As World Theater Day celebrations are occurring around Colombia, the country’s theater advisor to the Ministry of Culture said the sector is “in crisis.”
Overall the Ministry of Culture’s message for the celebration of World Theater Day on March 27 was a positive one; looking forward to the impact the day will have on the sector and encouraging the Colombian public to take advantage of the many plays, workshops and speeches that will take place across the country.
“This is an event that will recognize the contribution that this artistic expression and its creators bring to Colombian culture and to the artistic development of humanity,” the Ministry of Culture said in a press release Tuesday.
Guiomar Acevedo, director of arts for the Ministry of Culture, invited the country to “take advantage of this day as an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the theatrics and the people who have dedicated their lives to this artistic discipline in Colombia,” adding, “It is vital that we recognize the diversity and richness of the [national theater sector].”
There are concerns however about the strength of Colombia’s theater sector and the long-term effects that celebrations like World Theater Day have on it.
In an interview with Colombia Reports the performing arts adviser to the Ministry of Culture, Manuel Jose Alvarez, said that the theater sector is in a state of “crisis” in various aspects. He called for a “different attitude towards communicating with the public” that “appears and disappears,” turning out in large numbers for the big festivals but not attending theater halls around the country on a regular basis.
Alvarez also lamented the coincidence that World Theater Day falls during Holy Week in Colombia, as many people who would have attended the theater will have left the cities in order to celebrate Holy Week with their families.
However, despite this negative assessment of the state of Colombia’s dramatic scene, Alvarez is optimistic about the measures being taken to reinvigorate the sector.
“The most important thing [about World Theater Day] is that as many people as possible are exposed to what is happening in the theater halls,” he said. According to the adviser, the Ministry’s press office has been working to encourage Colombians to attend the planned events, which will also be distributed via television, radio and social networking sites throughout the day.
“We are urging Colombia to check the program for March 27 to be carried out in theater halls and public and private institutions by theatrical, educational and cultural organizations dedicated to the art of drama and by the people who work to promote the practice and enjoyment of this artistic expression.”
Alvarez spoke of the Ministry’s long-term plans to strengthen the sector, notably describing a national plan of incentives designed to boost the generation of Colombian theater productions and to preserve and continue Colombia’s rich theatrical history.
The incentives are said provide more support for teaching, circulation, creation, and traveling of Colombian works as well as promoting the use of Colombian theater as a platform for the narration of indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities and traditions.
Additionally, the Ministry of Culture has this year compiled 12 new volumes commemorating the history of Colombia’s theater that pay homage to the great Colombian writers, thespians and theatrical groups that have been producing theatrical works for over 30 years.
The volumes are set to be released on April 23 at the Bogota International Book Fair which Alvarez and the Ministry of Culture hope will give fresh life to the current theatrical scene.
- Mincultura invita a celebrar el Día Internacional del Teatro (Ministerio de Cultura)
- Interview with Manuel Jose Alvarez
- Programación especial en el Día Mundial del Teatro (senalcolombia)