Major European theaters are common ground in the face of restrictions affecting most of the continent’s stage spaces, which are closed to the public due to measures taken by different governments to curb coronavirus infections. The director of the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, Carme Portaceli, and Michael de Cock, of the KVS in Brussels, promote the manifesto Culture is safe, addressed to the European Parliament. The purpose is that “theater companies from all over Europe can return to work soon” and that theaters can open to the public, as is the case in Spain, one of the few places where there is stage activity, although adapted to the pandemic reality of small capacity. Portaceli and De Cock push forward the manifesto from Brussels, where they are rehearsing a show based on Madame Bovary, whose premiere is scheduled for Feb. 19 at KVS.
For now, the theaters of countries that are great performing powers, such as Germany, Belgium, Italy, France and the United Kingdom, as well as the United States, are closed to the public. The British government, for example, has no plans to lift restrictions until late February or early March because the third wave of the pandemic is being particularly virulent. In France, January 7 was set as the start of the resumption, but the government postponed the reopening without specifying a date. The same is true in Italy, where a decree signed before Christmas required the closure of theaters and museums until January 15, but the measure could be extended due to increased contagion.
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“In Europe and the rest of the world we are aware of the terrible impact of covid on our lives. We understand the need to protect the most vulnerable in society, so we try to act as safely as possible. No sensible person questions the measures designed for the common good, and this manifesto is in no way a call to relax the measures or endanger the physical integrity of the population, “said the manifesto, which has also been joined by directors of Belgian, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish theaters, such as Wajdi Mouawad (La Colline National Theater), Claudio Longhi (Milan’s Piccolo Teatro), Fabrice Murgia (Brussels National Theater), Peter de Caluwe (De Munt / La Monnaie), Milo Rau (NTGent), Serge Rangoni (Liege Theater), Guy Casiers and Maud Van de Velde (Toneelhuis), Chloé Dabert (La Comédie de Reims), Giuliano Barbolini (Emilia Romagna Fondazione Theater), Tiago Rodrigues ( Teatro Nacional Di Maria II), Alfredo Sanzol (Centro Dramát ico Nacional de Madrid), Nuno Cardoso (Teatro Nacional Sâo Joâo de Porto), Txema Viteri (Teatro Calderón de Valladolid) and Anne Goalard (Young Performing Art Lovers).
“We have made every effort to ensure that our teams work and rehearse safely, to guide the inflows and outflows of the public and to maintain the necessary distance within theaters. We have also managed to ensure that the cultural experience is safe. and we are committed to respecting and enforcing all measures, “added representatives of European theaters, who also mentioned the” uncertainty “that is affecting” the arts ecosystem in Europe “. “We can ensure that modern theaters are well ventilated in both Brussels and Porto, and audience management in Paris and Amsterdam is just as good as in Barcelona,” they say in the manifesto.
One of the proposals contained in the document is to develop a common European strategy on “what culture is and what it can mean in these exceptionally difficult times”. “In addition, we ask that those who can ensure compliance with safety protocols be allowed to work. We can tell stories, enjoy and make beauty enjoy, provide comfort and help create future prospects. Protocols exist. We have the experience. necessary to enforce them, “they say.
The manifesto ends with an appeal to the European Parliament: “We cannot consider it normal for theaters to be closed: we ask them to reopen them and let us act in them.”
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