lunedì 11 agosto 2014

Teatro Valle occupiers quit the theater, but don't go far

Activist artists want to run the theater jointly with the city

(ANSA) - Rome, August 11 - Theater artists and staff who three years ago occupied Rome's oldest theater to save it from privatization left the historic Teatro Valle on Monday but didn't go far, camping out in the foyer to keep up the pressure on city authorities to negotiate with them on the future of the beloved institution.

A former opera house built in 1726, the Valle was occupied by a group consisting of actors, musicians, directors, technicians, and creative staff in June 2011 amidst rumours that it was to be privatised and would lose its artistic independence. As part of sweeping budget cuts to the arts first carried out by the center-right administration of Silvio Berlusconi, the government had recently shut down the Ente teatrale italiano, a State organization to promote Italian theater which partially supported the Valle, leaving it unprotected. During the three years of its occupation, the Valle activists programmed an uninterrupted stream of free classes, seminars, film screenings, concerts, and plays by leading Italian and international artists.

The former occupiers have a list of demands they want to discuss with the city. These are for the theater to be a place to experiment with innovative models of cultural management, for the theater to be run by "a community of artists and theater workers, with the participation of citizens at large", and for the city and the Foundation to come up with a schedule of repairs and renovations together, "in order to keep the theater open to citizens as much as possible". The activists on Monday built a stage outside the theater they just quit, where they will carry on with their artistic work while waiting for the city to enter into talks on the future of the theater. 

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