by Pedro Calderón de la Barca

A great montage compiling the masterpiece’s poetic beauty, dramatic conflict and philosophical depth.

15 to 16 december 2023
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La vida es sueño (Life is a Dream), Calderón de la Barca’s masterpiece, revolves around predetermination of human life and our ability to find spaces for freedom in life’s setbacks. The play is a wonder of Golden Age literature as it augments poetic beauty, dramatic conflict and philosophical depth. Cheek by Jowl returns to the Spanish Golden Age (in 1989 they made Fuente Ovejuna at London’s National Theatre) with their first production in Spanish, directed by Declan Donnellan and designed by Nick Ormerod. Both make their mark by focussing on the actor, the text and the space.

A prince chained up in a mountain. A young woman disguised as a man seeking revenge. Revolution, love, murder…but is any of it real? Or is it all a dream? A green wall of doors welcomes the audience. When the lights go down, a relationship is forged between the actor and the audience. We hear Calderón asking “What is life?” And his answer is “An illusion, a shadow, a story, for all life is a dream and dreams themselves are only dreams.”

The team

Author: Pedro Calderón de la Barca.
Adaptation and Dramatist: Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod.
Director: Declan Donnellan.
Cast: Goizalde Núñez, Ernesto Arias, Rebeca Matellán, David Luque, Manuel Moya, Alfredo Noval, Irene Serrano, Antonio Prieto, Prince Ezeanyim.
Musical composition: Mariano García.
Assistant director: Josete Corral.
Staging and Costume: Nick Ormerod.
Lighting: Ganecha Gil.
Movement consultant: Amaya Galeote.
Production: Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico, Cheek by Jowl, LAZONA Teatro.
Executive production: Elisa Fernández, Miguel Cuerdo.
Working with: Barbican Centre, Scène Nationale d’ALBI•Tarn.


Day 15 – 19:30 h.
Day 16 – 19:00 h.


13 - 25€ /discounts

Friends of Arriaga:
from 25% to 35% DISCOUNT.

Groups, young people, over-65s, unemployed, large families and people with 33%+ disability:

Theatre professionals:

Last minute discount (for above-mentioned groups, except Friends of Arriaga and groups):

Last minute discount for Young Friends of Arriaga:

People with disabilities who use wheelchairs:
50% DISCOUNT (in proscenium balcony and one accompanying person)


1h 45min.