Following the success of their 2004 Musical ‘Release The Beat’ also at the Arcola Theatre, Judith Johnson and KS Lewkowicz were inspired to write Goodbye Barcelona by a feature in The Guardian newspaper from 2000, profiling some of the surviving International Brigades members at that time.
These were the people who had volunteered to fight the fascists in the Spanish Civil War, and who had some astonishing stories to tell the writers. Further inspired by the indomitable spirit of the Brigaders, then in their nineties, the writers began working on the show, commissioned by the Arcola Theatre and the Arts Council. There were three readings leading up to the 2011 production, two at the Arcola Theatre as part of their Grimeborn season in 2008 & 2009, and a third at the Royal Academy of Music in 2010. The initial production ran from November to December 2011 at the Arcola Theatre, in time to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War and the formation of the International Brigades. Following the award winning Catalan production at Teatre del Raval in 2013, the success of the show continues with a production in Madrid at Teatro Infanta Isabel from November 2016 commemorating the 80th anniversary of the International Brigades and the Spanish Civil War, as well as readings in Mexico City and Barcelona.