Interview with María Cecilia Sánchez and Ramón Barranco of Teatro Sánchez Aguilar

“The challenge is to make the public come to the theatre, we are implementing actions for the development of audiences”, Executive Director María Cecilia Sánchez and the Artistic Director Ramón Barranco of Teatro Sánchez Aguilar, Ecuador.


Fundación Sánchez Aguilar built Teatro Sánchez Aguilar to contribute to the cultural development of the Samborondón community in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Since its creation in 2012, this new space has allowed promoting national culture and talent in all artistic expressions, as well as bringing Ecuadorians closer to international programming. Its Executive Director María Cecilia Sánchez and its Artistic Director Ramón Barranco spoke to us about their work and future projects. 


Ramón: What are your challenges for 2019?

Our challenges for this year and the coming ones, are to become the differentiating space, offering titles and productions that would not be possible to be programmed in other cultural spaces of the city. Also continue betting on dramaturgies that talk about different social issues that concern us all, in the case of this year talk about child abuse through the work Hamelin, the RAE academic Juan Mayorga.

Although the biggest challenge is to make the public come to the theatre, and for this we are implementing a direct action in the creation of audiences, offering virtually every weekend children’s performances, with a special look in the world of the smallest, babies up to 5 years. And working with teenagers and young people on projects aimed at their participation in theater programming.

Also continue to collaborate with the cultural fabric of the city and the country, making co-productions with different companies and producers, both ballet, theatre and musicals.


María Cecilia: What do you think is the value of networking, and how do you think joining OLA will have an impact on the relationship between the Teatro Sánchez Aguilar and the rest of Latin America?

Being a private Foundation, any alliance, collaboration or network that is generated is beneficial. It helps us to elevate the work we do and reach different areas. By adhering to OLA we are aware that we are part of a network of theatres that opens the doors and places us on a prestigious platform that demands us and commits us on a path to excellence.  


María Cecilia: For a few years they have been working together with Calderón Theatre in Valladolid, Spain with the cultural project for young people “La Nave” that seeks to develop their artistic skills, tell us about how this alliance is originated, how it has contributed locally and its results. 

La Nave is part of the projects that the Fundación Sánchez Aguilar generates with the purpose of training audiences and giving the opportunity to young people in different stage disciplines. The project started two years ago as part of conversations that our Artistic Director had with the Calderón Theatre and with the creators of the project, Nina Reglero and Carlos Nuevo. It is an opportunity that is offered to the young people of Guayaquil by being able to work hand in hand with two great talents and thus experience and discover their vocation. We also have UrBand band contest and Theatre Marathon, all aimed at new talent.

Ramón: The theatre has several projects and programs such as the Cultural Factory and the Theatre Marathon, tell us about their development and what they consist of, and how the community has received them. 

Within the actions we do due to the mission and vision of the Foundation, we do a great job with the community to bring them closer to the world of theater, both to the general public and to those who want to dedicate themselves to performing arts professionally.

The Theatre Marathon is one of the projects that are born, together with Ur-Band, which is a contest dedicated to emerging bands, since the first season of the theater, in order to attract a young audience. The Marathon is a dramaturgy and staging contest, where emerging groups or companies must offer the embryo of a project or idea to be developed, of no more than 15 minutes and where the prize for the winning group will be the production and putting in scene of the work, with the accompaniment of all theater work teams, from production, construction, technical, marketing and communication, in order to help the professionalization of these groups in all aspects of an artistic production including monitoring Of the same.

The Cultural Factory is aimed at a general public, curious to know in more detail various aspects of the performing arts, and we develop it through conversations, dramatized readings, workshops, conferences, of different topics and thus obtain a more critical and knowledgeable audience of the Artistic method.


Both: True to the objectives of the Foundation, Teatro Sánchez Aguilar has an environmental policy that also applies to all the instruments used, during the production and creation of a staging. How do you reuse and recycle a show? 

Our environmental policy applies both to the materials used in our productions, and in a broader vision, not only by becoming a storage point for community waste, but also by measuring our effluents, air quality, water and noise, and in the use of eco-friendly elements. 

In the specific case of the reuse and recycling of our scenographic elements, we always try to reuse in all our productions, elements such as wood, iron, aluminum, gypsum, etc. Trying to get the most out of it, and not discarding it in every production. We also recycle furniture, props, clothing, etc. Re-giving them life in other productions through new upholsteries, costume designs, etc.

When there are elements that we already believe are not going to be reused, such as tables, chairs, sofas, lamps, etc., we carry out a market with all this among our collaborators, both internal and external, as well as friends of the theater, getting in this way, Not only can we get a refund of the cost of our productions, but also not generate too much waste. And if there is, it is sent to the places that have the different public institutions, Prefecture and Municipality, for recycling.

María Cecilia: In 2012, the Teatro Sánchez Aguilar, the first in Samborondón, was inaugurated. How did the idea come from the foundation of building a theater? How did your construction contribute to expanding the cultural offer in this region of Ecuador? 

It is born from the desire of our founder Carlos Sánchez Aguilar, for whom education and culture have been priorities to cover for the benefit of the community. The Foundation manages educational projects such as the scholarship plan and the Social Promotion Center. A project that worked for culture was missing. The Theatre was a wonderful inspiration that has not only helped to expand the cultural offer but also that all those who are part of this guild constantly benefit from the work it generates. Directors who come from other countries and who are leaving their training, teaching new ways of doing theater. Collaborations that bring learning and development opportunities to the country. All this combined with the work that as a Foundation we do with colleges and universities, is sowing a formation from which the next generations will benefit.


Ramón: What kind of shows can be found in the theatre, and what are the bets for the next seasons? 

Our programming in general is very eclectic, trying to reach the various audiences. We have all kinds of shows like theatre, comedy, drama or social, Ballet, with a tribute to the great English choreographer of the Royal Ballet, born in Guayaquil, Frederick Ashton, musicals such as the staging of Chicago and a Chilean musical dedicated to the figure from Lennon. And of course music, from classical, flamenco, pop and rock and with artists like Ara Malikian, Antón Jiménez, El Mató to a motorized policeman or Kevin Johansen.

To this we must add our projects for young people such as LA NAVE, which we will continue with this project in the coming years, as well as the collaboration we have made with a city association that has been organizing contemporary dance and Ibero-American theater festivals for more than 15 years. .

In the next seasons our theater productions, will be directed towards universal titles of the dramaturgy of the twentieth century mainly, we want to stage works by authors such as: Ingmar Bergman, Neil Simon, John Steinbeck, JP Miller or Federico García Lorca and bet on Newly created musicals, with Ecuadorian authors and composers.

We will also dedicate a cycle to classical music, focusing on the time of Beethoven, thus adding to all the events celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of the German composer. We are also studying the international tours of the Biarritz Ballet, or Café Tacuba and its symphonic concert, or female voices such as Julieta Venegas or Mon Laferte.


About María Cecilia Sánchez de Martinod

Wife and mother of seven children. She graduated as an Economist from Trinity University, Washington DC. Master in Business Administration at George Washington University. Master in Family Educational Counseling from the University of Villanueva attached to the Complutense University of Madrid. After 15 years of work in the field of Education, in 2014 she accepted the commitment to assume the Executive Direction of the Fundación Sánchez Aguilar whose motto is “Educate is Liberate”. The Foundation’s work revolves around the Scholarship Program for adolescents, the Center for Social Promotion and Integral Development that promotes the empowerment of women in productive trades, the Rosa Eva Aguilar de Sánchez Shelter for families that come from outside the province and They have patients in two main hospitals in Guayaquil and the Teatro Sánchez Aguilar, where through their programming they provide a platform to national artists and international events are an important option for the community to have access to high-level companies and artists. In addition, projects such as UrBand, Marathon Theater, La Nave and others of smaller scope have been developed with the purpose of building public and bringing the Theater closer to the community.


About Ramón Barranco

His training is musical, beginning his studies at the conservatory of Valladolid, his hometown. He also studies in Art History and Philosophy. Since the late 70s, he collaborates with different cultural associations in his city, mainly linked to music, beginning to work as a cultural manager.

In the year 85 he began to organize different music festivals in the Autonomous Community of Castilla y León, where his city is capital, the “MUSIC-KOKEN” Contemporary Music festival in Valladolid, the Coral de Ávila Festival, the Sacred Music Festival in Valladolid , Burgos Ancient Music Festival. In 1995 he created his company, BARRANCO, Cultural Productions, dedicated to the Management, Production and Distribution of Performing Arts and Music. Since the end of the 90’s he began working with Latin America, collaborating with festivals such as the FIT of Bogotá, the FIT of Caracas, The FITAM of Santiago de Chile, the FIT of Cádiz, the Manizales Festival, the Don Quijote Festival in Paris or the Festival of the University of Guadalajara (Mexico), among others. It also actively participates in the different Latin American markets, El Mercado de Salvador de Bahia, Puerta de las Américas (Mexico), Redlat, MICA or MICSUR.

Since 2011 he is the Artistic Director of Teatro Sánchez Aguilar, whose employer is the Foundation of the same name.