A BRIEF HISTORY
Founded in 1958, Teatro Oficina went professional in the 60s and gained immense national and international critical and public acclaim. In plays such as “O Rei da Vela” (The Candle King), “Roda Viva” and “Gracias Señor”, the Company made experiments in removing the actor from the stage; getting the audience off their seats; in the 70s, was censured and forced into exiled by the military regime, coming to re-exist in Portugal by both performing in factories during the Carnation Revolution and also by making films in Portugal, Mozambique, England and France.
With the slow, gradual and limited political opening of the country, the Company resumed, little by little, its activities in Brazil. In 1984, it became an Association (Associação Teatro Oficina Uzyna Uzona), pouring into the mix of theatrical rites, music, visual arts, video, architecture, urban planning – a co-creative process between artists. Under constant threat of property speculation, the theatre went under the protection and conservation of the state of São Paulo, allowing the continuation of a scenic research, which included the construction of a new theatre, one that would move forwards with theatrical discoveries stripped of stage and audience: a terreiro filled with light, sound and video technology that extends to the surroundings of the theatre, to the areas turned into rubble by real estate speculation in São Paulo.
This theatre – designed by Lina Bo Bardi and Edson Elito, but at the time still lacking its future expansion into the surroundings –, opened with Shakespeare’s “Ham-let” (Hamlet), in 1993, and caused great impact, followed by montages that, to this today, compose the Company’s repertoire, such as “Bacantes” (The Bacchantes), by Euripides, and “Os Sertões” (Rebellion in the Backlands), by Euclides da Cunha, in his avenger novel.
The continuity of the architectural and urban planning work at Teatro Oficina should encompass all of the area – non-built, demolished, taken down – of the block surrounded by the streets Abolition, Jaceguay, Santo Amaro, Japurá and Bexiga, circling the freeway Minhocão across the street from Jaceguay: this is “Anhangabaú da Feliz Cidade” (Anhangabaú of Happy Town). It foresees a Forest Workshop, the Anthropophagic University and Stadium Theatre, ephemeral constructions that act with and react to the lot inhabited by green, the largest free empty space of São Paulo.
The anvil – where iron and bodies are forged, where life is both transformed and played – has been the company’s symbol since its foundation, and an iron anvil was placed by Lina Bo Bardi on the building’s facade, on its head.
Teatro Oficina Today
Oficina became a multiple and unique Company next to other dramatic arts’ schools and existing companies today not only for the number of components and broad work repertoire that it holds, but mostly due to the variety of present generations sharing knowledge and creative processes.
More than a group, Teatro Oficina is a movement that places the arts and culture as infrastructures of life on center stage, fundamental forces which enable us to think and create new social, political, economic, environmental, emotional values.
The cultivation of culture at Rua Jaceguay 520 is inseparable from its surroundings in the historic district of Bixiga. Transformations simultaneously taking place on the building and in the vicinity alter and influence a practice of Total Theatre, and vice-versa. Therefore, the anthropophagic perspective was instrumental in developing a new relationship with the audience and with the space, through the rebirth of Dionysian Choruses in Brazil, and also of the scenic space as an acting place – the reclaiming of the psychic-physical contact with the audience, such as we see in Carnaval, Candomblé, and Indigenous Rituals. At that time, Oficina welcomed and performed with the audience, which is constantly renewed by newer generations.
In 2015, the Association Teatro Oficina Uzyna Uzona achieved the feat of staying in run for a year-long season in the midst of absolute crisis. The Company, since its foundation, has traversed many such crises and has repeatedly and aesthetically reinvented itself by a concrete relationship with time, space and physique of Total Theatre actors. Crises breed creation, whether we like it or not. A continual theatre company is a human laboratory, a microcosm of collective experience – one of the great challenges of the present times. It is within a company that we evolve on how to be, a collective living, breathing Creation in Crisis.
Precisely due to its magnitude, structure and constant need for maintenance, the box office and sponsorship income do not allow Teatro Oficina to keep up the artistic, cultural and physical work; the film and video collection; the scenic architecture, costume design and headquarters. The theatre is a renowned work of art awarded at Prague’s quadrennial, and which for three times has been listed for protection and conservation as a heritage site and, recently, was elected by Rowan Moore (architecture critic for the prestigious The Observer/The Guardian, UK) the best theatre in the world, not only for its architecture, but also for the intensity of the “Carnaval operas” staged there.
Maintaining a theatre is highly expensive.
Maintaining one that is a work of art is much more. It requires specialized, qualified professionals that share an aesthetic affinity both with the architectural design and with the Company’s work in the world today. The theatre at present, a moment of the greatest inequality in human history, is the most despised art form. Making our projects come to light, especially in the pursuit of a “Multitude Theatre”, requires investment and sponsorship.
Ever since “Os Sertões” (Rebellion in the Backlands), the plays have a mob for a crew – about 60 people. The work is highly expensive, valuable and requires dedication. We could even go beyond: with conditions of an equitable payment for the team that not only stages and acts in the shows, but is plugged into IT ALL – maintaining the space, designing our urban sprawl, providing continuity to Lina Bo Bardi’s project and the Company’s aesthetic mainframe, which exists since 1958.
Petrobras has been instrumental to Culture, and Culture, thus, shall recycle Petrobras, ending an era by moving on from oil to the generation of renewable energy.
Their sponsorship is very important, in fact, it’s essential – it is the basis of investment that upholds the continuity of our work, that keeps the fire burning in the Company’s core, that for 11 straight years has allowed us not to stop.
But it is not enough to support the Company all year round + staging a new show + maintenance of the “best theatre in the world”, according to The Guardian.
In addition to the theatre’s physical structure, which is owned by the State of São Paulo, we, squatters, fully cover all of the expenses – water and power, cleaning, repairs. The Company covers our production office expenses, our warehouse for stage props on Rua São Domingos, a collection of costumes on Rua Major Diogo, and another warehouse beneath the freeway Minhocão for large objects.
Beyond the montage of the plays, we have a monthly expense with the collection and the team that performs this work, not to mention the needs for actor training and cyber-artists, our daily work of music, dance, technology, and studies.
In 2016, the total amount of our maintenance sponsorship by Petrobras is of R$ 800,000.00 (approximately USD$ 230,000.00) – which is a lot of money –, but take a look at how much one year of work costs (and is worth):
1) Company Headquarters’ Maintenance:
Total amount: R$ 360,000.00 (approximately USD$ 103,000.00)
R$ 30,000.00 x 12 months (warehouse rental + bills for water and power, telephones, internet, cleaning and janitorial staff)
2) Company Artistic Core’s Maintenance
Total amount: R$ 2,160,000.00 (approximately USD$ 620,000.00)
60 artists x 12 months x R$ 3,000.00 (minimum/medium that enables exclusive dedication to theatre)
3) Production and Staging of Plays:
Approximate amount: R$ 200,000.00 (approximately USD$ 57,000.00)
(expenses with scenic architecture, costumes, graphic material, staging and lighting and video equipment, reflector and video projector light bulbs, wireless microphone maintenance – which are plenty, because the cast is huge –, publicity and advertisement).
The sum of these 3 items is of R$ 2,720,000.00 (approximately USD$ 780,000.00)
This does not include tours (which require stage and space adaptation, equipment rental and transportation, food and lodging for 60 people), nor expenses with the production and staging of plays from our repertoire.
For all this, we need other sponsors in the fashion of Petrobras and also direct investment, as is the case with art institutions worldwide that receive countless donations from generous patrons, who invest in the existence of such cultural worth.
Donate your Tax Revenues
You can allocate part of your tax revenues to the project Oswaldianas 2016!
Association Teatro Oficina Uzyna Uzona had its 2016 annual plan of activities approved under legislation of the Rouanet Law. Therefore, your donation can be deducted in up to 100% of your annual tax filing for the following year.
You can allocate up to 6% of your tax income to cultural purposes by making a deposit into an open account owned by the Ministry of Culture.
The donation can be deducted in up to 100% of your annual tax filing for the following year.
In other words, you make the donation until December 31st 2016 and deduct it from taxes to be filed in 2017.
You may offer your support to Teatro Oficina through the project Oswaldianas – PRONAC 159692.
Account for deposit:
Associação Teatro Oficina Uzyna Uzona
Company Registration Number: 53.255.451/0001-36
Banco do Brasil (Bank of Brazil)
Routing number: 2809-6
Checking account: 29982-0
Email us the deposit receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org
After confirmation of the deposit, we will send you a patronage receipt to be included in your tax filing, in accordance with the standards established by the Ministry of Culture.