Coronavirus, the example of Madrid: “Theaters are safe. Reopen them like us «
«The theater is a safe place. The data are there to prove it: no outbreak, no contagion so far». Carla Juliano says it with the passion of those who have dedicated their lives to the stages and with the experience of this shocking and unexpected year, marked by the pandemic. The show went on in Madrid, where since 2017 Juliano has headed the special projects area of the Performing Arts Management department of the Teatros del Canal.
Spain is a virtuous exception for cultural activities in Europe closed due to a virus, and the example followed by other cities from the capital, from Bilbao to Malaga, from Valencia to Barcelona. «As soon as we saw an opening, we immediately went back to work. It was last June 17, we had returned from two and a half months of total lockdown and we understood that we should not let the opportunity slip away», says this Argentine theater producer who has landed. in Spain after thirty years of experience in Italy — also on the set of Federico Fellini in «La voce della luna» — preceded by a solid formation in London and Paris.
June was the month in which, all over Europe, the restrictive measures imposed by the Covid emergency began to be relaxed, but while elsewhere the entertainment world continued to remain paralyzed for fear that public meeting spaces could originating new outbreaks, Spain has chosen the path of gradual reopening. «We were the first,» recalls Juliano. «Our advantage is that Teatros del Canal is a privately run public facility, so it doesn’t depend entirely on ticket sales.»
This is no small advantage, because the consequences of this unprecedented crisis were paid the hardest by the private theaters, especially the smallest ones: it is impossible to cover the high production costs when a small theater is required. limited capacity. «We instead have 4 rooms, the largest of 850 seats, the smallest has 180», says Juliano. «Our restart was neither sudden nor improvised. During the months of lockdown we didn’t stop working even for one day. All the staff were in daily contact on the online platforms, we opened streaming of past shows, replayed interviews with the actors online».
Then the return to the scene, with all the necessary precautions. «We have respected the health protocol with the utmost rigor, in perfect coordination with the provisions of the government and regional authorities. the control of the temperature at the entrance, the sanitizer for the hands and the obligation of a mask during the whole function «. It started with a capacity reduced to 30 percent, then increased to 50. «But when the government decided to increase it to 75 percent, we have to keep it at 50, the spectators felt safer.»
And the public’s response is in the data, those released in these days by the Comunidad de Madrid, which speak of 3876 cultural activities in the region since last June, on average 15 per day including theatrical performances, exhibitions, concerts. «We had to review the programs, adapt to the circumstances, also because the closure of the borders forced us to give up being able to invite international companies, both in theater and in the field of dance». But some new works staged are precisely the result of the reflection of these months of pandemic. Like «Fordlandia», a dance show which, according to the author Lucía Lacarra, «conveys the sensations we experienced in full confinement».