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Project of the Day: Teatro Valle Occupato

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
8th September 2013


“After the occupations of Cinema Palazzo and the Teatro Valle, the occupy culture movement increased and became contagious, il Teatro Marinoni, the Coppola Theatre of Catania, the Garibaldi Theatre, the collective of the Balena of Naples with the Asilo della creatività e della conoscenza. Macao in Milan and the already existing S.A.L.E. Docks in Venice, are all experimenting innovative models of daily bottom up productions.”

This occupied theater in Rome has been a harbinger for the revival of a commons-oriented movement in Italy:

From their self-description:

“Once upon a time, one day, a theatre born in 1727 was occupied to implement a “cultural revolt”.

On June 14th, the day after Italian citizens, voting in a referendum, said a decisive no to water privatisation, nuclear development and legal immunity for acting government officials, a wide group of protestors seized the Teatro Valle (www.teatrovalleoccupato.it), which could have been turned over to be privatized. Rome’s oldest theatre, one of many cultural institutions facing difficulties. The day after the victory of the referendum for water as a common good, voted by 27 millions of italians, on the ancient façade of the theatre designed by Valadier, appeared a long piece of cloth with written on: LIKE WATER, LIKE AIR, LET’S RECLAIM CULTURE!

The invasion of the Valley becomes a device with art and politics, poetics and different urgencies gathered around the Rome’s oldest theatre still operating: the theater of Mozart and Rossini, the first of “Six Characters” by Pirandello. Structure that was intended to have an uncertain future and risked to be become private.

So a community gives life to a space by creating a constituent power through the vehicle of a Foundation, a non hierarchical but as usual horizontal rhizome. Where to take the decisions are the assemblies and institutionalize the link between culture, art and political practices. Reigns grassroots participation. The valley becomes a model, arise in other cities of similar experiences in Italy.

After six months practicing in the fight, with raid in theaters and symbolic occupations, the workers in the arts and culture occupied Teatro Valle. Workers in Film production, theater, dance, technicians, operators, employers, precarious and intermittent for several months waged a direct and self-organized fight for their rights and against the cuts.

They have occupied the Teatro Valle to save it from an uncertain future. The occupiers have issued an appeal signed by over 8000 people. Citizens, artists, professionals, workers, people of Italian and international culture, gave life to the Teatro Valle, that has emerged as a venue with a strong symbolic value at a national level, a place to share ideas and experiences, a place to elaborate together a political and critical thought, according to a choice of active citizenship.

They/We are interested in commons, mutualism, co-working and we would like to base all our actions on the quality of relationships. We believe in a world built on bottom up quality processes and we are very interested at international collaborations.”

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