Josep Lluís Sirera (València, 1954 – 2015), a university lecturer, playwright, scriptwriter and theatre activist, was one of the outstanding personalities in Valencian and Spanish theatre.
With a degree in History and a PhD in Philology from the University of València where he became Professor of History of Spanish Theatre, he founded the Master's Degree in Theatre and held other positions. His vast work as a researcher led him to take part in congresses and symposiums—frequently as director and coordinator—and to write for a range of specialist magazines as well as publishing works like El fet teatral dins la societat valenciana (1978), Teatro en el siglo XVI: el ciclo de Lope de Vega (1982), El teatre Principal de València (1986) and Xarxa Teatre: 25 anys sense fronteres (2008, co-authored with Remei Miralles). For many years he was director of the seminars of the Elx Festival of Theatre and Medieval Music, which played a definitive role in the listing by UNESCO of the Mystery Play of Elx as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity (2001).
Notable in his work as a dramaturge are his versions of ancient texts, for example the Misteris del Corpus de València (2000), La Gran Semíramis (2002), and the Cant de la Sibil·la de València (2012). With his brother Rodolf he wrote several trilogies for the stage, these including some of the works that have most revitalised Valencian theatre: Homenatge a Florentí Montfort (1972), El brunzir de les abelles (1976) and, some years later, Silenci de negra (2000), Benedicat (2006) and El dia que Bertolt Brecht va morir a Finlàndia (2006). Some of these plays have been translated into Spanish and French.
Besides being a theatre critic for several publications, he founded and edited the digital magazine Episkenion. He has also written scripts for successful television series, among them RTVE's Amar en tiempos revueltos.
His generosity, his devotion to theatre and his social and political commitment are evident in a number of his activities, both in defending popular and traditional theatre and in his support and guidance of young university students as well as the texts he wrote for them to perform. He left more than one thousand two hundred published works in addition to his unpublished writings.
His career has been recognised with several awards including the City of Alcoi (1971), Serra d'Or (1977), and Valencian Critics' (1981, 1982) prizes, the AAPV Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to the Theatre (2010) and the Performing Arts and Audiovisual awards (2016) of the Interuniversity Institute of Valencian Philology.
Sirera was a member of Associació d'Escriptors en Llengua Catalana (Association of Catalan Language Writers – AELC).
Web page: Francesc Viñas for AELC.
Documentation: Francesc Viñas, Remei Miralles and the Centre de Documentació Teatral (Centre for Theatre Documentation).
Photographs: author's family files.
Translated by Julie Wark.