain; writer Alicia Kozameh; dramatist, theatre director and researcher Jana Pacheco, and choreographer Luz Arcas.
Sustainable fashion comes to this year’s edition through an event in the Museo del Traje. Over recent years we have seen an increasing number of creative women who are committed to environmental protection. Circular or sustainable fashion combines the use of organic, regenerated or recycled materials with the advocation of fairer working conditions and minimisation of the carbon footprint. These sessions aim to bring visibility to what is being done and how. They will be organised by the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge.

The chapter on debates will be completed with two meetings in the Institut Français, one on the Women in the Assembly: feminism from the viewpoint of the Assembly of the Philosophers and the Assembly from the viewpoint of feminism, and the other on Migrating Women, with participation by several specialists from artistic and cultural circles. In addition, the Casa Sefarad-Israel will introduce us into the world of big data, explaining how women are entering this sector.


In the field of cinema, the festival maintains its ongoing collaboration with the Institut Français. Four French film-makers, Claire Burger, Nora Martirosyan, Alice Winocour and Marine Francen, with their latest works, will be featured in the special programme dedicated to films by women. And the Ellas Crean festival is invited to participate in “Carta Blanca”, a space offered to people from the world of cinema and culture, which on this occasion will take the form of a meeting on the film-maker, actress, singer and scriptwriter, the multi-faceted Agnès Jaoui, to be followed by the screening of her film Les bonnes intentions.


Under the title Memorias mestizas, the Afro-Andalusian artist Carla Hayes Mayoral will remind us of the colonial past of Spain and Europe by means of a spectacular installation that aims to deconstruct the hegemonic narrative. This proposal will enter into a dialogue with other artists in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, alongside works in the permanent collection. The exhibition forms part of the Kora programme which every year presents an exhibition conceived from the gender perspective.

Finally, the international project on video-letters, Las mujeres cambian los museos (Women change museums), will have a special edition in Ellas Crean with the collaboration of 16 national museums. The video-letters have been conceived as a communication tool and aim to give voice to the memory of women who, as both museum staff or visitors, wish to express their demands, needs, desires or links, with the museum serving as mediator.

They will be created and projected on the websites of these museums during the festival and will become part of their living memory. With coordination by Marián López Fernández-Cao, partners in this project will be Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Ministry of Culture and Sport through the General Department for National Museums.

Enjoy this edition!

Concha Hernández
Director of Ellas Crean

March 2022