Archivo de la categoría: Performing arts

The Popular Theatre has to be Contemporary. A good example

Rotterdam Community Theatre

A concern that always has accompanied to me has been to conciliate the contemporary art with the amateur activity. At the present time on the one hand we see the work of professional artists who offer new readings of the world that we live in, and on the other, an amateur practise who mainly repeats archaic models and stereotypes. In the theater this practise is more than evident  and the activity amateur remains in mere comedy; poorly interpreted in an attempt to emulate the recognized stars.
It makes little sense to consider the amateur or “community” artistic activity if the results do not offer anything new, if only offer cheap entertainment for families and friends; the justification of the “social cohesion” is not maintained by itself. NorI am happy to say that in «community practice» what matters is the process and not the result since if the process is good, the result should be  also good.

Eating and playing

My impression is that there is that we must change the culture of the  amateur practice adapting it to the new times and that we must demand an artistic ambition which in the majority of the cases it is lacked. Putting in the centre quality, contemporary and professionalism does not have to be contradictory with the work of people who feel the performing arts away from their habitual activity or as a vehicle to connect with the reality of the people of around them.

I explain this because a couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to see the work of the Dutch theater group “Rotterdams Wijktheater – RWT” (the translation is more or less  “Community Theater of Rotterdam”). This group of theater is a good example of the effective way that is possible to work with people of the district and talk about the reality around them. In fact it is a professional group that makes all its productions with amateur people. During a period of time they carry out a work of dramaturgy and interpretation with the people of the district, so that in the end it leaves a spectacle interpreted by the own neighbors who speak of the everyday reality of  themselves.


The performance I could see in Rotterdam titled “Kaap Goede Hoop” (Cape of Good Hope)  made a route by a degraded district of the city where their inhabitants explained their experiences, memories and relationships. During four hours and in different spaces of the district, the neighbors relived their past and they faced the multi-ethnic and intergenerational present with total determination to overcome the differences that separate them.

The most interesting was that the players faced their characters quite naturally without wanting to express anything beyond what they are. It were used expressive resources  that each of them owns without wanting to obtain results of its natural deficiencies. In addition, the action was adapted to the spaces  and not the other way around (neighboring houses, bars, gyms, playgrounds, etc.) and, so that the story was perfectly coherent with the environment.

Multiethnic Meeting

In short, betting on a participatory theater as well as being absolutely necessary to expand the artistic activity in our society, should be done rigorously, based on quality, using natural scenic resources of the people and talk about the depth reality of these people and their communities.

Comparing Models of Theatres Management: UK and Germany

Following the studies of the management models of performing arts venues in United Kingdom and Germany, la Red de Teatros Públicos de España (Spanish Network of Public Theatres) asked me to conduct a comparative study of the two models and make it known publicly in its General Assembly. Seguir leyendo Comparing Models of Theatres Management: UK and Germany

Theaters of London. Handbook for Cultural Managers

Continuing the series of handbooks that emerged from educational trips of Red de Teatros Públicos de España I will introduce today the London theatres. The manual (in Spanish) can be downloaded from this address

Teatro Roundhouse de Londre
Teatro Roundhouse de Londres

The report is divided into two parts. The first defines exhaustively the British model of management of nonprofit performing arts venues and cultural policy of the British government regarding the performing arts. In the second part, provides very detailed information of the artistic policies, audience development, education and outreach. Besides, the concepts described are accompanied by the essential information relating to the budget, audiences, technical details, etc.

Theaters described in the report are divided into three groups. On one hand, those who make London one of the capitals of theater worldwide. Of these we chose the National Theater, the Southbank Center, the Royal Court Theater and the Sadler’s Well . A second group is made up of mostly performing arts centres related to the social reality of different neighborhoods or social groups in the city. These are the Roundouse, Theater Royal Stratford East, Battersea Arts Center – BAC and Unicorn. Finally, we move out of London to enter into the reality of a regional theater. Here is chosen the Oxford Playhouse in Oxford City .

I hope this manual, along with the one of Berlin, and with the others that later on will be published, may be helpful to understand the different models on Europe to manage preforming arts venues.

The Theatres of Berlin. Handbook for Cultural Managers

Following the trip I organized last year in Berlin for the Spanish Red de Teatros Públicos (Spanish Network of Public Theatres), this manual has been edited from the  theatres visited on the occasion. The report can be downloaded at (only in Spanish). Seguir leyendo The Theatres of Berlin. Handbook for Cultural Managers

Reasons for Dance and Theatre Programming in Times of Crisis

Originaly published in La Coctelera on May the 5th-2009

Introductory text of the international Conference of performing arts that will takes place in Huesca (Spain) from September 30 to October 2 in 2009

It is too often a fact that the most innovative and avant-garde theatre and dance rarely form part of theatre programmes. The reasons that are put forward to explain this absence are highly diverse, although most of them are to do with their low level of acceptance by a general public that, in general, is more accustomed to viewing the performing arts as pure entertainment or as the reflection of education based on heritage and history rather than a processes of contemporary creation. Another factor is that in times of crisis, the public authorities cut down on the budget assigned to those areas of culture that are considered to be less popular.

Whatever the reasons may be, in this congress we are going to take a positive attitude and not merely describe the difficult reality faced by contemporary performing arts. We have invited nine relevant figures in different fields of the performing arts at international level and will ask them to explain why they consider that today’s performing spaces should find a place in their programmes for contemporary creations. Each of the speakers will bear witness to a situation in which they have stood out and together they will present a detailed set of arguments in favour of the appropriateness of programming innovative, audacious productions in theatres.

Using a more current expression: in the conferences we hope to shed light on the reasons for an I+D+i of the performing arts at this particular moment in time. In the “European Year of Creativity and Innovation” and immersed, as we are, in a global crisis of yet unknown proportions, resorting to the most innovative artistic creations is considered as a detonator for new social, economic and personal development. This detonator is, in the performing arts, the contemporary nature of the artistic proposals and their accessibility for most of society.

Wednesday 30 September

Table 1 – Artistic reasons

Committing ourselves to art and making it accessible to the general public should not need any justification. “Art for art’s sake” has been one of the main philosophical arguments since ancient times: “the need for art is self-justified”. In this context “What place do contemporary performing arts occupy?”, “Do they have intrinsic worth?” and if so, “What defines them and what differentiates them to other performing disciplines?”

Thursday 1st October

Table 2 – Socio-economic reasons

Lately the argument of economic progress is that which has most frequently been bandied about in Spain by politicians and administrations to justify their support of the arts. However the question is, are contemporary arts capable of reactivating an economy in crisis? Can a society in need of innovation help artists’ creativity? Are creative minds necessary for a new type of society? Is this perhaps the first step towards educating in creativity?

Friday 2nd October

Table 3 – Social and personal reasons

Contemporary creation feeds off the reality of the society in which it is developed once again returning said creativity to it. Its receivers, be they individuals or groups, become more aware, transform and develop their own creativity, strengthening their capacity to co-exist and overcoming the barriers of exclusion. Is the population receptive to contemporary creation? Does its transforming capacity affect those that practice it? Is there creation beyond the Academy?

Street Arts in Spain Between Tradition and Innovation

Originaly published in La Coctelera, July 23rd-2006

I published this text in the book «Street Theatre: Impressions and Images» (Internationaal Straattheaterfestival VZW – Gent – Belgium)

A history of authoritarianisms

Situated in the South of Europe Spain is well known by its climatology, sunny days, beaches and Fiestas. Also the tradition, shared by the Mediterranean countries and others in the world that enjoy a warm weather, to establish relationships among people in the public spaces, streets, squares, bars, etc. In Spain the strong historic influence of the Catholic religion fostered the religious rituals in the streets, processions, ceremonial dances and annuals popular gatherings in the streets such as the patron saint Fiestas Mayores. Moreover, because an history of authoritarianisms and hierarchies the society reacted using the public space for the rebellion introducing new forms of artistic expressions in the public spaces in order to communicate the necessary ideas of social changes. Seguir leyendo Street Arts in Spain Between Tradition and Innovation