StartUp of the Week: The Spanish Theatre Company
We love startups that do things differently, and one such business is the Spanish Theatre Company - an energetic arts company bringing the best of Spanish and Latin American theatre to British audiences. With all productions put on bilingually, their passion is to open up a new audience to Spanish and Latin American culture and arts. We caught up with them over a cuppa.
Business name: Spanish Theatre Company
Founders' names: Jorge de Juan, Paula Paz
Loan funds received: 6000
Based in: London
Facebook: The Spanish Theatre Company. London
1. Explain your business in the time it would take the kettle to boil.
We are a theatre company with the aim to introduce the most outstanding Spanish and Latin American theatre to London and British audiences, from Golden Age classics to modern and contemporary masterpieces - both in English and Spanish. We want to become a reference point in London for Spanish-speaking culture and heritage.
2. Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?
We are based in London, the best city in the world for theatre. In the past year London theatres had more than twenty two million audience members, and the theatre industry is growing every year.
In April this year we will have a theatre studio in Southwark close to Waterloo, a cultural area where theatres like the Young Vic, the Old Vic and the National Theatre are buzzing with exciting plays every year.
3. How did you come up with the idea?
Spanish Theatre Company is the brainchild of the renowned director, actor, and producer Jorge de Juan, who arrived in London in 2013 with the express purpose of its creation. Since then, as its Artistic Director, he has been collaborating with Spanish-speaking actors, directors and playwrights, as well as set designers, costume designers, musicians, lighting designers and technicians. He has insisted on forming a creative environment, which is open to all communities, in which artists can practice and extend their craft. A group of like-minded stage professionals, based in London, they want to offer UK audiences all that is the best in Spanish and Latin American theatre.
4. What’s the business model?
Not-for-profit. We are a charity.
5. Who are your competitors?
We share, we don’t have competitors. In any case there is no other Spanish-speaking theatre Company based in London.
6. What’s unique about your business?
That our plays are going to be performed in Spanish and in English with a double cast (starting with two performances in Spanish and five or six in English per week), and all the students that are learning Spanish could come and see performances with a Spanish-speaking cast.
7. What stage was your business at when you applied for the Start Up Loan?
We were at the very beginning of the development of the company.
8. How have you used it to grow your business?
It helped us to start our main project of 2016: the creation of a theatre studio that will open its doors in April.
9. Who is your mentor and how have they helped you?
Natan Lempert of Benson Elliot Capital Management. He has been very helpful giving us advice about funding, and giving us an objective view of the development of our company.
10. Who is your regional delivery partner and how did they help you get a Virgin StartUp loan?
The Association of Independent Music (AIM). They have been very supportive during the process of applying for the loan and they have been following up the development of our company after that.
11. Biggest achievement so far?
We have done many events, performances and activities with a wide press and internet coverage (El Iberico Newspaper is our media partner) and we have developed a very good relationship with institutions such as Southwark Council, Spanish Embassy, King’s College, Spanish Chamber of Commerce, Instituto Cervantes and SGAE (Spanish Authors Society).
We have already started our educational program with the Instituto Cañada Blanch, and we are creating a lot of contacts with Schools and Universities in London.
12. What’s next for your business?
The Cervantes Theatre in London!