The Barcelona theater director Joan Ollé has died today at the age of 66 from a sudden heart attack in his city. Ollé, one of the best known and artistically valued Catalan stage directors, founder of the Dagoll Dagom company and author of numerous shows, had been at the center of the controversy over accusations of abuse by students at the Institut del Teatre, where he was a teacher , and was subjected to an investigation by the pedagogical center which, in his case, was archived due to lack of evidence. The news of Ollé’s sudden death has shaken the Catalan art world, mediated between those who supported him, including many of his friends, and those who criticized him. The controversy over the Institut del Teatre case has marked Ollé’s career in such a way that if it weren’t for that, today we would simply be talking about the death of one of the most brilliant theater directors of his generation.
Since the accusations were made public in February 2021, based on a report in the newspaper Ara, Ollé, who considered himself the victim of a “witch hunt”, had been subjected to enormous tension and dedicated to the fight to clean up his name of the “public lynching” to which he considered he had been subjected. The last chapter of that fight was this same month of August when Ollé denounced that the magazine Entreacte of the Association of Professional Actors and Directors of Catalonia had censored his name in an interview with an actor who mentioned him as one of his theatrical references .
Precautionarily suspended from his job as a teacher at the Institut del Teatre and welcomed into retirement, Ollé had resumed his work as a theater professional with different projects for this season and the launch of his own theater space in Barcelona, Canuda 26, which It developed different activities and brought together many well-known names from the stage world.
Vitalist, with a strong character and many contradictions, a great sense of humor and undoubted talent, Joan Ollé, well known throughout Spain, had directed the Sitges theater festival, and had made television and radio with the help of his great friend the writer Joan Barrel. An individualist, he moved in the private as well as in the public theater without ever marrying anyone and tracing an absolutely personal path. He was director on several occasions of the institutional acts of the National Day of Catalonia and, however, he was uncomfortable in the most radical pro-independence circles for his unambiguous opinions against them. He considered that the hostility against him in those areas had led to the campaign against him based on the complaints of students from the Institut del Teatre.
In 1974 he founded the company Dagoll Dagom with which he premiered I was a fool and what I have seen has made me two fools based on poems by Rafael Alberti. In 1977 she premiered I will not speak in class, show about childhood memories in the Franco era, when Joan Lluís Bozzo, Anna Rosa Cisquella and Miquel Periel joined the artistic direction of the group.
Among his many stage directions, which he presented at the Teatre Lliure, at the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya or at the Grec festival, are The Truth of Lies, a reading with Mario Vargas Llosa and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón of the Peruvian Nobel’s book, a version of Camus’s misunderstanding at the Teatre Lliure and in 2007 the stage translation of Soldiers of Salamina, by Javier Cercas.
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