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words of the general director 2021

spring in the teeth (after a song of the Brazilian band Secos & Molhados)

Fernando Zugno


The big equation for me at this time was how to find the flowers in the middle of this sumptuous path that was formed throughout the year of 2021. With the consequences of the pandemic more evident, an even more severe health crisis going hand in hand with the vaccination process and an idea of ​​renewed hope, so that life could be lived with joy. Then came the smiles of a life with encounters, with the return of professional activities - that ones that were meant as essential - many times in a dysfunctional way… but what about art? And the essentials of art? And the creation of beauty that becomes even more urgent in these times of savage everyday violence?


So, if art is a subject of knowledge through aesthetics with ethics, it is quite clear the importance of the existence and realization of a festival that brings together in a space of time a plurality of thoughts and produces various forms of beauty. If violence is inherent to the human condition, then let it be through art that we get in touch with it. Otherwise we are lost. So dance, dance…


With the desire to keep on dancing, we faced all the difficulties of the pandemic - the fears, the changes in society, the crises that prevented us, for the first time, to not have the cooperation of the Special Secretariat for Culture of the Ministry of Tourism through the Law Rouanet - and very proudly we once again put a beautiful and powerful program on the street, bringing together more than 25 national and international works, including shows, performances, installations, exhibitions, speeches, workshops, conversations…


We started from the idea of ​​creating a schedule of urban performances due to the success of those performed last year. In this quest to deliver something exciting and that would interfere with the city's urban scene, I met the artist Xadalu, who moved me when he shared with me the work he was developing, called There is a city above us. A work that rescues the Guarani ancestral knowledge about this sacred territory where the city of Porto Alegre was built. Based on this work and this story told by Cacique Cirilo on the opening day of the Festival at Theatro São Pedro, I started to think about the entire festival program. It turned out to be that: it was not enough to interfere in the city of Porto Alegre, it was necessary to overlay other knowledge, other stories that were marginalized by the colonial process. Because this work, which is now finished and exhibited in Rio de Janeiro, will be placed on the city walls, as is customary in the artist's work. And another work still unpublished called Guarani Garden, is being created and will be exhibited in the noble foyer of Theatro São Pedro along with the speech of the Cacique Cirilo.


We started to put together a program with works such as Camaleões from Brasília, Esquadros captained in Porto Alegre by the project Projetores pela Cultura and with  video artists from all over Brazil, Entities by Jaider Esbell from Roraima and five more shows from Porto Alegre: Anatomia Temporária, Voluntários da Pátria, Respira Não Pira, Kuumba and Bando.


With this, we also wanted to provoke the return of the public's encounters with the living arts, with immersion, experience and the reopening of cultural spaces and the return of the public to the theaters. With the support of the Iberescena project, we created a beautiful South American program with How did things get here? by multimedia artist Ivan Haidar (Argentina); Infinitos, from Colombia, by Carmen Gil, who will create a new version of the work from an artistic residency with the local actresses Sandra and Miriã Possani, mother and daughter who will meet for the first time on stage in this work and She and the pigs of Ignacia Gonzales from Chile.


With the feeling of living in a sort of battlefield to create this artistic program, defining the schedule, budget, approvals and non-approvals of culture projects, we were able to confirm new partnerships through the funding of PRO-CULTURA RS and enrich the program with some works of greatest importance for Brazilian theater such as Altamira 2042 by the wonderful Gabriela Carneiro da Cunha who guides us through reports of the Xingu River and Fantasmagoria nº 2 directed by Felipe Hirsch and his collective Ultralíricos, also adding a local cast.


And, as the creative process is made up of small miracles, one of the shows that had already left the program due to the high technical costs, the video installation Metaverse: we are at the end of something has returned thanks to the partnership of the festival with Fábrica do Futuro, a multidisciplinary space in Porto Alegre, that is hosting the meetings of the festival team and our hybrid program that will be live broadcasted. To our surprise, the space has a projection room perfectly equipped to receive this stunning work that literally places the audience inside a parallel digital reality.


This year, with great joy, we also resumed the decentralization project along with the festival's official program. Local and national groups will perform in the suburbs of the city and further democratize the program. By the way, this year, exceptionally, we are going to make a completely free program precisely to encourage the return of the audience to the theater. Everything, of course, with great care, respecting with great deal all sanitary protocols and taking care of every detail so that crews, artists and the audience can enjoy the shows safely.


And it is in the midst of this crazy scenario in which all sectors of culture are directly affected and seeking to restructure itself and return to personal encounters that we make this festival happen. To fill our city with beauty and knowledge in one more spring. And it is like this, with a joy as big as the challenges, that we will see the Brazilian artists, in the teeth, grab the spring.

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