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Founding Director

José Luis Gómez

Born in Huelva, after graduating from the Institute of Dramatic Art of Westphalia, in Bochum, and from the Jacques Lecoq School, in Paris, José Luis Gómez carried out his first professional assignments as an actor, mime-artist and, later on, movement director, at the leading theatres of the Federal Republic of Germany. With a series of self-created shows and cutting-edge mime-dramas that radically changed the idea of pantomime in his day, he was invited to take part at international festivals such as those of Basle, Berlin, Frankfurt, Prague and Zurich.

An encounter with Jerzy Grotowski in Wroclaw, in 1971, precipitated his return to Spain, where he produced, directed and acted in productions such as "A Report to an Academy" by Kafka and "Kasper" by Handke, with which he toured the Spanish and American stages. His performance in "The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui" by Brecht and his award-winning starring role in the film, "Pascual Duarte", by Ricardo Franco, were both high-points in his career. He went on to work with film-makers such as Armiñán, Bollaín, Brasó, Camino, Chávarri, Gutiérrez Aragón, De la Iglesia, Losey, Pilar Miró, Saura and Gonzalo Suárez.

In 1978, following a period of study in New York under Lee Strasberg, he assumed management of the Spanish National Drama Centre, alongside Nuria Espert and Ramón Tamayo. Two years later he was appointed Head of the Teatro Español. His most important assignments from this period include the following: the staging of "Bodas que fueron famosas del Pingajo y la Fandanga" by Rodríguez Méndez, which he opened at the National Drama Centre, "La velada en Benicarló" ("Evening at Benicarló"), based on original texts by Manuel Azaña, and "La vida es sueño" ("Life's a Dream") and "Absalón" ("Absalom") by Calderón de la Barca.

His performance as the lead actor in "Oedipus the King", under the direction of Stravros Doufexis, and "The Judgement" by Kafka marked his return to the commercial stage, a period interspersed with an appearance in a State theatre production of "Hamlet" at the National Drama Centre, under the direction of José Carlos Plaza. At around this time he also directed and produced "Bodas de sangre" ("Blood Weddings") by Lorca, "¡Ay, Carmela!" and "Lope de Aguirre, traidor" ("Lope de Aguirre, Traitor") by Sanchis Sinisterra and, once again at the National Drama Centre, "Azaña, una pasión española" ("Azaña: A Spanish Passion") , based on a diverse series of texts written by Azaña himself, a production that he would later take up at La Abadía again.

In 1992 he brought "La vida es sueño" ("Life's a Dream") to the Théâtre de l'Odéon and the following year he directed "Carmen" at the Ópera de la Bastille, both in Paris.

Since that time, he has thrown his energies into the conception, management and direction of the Teatro de La Abadía, which was inaugurated in 1995 and where he has carried out the following projects:

As a Stage Director:

"Retablo de la avaricia, la lujuria y la muerte" ("Tableau of Avarice, Lust and Death") by Valle-Inclán (1995)
"Castillos en el aire" ("Castles in the Air") by Fermín Cabal (1995)
"Entremeses" ("Interludes") by Cervantes, co-directed by Rosario Ruiz Rodgers (1996)
"Baraja del rey don Pedro" by Agustín García Calvo (2000)
"Messiah - Scenes from a Crucifixion" by Steven Berkoff (2001)
"Defensa de dama" ("Defence of a Lady"), by Isabel Carmona and Joaquín Hinojosa (2002)
"Exit the King" by Eugène Ionesco (2004)
"La paz perpetua" ("Perpetual Peace") by Juan Mayorga (CDN/Abadía, 2008)

As an Actor:

"The Chairs" by Ionesco, directed by Carles Alfaro (1997)
"Mr. Puntilla and His Man, Matti" by Brecht, directed by Rosario Ruiz Rodgers (1998)
"Play Strindberg" by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, directed by Georges Lavaudant (2006)
"Fin de partida" by Samuel Beckett, directed by Krystian Lupa (2010)
"El principito" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, dir: Roberto Ciulli (2012)

As a Director and Actor:

"Azaña, una pasión española" ("Azaña: A Spanish Passion") (2000)
"Memoria de un olvido", based on texts by Luis Cernuda (2002)
"A Report to an Academy", a new theatre adaptation of Kafka's short story (2006)
"Diario de un poeta recién casado", based on texts by Juan Ramón Jiménez (2009)

In 2008 he stages Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra" at the Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona).

Among his most recent roles at the cinema, we might mention the following: "El séptimo día" ("The Seventh Day") by Carlos Saura (2004), a film based on the crimes of Puerto Hurraco; "Hormigas en la boca" ("Ants in the Mouth") by Mariano Barroso; "La buena voz" ("The Good Voice") by Antonio Cuadri (2005); "Goya's Ghosts" by Milos Forman (2006); "Teresa, el cuerpo de Cristo" ("Theresa: The Body of Christ") by Ray Loriga (2007); "Los abrazos rotos" by Pedro Almodóvar (2009); "Todo lo que tú quieras" by Achero Mañas (2010) y "La piel que habito" by Pedro Almodóvar (2011).

Among the awards that José Luis Gómez has received, we might highlight the following:

For Specific Theatrical and Film Work:

- National Award for Best Foreign Work, for "Kasper" (Chile, 1973)
- Madrid Critics' Gold Medal for "Arturo Ui" (1975)
- Grand Prize for Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival, for "Pascual Duarte" (1976)
- Premio Sant Jordi de Cine al Mejor Actor, por Pascual Duarte (1976)
- Theatre Reporters' Award of Mexico City, for "Woyzeck" (1976)
- Pablo Iglesias Award for Best Show, for "La velada en Benicarló" ("Evening at Benicarló") (1980)
- Madrid Critics' Award for Best Actor, for "La vida es sueño" ("Life's a Dream") (1981)
- Award for Best Foreign Show, for "Bodas de sangre" ("Blood Weddings") (Montevideo, 1985)
- Ercilla Award for "Azaña, una pasión española" ("Azaña: A Spanish Passion") (1990)
- Award from the Stage Directors' Association of Spain (ADE), for his staging of "Retablo de la avaricia, la lujuria y la muerte" ("Tableau of Avarice, Lust and Death") (1995)
- Ricardo Calvo City of Madrid Award for his performances in "The Chairs" and "Mr. Puntilla and His Man, Matti" (1999)
- ADE Theatre Direction Award for his staging of "Exit the King" (2004)

For His Career As a Whole:

- National Theatre Award (1988)
- Andalusian Award for Culture (1992)
- Croix de Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, granted by the Ministry of Culture of the French Republic. (1997)
- Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, a distinction presented by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany (1997)
- Gold Medal from the Fine Arts Circle (2001)
- Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts from the Spanish Ministry of Culture (2005)
- Culture Award from the Madrid Regional Government (2006)
- Andalusian Radio and Television Award, presented at the European Film Festival in Seville, for his film career (2007)
- Premio Ciudad de Huelva (XXXV Festival de Cine Iberoamericano de Huelva, 2009)
- Premio José Val del Omar de Cinematografía y Artes Audiovisuales (2009)
- Premio Ciudad de Alcalá de las Artes y las Letras (2010)
- Medalla de Oro de la Provincia de Huelva (2011)
- Doctor honoris causa por la Universidad Complutense de Madrid (2011) / Discurso pronunciado con motivo de su investidura (23/03/2011)
- Académico de la Real Academia Española (2011) / Discurso pronunciado con motivo de su ingreso (26/01/2014) / Vídeo discurso de ingreso en la RAE
- Premio Observatorio D'Achtall en la categoría de Gestión Cultural (2013)
- Gran Cruz de la Orden del Dos de Mayo (Comunidad de Madrid, 2014)

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