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Diccionario biográfico de actores del teatro clásico español (DICAT)

Kassel, Edition Reichenberger, Colección Teatro del Siglo de Oro. Biliografías y Catálogos 2008, Edición digital.


Spanish theatrical documentation from the period we cover is abundant, especially if we compare it to other European countries. We find an abundance of documents regarding contracts between actors and the heads of the companies; contracts with the lessors of the playhouses; the playhouses' ledgers; contracts with municipal or with ecclesiastical authorities for religious festivities and the Corpus Christi festivities; receipts for performances at the royal palace; documents on finances or inventories of costumes and plays, or wills and lawsuits. Such records contain interesting information for the history of Spanish classical theatre and of those who played a leading role in it: actors, actresses, male and female heads of companies, ticket, collectors, musicians and others who did paid work in theatres. Before the publication of our database, all this information was dispersed among multiple sources, and was thus difficult for researchers to track. The main objective of this project was to collect, classify and critically analyze all this information, and make it available to researchers in the form of a database that would allow scholars to examine and compare all these documents.

Methodology and results

In the DICAT database we document the activity of 5,000 professionals of theatre, actors, musicians, prompters and heads of companies. Our records span from the beginnings of professional theatre in Spain (in the 1540s) up to the beginning of the eighteenth century. The geographical scope prioritizes early modern Spain, although we have included some published information on the activity of Spanish companies and actors in other European countries (especially Italy, due to historical reasons) and America.

The biographical entries that are offered within the database organize information chronologically, allowing users both to examine in depth the career of a specific professional or perform several types of searches. Many of these entries ―500 in total― come with the digitalized signature of these professionals. This database helps relate the different entries and fields, allowing researchers to cross-check information in order to conduct sociological analysis, document performances, or establish the number of actors and companies active in certain years or periods of time. In practice, by publishing our research as a database instead of a conventional book (which would be twenty-five volumes long, each one consisting of four-hundred pages) we intend to maximize access to the information and, thereby, push the frontier of knowledge in the field.

The database also includes a supplementary database, with two-hundred and fifty images and videos that will help researchers, instructors and, in general, readers interested in Spanish classical theatre come closer to the different spaces in which the men and women of the theatrical world whose lives we document developed their work. By examining the images of theatrical spaces, machinery, outfits, manuscripts and other documents of this period, users will be able to imagine specific aspects of the actors and actresses' professional activities.

The Diccionario biográfico de actores del teatro clásico español (DICAT) also offers, for the first time, a digitalized edition of the unpublished manuscript, Confirmación de la Cofradía de la Novena, which includes the documents and regulations related to the 1634 of the foundation of the actors' guild. Our edition includes an introduction and a transcription of the original manuscript.



  • Elizabeth Wrigth, Caliope. Journal for the Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry, 15, n. 2 (2009), pp. 97-102. PDF DOWNLOAD
  • Margaret R. Greer, Bulletin of the Comediantes, 62, n. 2 (2010), pp. 137-140. PDF DOWNLOAD
  • Ursula Jung, Romanische Forschungen, 124 (2012), pp. 70-72. DESCARGAR PDF


To acquire this database, click on the following link: http://www.reichenberger.de/


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