CDN is the abbreviation of Centro Dramático Nacional (National Drama Center), Spain’s first theatre production unit, created by the Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escénicas y de la Música (INAEM, or National institute for the performing arts and music), attached to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. From its founding in 1978, the CDN’s primary mission has been to disseminate and consolidate the various schools and trends in contemporary dramaturgy, with a special focus on the work of current Spanish playwrights.
The history of the CDN has passed through several phases, coinciding with the terms of office of its successive directors: Adolfo Marsillach (1978-1979), the triumvirate composed of Nuria Espert, José Luis Gómez and Ramón Tamayo (1979-1981), José Luis Alonso (1981-1983), Lluís Pasqual (1983-1989), José Carlos Plaza (1989-1994), Amaya de Miguel (1994), Isabel Navarro (1994-1996), Juan Carlos Pérez de la Fuente (1996-2004), Gerardo Vera (2004-2011) and the current director, Ernesto Caballero, since January 2012.
Since its creation, the institution has offered more than three hundred theatrical productions. Outstanding among these are plays representing a complete panorama of 20th century Spanish dramatic art: Valle-Inclán, García Lorca, Jardiel Poncela, Max Aub, Buero Vallejo, Alfonso Sastre, Francisco Nieva, José María Rodríguez Méndez, Alonso de Santos, Fernando Arrabal, Fermín Cabal, Sanchis Sinisterra, Benet i Jornet, Adolfo Marsillach, Juan Mayorga and Lluïsa Cunillé. During the nearly three decades of the CDN’s history, its productions have benefited from the participation of the most prominent directors, set designers, actors and actresses, costume designers and professionals from Spain, as well as distinguished figures of the international stage.
The CDN has two facilities for its activities: the María Guerrero Theatre and the Valle-Inclán Theatre. The institution’s management and production capacity allows it to schedule performances in these two permanent spaces simultaneously while sending its productions out on tour, both in Spain and abroad.