Carmen Romero, director of Fundación Teatro a Mil: “Access to the arts and cultures must be in the new Constitution as a fundamental right”
The reactivation of theaters and public spaces for the Metropolitan region and the rest of the country begins, just when in Congress the discussion on the 2022 budget for the key sectors of culture, education, citizen security and support for SMEs continues on the agenda.
This month, the vice president of the Senate, Jorge Pizarro (DC), sent a document to opposition legislators indicating a 4.8% drop in the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage. Along the same lines, in the Production Development Corporation, the support program for creative industries is reduced from $ 200 million to $ 4 million.
Simultaneously and in the midst of a complex budgetary context, Carmen Romero, director of Fundación Teatro a Mil and one of the main managers for the arts and cultures of this country, collaborates with the reactivation of stages and public spaces in Chile, with a program that includes 16 shows with 37 performances in 28 different places in the capital’s communes and in regions.
In addition, Fundación Teatro a Mil organizes an international tour that will take leading Chilean creators Manuela Infante and Nona Fernández, and LASTESIS, to tour Europe.
His position is key: “Every day we have fewer spaces for arts and cultures,” he says. And then he adds: “We look forward to the replenishment and increase of funds from the Ministry of Arts, Cultures and Heritage, because in these times when support for the arts is required more than ever, emergency funds have to return”.
– What are the biggest challenges of being reunited with the face-to-face performing arts?
– Theater and the living arts, in general, require the public, and build community. The rite is consumed in the encounter with the other. Meeting again in theaters, in theaters, in public space, is like being reborn after the war. Although we have resisted, and we have reinvented ourselves in these difficult times, for the artists and for our audience, with the development of the Teatroamil.tv platform, we need to be present, our food is interaction with the public, and that creators can display their art. We repeat it insistently during the pandemic, the culture is safe, we know how to take care of ourselves and the rest, by the way much more than going shopping at a mall or traveling on a plane. Cultural spaces were the first to close and the last to open.
We thought that the presence with the public was going to be more complex, but the truth is that everything we have done in the room has turned out to be on board. We had 6 performances at the Finis Terrae theater with Brief Encounters with Repulsive Men, with a capacity of 50% of the room, which is what we were allowed, and it was completely full; The same has happened with our co-production How to become a stone, by Manuela Infante in Matucana 100. One of the great challenges we have today is for people to regain the habit of going to the theater, to the cinema, to a museum , and in that we believe that the role of the media is fundamental. Unfortunately every day there are fewer spaces in the media to disseminate the cultural billboard, and less to delve into topics related to artistic creation. There we have a pending task, but little or nothing is said about this.
– Where is the main focus of attention for face-to-face meetings? What places have you chosen for the distribution of the works?
– The festival takes place in communes and regions and that is what we like to provoke the most: decentralize, be able to be with the people, be in the territories and that has been our focus, to be where the people are. We are programming, in these months of the end of the year, what we could not do in January, in squares, in cultural centers, in the communes that we have always been like in San Joaquín, in La Granja, in La Pintana, in Pudahuel, in Renca, Santiago, Recoleta, etc. Let us remember that the festival is carried out with the support of BHPMinera Escondida (under the Law of Cultural Donations) and the Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage, but it is a collective project, which needs the participation of the communes, the municipalities , of the neighborhood associations, of the communities that exist in the territories, so that we can develop it.
– What are the strategies and actions that the Teatro a Mil Foundation is directing to reactivate the sector after the pandemic?
– Well, don’t stop. Do not abandon the artists. The year of the pandemic we created a program called Creative Territories that gave rise to 15 new works in each region, which was curated in each of the regions and then the collectives were supported with an international mentoring, with the participation of artists who have been part of the festival. The construction of Creative Territories has been a beautiful process, of discovering these new artists, of supporting them with a grain of sand. We also bet on co-productions connecting great international artists with national casts, with the focus on the companies continuing to work, continuing to create. We always say that artists are important, not for themselves, but for people. Culture is a basic commodity. Democratic access to the arts and cultures must be in the new Constitution as a fundamental right.
Billboard of Fundación Teatro a Mil
– What are the next performances of the Teatro a Mil Foundation during this last quarter of 2021?
– Between October, November and December we are doing the shows that we could not do during the festival in January. Next weekend we have free performances with Gea, an ode to nature by Teatroonirus in San Joaquín, El Ogrito by Compañía Pat’Côte in Talca, a new Campo de Estrellas show by Contratiempo company this Thursday in Villarrica (the end last week we were in Temuco) and El Horacio in the version of Colectivo The Braiers and directed by Néstor Cantillana, on Sunday 17 in Pudahuel.
We will be with Operas Mil projecting outdoors on screens, free of charge, in squares of the city of Santiago throughout October. Le Rossignol in Lepage’s version, Requiem and Rigoletto, are the operas that make up the cycle that started last Saturday in Recoleta.
In digital, we continue with Al Teatro – a cycle dedicated especially to the elderly presented together with Sura Asset Management – which began from September 21 to October 23. We are also exploring with cinema and documentaries; now with an alliance with FIC Viña Industria through Teatroamil.tv, where we will premiere on October 16 the documentary CAM: Liberar una Nation. and the documentary A winged man, which is the life of Gustavo Cerati. Along these lines, we will program on Teatroamil.tv a selection of seven shorts from the University of Chile’s Film and Television career, creations recorded in pandemic, which will be available for free from October 11.
And we continue to promote the international circulation of national companies. This semester we are on a tour in various European countries with “Resistance or the vindication of a collective right” by LASTESIS, Space Invaders by Nona Fernández and the company Piece Dark and Manuela Infante with two works, Vegetal State and How to become stone.