I was asked to write this article for “IETM Engage!”, newsletter of International European Theatre Meeting. The newsletter main goal is to highlight activist operations and present initiatives outside the network to reduce the impact of public cultural budgets cuttings in Europe and other restrictive laws for the cultural and artistic development.
What was a major change in Catalonian cultural policy when the first executive Arts Council in Southern Europe was born in 2008, has lost its executive responsibilities. On December 21, 2011 the Catalan Parliament approved a new law that drives cultural policies back to the periods of greater political interference. Seguir leyendo The Catalan Arts Council Reduced to an “Advisory Agency”→
I wrote this report four years ago as a result of the training trip I curated for the “Spanish Network of Public Theatres” to London and Oxford. In this trip, around 30 Spanish directors of public theatres traveled to London to meet English colleagues, exchanges information with them, being familiar with their projects and visits the spaces.
The report is written both in Spanish and in English and cover main aspects of cultural policies in England, description of the English model of management of theatres and a complete review of the theatres visited.
The performing arts spaces are divided into three geographical areas that cover three different theatre models. These spheres can be visualised as three concentric circles whose central point is in the centre of London. Seguir leyendo Theatres in London and UK→
Just published the third volume devoted to the Netherlands in the collection «La Red Travel Notebooks». This collection began with London and Berlin, is the result of the training trips I’ve been designing annually for the Spanish Network of Public Theatres. Its aim is to present models and best practices in managing theatres and concert halls in Europe. In addition, in each of the volumes is an immersion in systems of cultural policies that give its support to public and subsidized theatres.
The three volumes have been reissued in a new design and published bilingual, Spanish and English. With this step the activities of the Network of Spanish Theatres goes beyond, starting as an international research centre specializing in management of performing arts venues. The new publications can be downloaded at the following links:
The new volume includes a first part of cultural policy and the Dutch system of performing arts exhibition. The second section describes the most innovative venues of Holland from the point of view of management, the artistic project and its architecture. Among others presents the Rotterdamse Schouwburg, Rotterdam Zuidplein Theater, Theaters Tilburg, Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam and Het Muziektheater aan’tlj Muziekgebouw, these last two important concert halls in Amsterdam. All theaters show the main figures for its operation: budgets, audiences, number of representations, etc.
The three volumes are an indispensable collection if you want to learn the differences between the various management models of subsidized European theatres. Also provide a perfect tool for catching up on trends and innovations that pioneered performance spaces of Europe are currently developing.
Presentation of «mov-s/madrid 2010 to be held at the «Centro de Arte Reina Sofia» in Madrid and performing arts venues of the city from 10 to 13 June. Information www.move-s.org
Under the generic title of “The Active Spectator”, the third edition of mov-s aims to delve into the reality of today’s audience. The relationship between performer and spectator can be enriched through the transformation from a passive spectator to an active spectator, who is the protagonist in their relationship with the artist. Considering the spectator as being intimately involved with the artist’s work is a path relatively little explored by the arts, in particular the dance and movement arts, and is a way for a large number of people to be involved in artistic creation. Seguir leyendo «mov-s/madrid 2010» – The Active Spectator→
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.
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.
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.
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.