Shows and Popular Performances in Andalusia

Discover some of the most important cultural and sporting events from the last century

By Andalusian Archives

Archivos de Andalucía

Poster for the spring festival in Seville, 1928 (1905-04-11)Andalusian Archives

Festivals and folklore express the shared culture of a community, encompassing its historic and sociocultural traditions and the ways these are expressed publicly.

This exhibition includes visual and documentary materials from our archives, showing some of Andalusia's most important cultural and sporting events such as football matches; and film and music festivals.

Concha Piquer with a guitar (1927-10-01) by WalkenAndalusian Archives

Shows and popular performances

Theater, film, and music were traditional leisure pursuits in Spain. The content of all cultural activities was monitored by the Ministry of Information and Tourism (1951–77). From song lyrics to play scripts, all public performances were monitored and censored.

Teatro Darymelia. Jaén. (1980/1985) by Consejería de Política Territorial e Infraestructura. Junta de AndalucíaAndalusian Archives


Cinema quickly became one of Spain's most popular leisure pursuits.

From the 1930s onward, several cinemas opened across the country, both indoor and outdoor.

List of movie theaters in the province of Huelva List of movie theaters in the province of Huelva (Approximate data 1960)Andalusian Archives

This document shows a list of all cinemas in the province of Huelva in 1960.

Films were also subject to censorship; Spanish films were censored, while foreign films were cut and tampered with. After 1943, all film showings had to start with the "NO-DO" (News and Documentaries), a documentary which broadcast the activities of the political regime in Spain at that time.

Poster for the 1st Ibero-American Cinema Week in Huelva (1975)Andalusian Archives

Ibero-American Film Festival

The Ibero-American Film Festival in Huelva is one of the biggest cultural events in Andalusia. It attracts an international audience and is extremely successful in promoting Ibero-American film in Europe.

This poster, from 1975, is for the first Ibero-American Film Festival.

The Ibero-American Film Festival is the longest-standing film festival in Andalusia, and the second oldest in Spain.

Its main award is known as the "Colón de Oro" (Golden Columbus).

Philharmonic Society (1916)Andalusian Archives


The Philharmonic Society of Málaga, established in 1869, is one of the oldest in Spain.

It was thanks to this organization, at its peak during the mid-20th century, that virtuosos such as Liszt, Sarasate, Kempf, and Cassadó visited Malaga.

Today, the Philharmonic puts on around 20 concerts per season in the María Cristina concert hall. This venue, as well as being extraordinarily beautiful, is known throughout Europe for its acoustics.

The image shows a Philharmonic Society program from October 1916.

Theatrical stage production Theatrical stage production (2019)Andalusian Archives


Spanish 20th-century theater was characterized by its wide variety of theatrical styles, approaches, and movements.

The Company and Theater School of the Corral de Comedias ARA, whose name is derived from the initials of its founder, Ángeles Rubio Argüelles, was a leading light in the city of Málaga thanks to its efforts to promote and publicize the theater.

Theatrical stage production / 2Andalusian Archives

It was at the ARA Theater, which was established in 1962, that actors such as Antonio Banderas, María Barranco, Raúl Sender, and Fiorella Faltoyano began their careers.

This is a program from 1971 showing a planned schedule of performances on the Málaga-Cádiz theater scene.

Portrait of Estrellita Castro (1925-01-01) by KáulakAndalusian Archives

The "copla"

The "copla" is a genre of Spanish music originating in the early 1920s. Heavily promoted by the Franco regime, it was during this period that it reached its peak, becoming a symbol of national identity.

Popular coplas such as "Ojos Verdes" (Green Eyes), sung by Estrellita Castro in the 1930s, had their lyrics censored by the Franco regime from the very first word right to the end of the song. Song lyrics had to be given prior authorization before they could be performed.

Photograph of Estrellita Castro, dedicated to Rafael Romero de Torres.

Carmelita Borbolla and Antonia “La Gamba”, flamenco dancers (1885-01-01/1885-12-31)Andalusian Archives


Designated as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2010, this musical genre has its origins in southern Spain; principally Andalusia.

Flamenco grew out of the "cafés cantantes" or music cafés, reaching its peak between the mid-19th century and the 1920s. Later, during the years following the Civil War and the early years of the Franco regime, the world of flamenco began to be viewed with suspicion.

Examination request of Fernanda de Utrera (1963-10-25)Andalusian Archives

Cartagenera, Encarnación Santisteban "La Rubia"

However, in the end Franco's dictatorship adopted flamenco as the image of Spanish identity, although in a version that was closer in style to the "copla" and detached from flamenco's popular roots and radical message.

The document shows the application for a singing exam by Fernanda de Utrera in 1963.

Identification sheet of Paco de Lucía (1963-12-31)Andalusian Archives


The flamenco guitar has traditionally been less visible than flamenco singing or dancing.

But it was flamenco guitarists—some of whom were women, although in smaller numbers—who were responsible for encouraging the singers and the dancers to join them in the "cafés cantantes" of the 19th century.

Today, flamenco guitarists (both men and women) fuse their music with other musical styles; predominantly jazz and other types of roots music. This is, to a large extent, the legacy of Paco de Lucía, who is shown in this image from 1963.

National Union for Entertainment license renewal of Matilde Coral (1969-10-31)Andalusian Archives

Sones cubanos, Niña de los Peines


Flamenco dance could be considered the earthiest expression of the art of flamenco. Originating in Spanish folk dances, now considered by certain scholars to be proto-flamenco dances, dancers strike the ground with their feet, as though trying to raise their roots skyward using the strength of their arms.

There are different schools of flamenco dance which also contain influences of bolero and classical Spanish dance, depending on the artist.

This image shows the artist Matilde Coral's identity card. Coral is a key figure from the Seville School of Dance, and the only person to have been awarded the "Golden Key" award for flamenco dance.

Encinasola Dance Group (1948-12-14)Andalusian Archives

"Coros y Danzas"

"Coros y Danzas de España" (Choirs and Dances of Spain) was an organization founded in 1939, as part of the Female Section of the "FET y JONS" (Traditionalist Spanish Phalanx and of the Councils of the National Syndicalist Offensive), which was the sole political party under the Francoist regime.

Its aim was to revive and collect expressions of folklore from across Spain, especially traditional dances that had disappeared over time.

Verdiales, Juan Breva

Competitions and overseas tours were organized to promote and reclaim "authentic Spanish folklore," and to collate information relating to traditional local dances, songs, carols, and costumes.

This photo, taken in 1944, shows the Encinasola Dance Troupe from the province of Huelva, during the 7th National Choir and Dance Competition.

The "Virgen de las Flores" Dance Troupe resurrected dances such as the "Danza del Pandero" (Tambourine Dance) and the Encinasola Fandango, as well as traditional dance costumes.

Real Club Recreativo de Huelva Team (1904)Andalusian Archives

Football (soccer)

This sport, introduced to Spain in the 19th century by Scottish mine workers, is extremely popular today.

The football (soccer) club "Club Recreativo de Huelva," founded in 1889 by businessmen from Huelva and Scotland working in the mining industry, is Spain's oldest football club. In its early days, the team mainly consisted of British sailors and employees of the Rio Tinto Limited company.

The image shows the team of "El Recre," as the team was known, who played in the first cup game organized by the Seamen's Institute in 1904.

Credits: Story

Shows and Popular Performances in Andalusia

Organized by:
Ministry of Culture of the Regional Government of Andalusia

Curator: Gema Herrera Vázquez
Text: Ana Melero Casado y Gema Herrera Vázquez
Directorate General of Historical and Documentary Heritage
Photographs: Provincial Historical Archives of Cádiz, Huelva, Málaga and Sevilla and General Archive of Andalusia
Selection of audios conserved in the Andalusian Center of Documentation of Flamenco
Digital design: Charo Andreu Abrio. Directorate General of Cultural Innovation and Museums

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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