“It’s an exciting and enriching experience, and a fantastic way to de-stress and mentally unwind,” says Ed Aldcroft. Ed founded the Barcelona English Choir in 2012, which now boasts over 80 members of all ages and nationalities. It’s one of the many groups on offer to those wishing to get involved with the city’s arguably latent performing arts scene.
Singing, like exercise, releases endorphines (the chemical that makes us happy), and recent studies suggest that choral singing in particular has been proven to boost mental health, in some cases even more so than competitive team sports. Michael Manning, a regular of a Catalan choir in the city comments, “to be honest, I also play rugby but I get a bigger kick from my choir sessions. I think it’s down to being a part of a cohesive social team—a team without the rivalry.”
Back in the day, some of us wouldn’t have been seen dead in a choir, but since the rise of Glee, the Songs of Praise connotations have faded and the modern choir is now so cool that even the boys are signing up.
The Barcelona English Choir is just that—cool. A happy, energetic group of people from all walks of life, there for their love of singing and, of course, to have fun. They sound great. One of their regular singers comments, “I think to begin with I was obviously daunted by the whole idea, and begged a friend to come along with me. They couldn’t make it so I went alone. I don’t think I’ve missed a session since. The hardest part is turning up to the first one.”
And the city’s scene doesn’t just cater to singers. Actors, musicians, even aspiring comedians have a place to go. The BIG (Barcelona Improv Group) started a few years ago and consists of an active and enthusiastic bunch of naturally witty people.
They offer everything from comedy workshops, to improv jam sessions, and hold regular shows open to the public, never failing to entertain their ever-growing audience. Since last year Barcelona has seen a dramatic decline in comedy shows due to budget issues, and it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to find standup in English in the city. BIG are a great alternative to fill that void.
For more information about other groups, the Meetup website is a great source to find anything from Salsa classes to international poetry readings.
Whether you were born with natural stage presence, or just want to have a good sing, individuals across Barcelona are meeting people with shared passions, and having a great time along the way. Check out our list for some of the city’s leading performance groups for English speakers.
The English Theatre Group of Barcelona (ETGB)
Started in October 2013, this theatre group is aimed at English speakers of all ages who want to learn more about acting, voice, stage movement, public speaking and script interpretation. Every term ends with a student showcase, with further opportunity to audition for their full-scale productions twice a year. Classes run weekly on Wednesdays in the Iroom, Carrer Topazi 21, from 7-10pm and cost €10 per class. For information: email@example.com
The Barcelona English Choir
Covering everything from pop and rock, to blues, world music, folk and traditional songs, this large, international group is open to everyone and anyone with a passion for singing. They host annual summer concerts in June and also perform the occasional flashmob. Fronted by singing coach Ed, they hold two regular weekly sessions: Mondays in the Mercat de Santa Caterina from 7pm to 9pm, and Tuesdays in St. George’s Church near Plaça Bonanova from 8pm to 10pm. They also offer sessions for English teachers (due to awkward timetables) on Fridays at the Libreria Proleg, Sant Pere Més Alt 46. 10.30am-12.30pm. Cost is €20 per month. For information: firstname.lastname@example.org