Wed Sep 5, 2012, 08:50 AM
xchrom (107,888 posts)
Occupy il Teatro
Clockwise from top left: a packed house at the artist occupied Teatro Valle in Rome; a May performance of Sleeping Beauty; a June ballet by choreographer Enzo Celli. (Photos courtesy of Valeria Tomasulo/Valle)
ROME—When a group of artists took over the Teatro Valle, Rome’s oldest theater, in June 2011, nobody thought they would last long. Yet the artists, actors and crew members who first barricaded themselves in Valle soon grew into a crowd of fierce Occupiers who under the national media spotlight became the country’s foremost anti-austerity crusaders.
Caught by surprise, Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno decided to wait out the Occupiers in a game of chicken. Alemanno was so sure the Occupiers would fail that he offered to pay for Valle’s water and electricity bills. But events did not turn out as the mayor had hoped. Today, around 50 activists live inside Valle and have virtual control over every aspect of its management. An even wider group of sympathizers is involved in organizing free weekly events ranging from the staging of plays by lesser-known artists to performances by up-and-coming musicians to discussions open to the public.
The past year has brought a great number of Italian theaters into the political spotlight in what might be considered the country’s parallel to the Spanish indignados or the Occupy Wall Street movement. Though two different efforts to kick-start an Italian version of the indignados failed—the first large one taking place in June and the second in late October of 2011—the ongoing Valle occupation is a unique response to the austerity crisis crippling much of Europe’s economy.
Before the occupation, Valle was controlled by the Ente Teatrale Italiano, the institute that managed Italian theaters until it was abolished by the 2011 austerity bill passed by Silvio Berlusconi’s late government. As the institute closed down, politicians and city officials scrambled to determine how the theater would now be managed.
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Occupy il Teatro (Original post)
|Fire Walk With Me||Sep 2012||#4|