Hello everyone,

So, in the end, we got a no from ACE with regards to our NPO bid. For those not in the arts NPO means National Portfolio Organisation. Every three years the Arts Council invites organisations like ours to apply to be an NPO and if you’re successful, then you get three years of funding and the security that comes with that. And if you’re not, then you have to keep applying for project funding. Not becoming an NPO is obviously disappointing as we worked incredibly hard on the bid and we know that we got very close and that our application was deemed very strong. Of course it hurts. A no always does… But here’s the way we see it. Arts Council England have been incredible supporters of CASA and the festival for years now and we hope that they continue to be through grants for the arts project funding.

As a festival that presents work from countries where public funds are minimal, we are grateful that a high level of public funding for the arts exists here in the uk and we wish the companies who have been successful in their npo bids the best of luck. Beyond that, not much else has changed. We still believe in what we do. In its intrinsic value. In what we bring to the UK’s cultural landscape. In the international artists we present and the UK artists we support and will continue to present and support. In the community activities we already do and the deeper engagement we are planning.

And so, rather than dissuade us, this “no” inspires us to do more and to aim higher. We will continue doing what we do. And then some.

And we hope you’ll stick with us and join us and join in.

Daniel, Felix, Lora, José and the entire CASA team wishes you all a very happy day.

Writes Daniel Goldman, Artistic Director

Over the weekend, I sat down ready to write a new blog and promptly gave up as I heard what was happening in Nairobi, a place I was directing less than a year ago.

It’s hard to accept that these things happen when everything we want to believe about ourselves as moral beings points the other way. That one group of humans is able to enter a shopping mall and kill another group of humans. In this case, in the name of a political cause.

The individual suffering of those caught up in political violence is a theme that runs through a number of the CASA shows this year.

To name just two shows, Teatro Malayerba’s Instrucciones para Abrazar el Aire is (mainly) about never forgetting the disappearing of children during the Argentine dictatorship of the 70s and then Tavarka Teatro’s Las Cunetas Florecen en Primavera explores with great visual beauty those who died and disappeared in the Spanish Civil War.

The crazy thing is that it’s become so easy for us to ignore. How do you connect with what is happening in Nairobi if you’ve never been, if you have no-one there. It becomes another story. A story to engage with for a few moments and then move on. And I do it all the time. I’ll read a story of some atrocity. In the next moment, I’ll be checking the cricket scores.

Violence is just a story if it’s not happening to us or to the people we know. Either we place it away from us or we reduce it to manageable numbers. Think about our we think of battles when learning about the past. The numbers of dead are grotesque.

Maybe, we’re not programmed to take it all in. We can’t take it all in. We have to transform it, ignore it, lessen it’s impact. I check the cricket scores.

Going back to the idea of violence as story, sometimes of course the story is so big that we are all affected. 9/11 being a good example. I know exactly where I was. How I heard about it. Where I watched the coverage. What people were saying. Hours in front of the TV. My brother being in the States trying to get a flight home to the UK. The death toll rising. My birthday two days later that was impossible to celebrate.

The irony being that in becoming such a big event in our lives, it 9/11 displaced another 11th of September, a date Chile and Latin America remembers for other reasons.

40 years ago today on the 11th September 1973, Salvador Allende was ousted by a military coup in Chile and in effect Pinochet’s dictatorship began. Our Chilean show Poder de Papel brilliantly dissects and examines how Pinochet built up his power. Most of the time they perform in the street. They want to reach as many people as possible.

I’ve wandered a bit in my argument but i guess that my point is that our stories are always superseding each other. And that it’s important to remember. To tell the stories again. And again. And again.

Three of our companies are doing so this year. Come and hear them tell their stories. And even if a day later, the story fades or is replaced, so be it. At the very least, the act of sharing, that beautiful act, took place… and for a moment we cared and that made us better and the more we do so, the more we share, the better we’ll become at it and it might just become a habit we can’t shake.

Writes Artistic Director Daniel Goldman

Only a week to go till CASA Latin American Theatre Festival starts and my story today is about exile.

You see, I am the grandson of two very different kinds of exiles.

On my dad’s side, my grandparents are Polish Jews who in very different ways survived the Holocaust. Both were exiled from the country of their birth. Both came to UK as political refugees. I never knew my grandfather though I carry his name. My grandmother has always lived in the past. Like Aristides, she comes back again and again to the past, she relives it, she retells it, it is part of me now.

On my mum’s side, her parents were pieds noirs living in Morocco and that’s where she was born. You could argue they shouldn’t have been there in the first place but it doesn’t change the fact that the whole family packed their bags and left following independence.

I look around me and it seems to me we live in ever more displaced times. Everywhere around us are people who have made the choice to leave home or have been in some way forced to leave home or are looking for home. That can mean leaving one’s country of birth for another. Or urban migration. Or leaving your flat for a cheaper option…

Maybe you’re an exile. Maybe you don’t know where home is. Or what it is. Some of the people I love most in the world are exiles. I am drawn to you like a moth to light. I admire you. After CASA, I’m buggering off to India and Carlisle. I’ve been away from London a lot recently but then London isn’t my home…

No. For me, a rehearsal room is home. And a theatre with an audience is home. My family on a Friday night is home. My friends and the people I love are home. My grandma’s hand in mine is home. The touch of the person I’m in love with is home. Words on a page are home.

My separation from them would be exile. They are what I come back to again and again.

One of our shows this year captures all of this with wit and warmth and insight. Susana Lastreto’s brilliant monologue Noche de Verano lejos de los Andes o Dialogos con mi Dentista (A summer night far away from the Andes or Dialogues with my Dentist) is all about this search for home away from home. It’s an auto-biographical piece, it’s funny, and perhaps appropriately, it’s a bit all over the place.

I can only say… come and see it.

And come to CASA. Come home to our home. It’s yours.


Barbican Centre, Rich Mix, Institute of Latin American Studies
Friday 27th September – Sunday 6th October 2013

CASA Latin American Theatre Festival 2013 (“CASA 2013”) celebrates its sixth edition with a politically charged programme of theatre that explores the personal implications of state violence, dictatorship and corruption and in doing so reveal some of the biggest challenges that Latin American society has faced historically and today.

As we remember the 40th anniversary of the military coup in Chile on the 11th September 1973, Teatro La Concepción (Chile) present Poder de Papel (Paper Power), a buffonesque take on Óscar Castro’s Érase una vez un rey (Once upon a time a king). The story of sibling street urchins who decide to play at being king for a day is a darkly comic reminder of absolute power’s ability to corrupt absolutely.

Moving across the Andes, Ecuador’s Teatro Malayerba present a heartbreaking double bill of plays set during the Argentine dictatorship. Written and performed by acclaimed exiled Argentine writer Arístides Vargas, about the suffering encountered by friends and family, both plays are shockingly based on true testimonies.

Teatro de los Andes come to the UK for the first time with Hamlet de los Andes, a highly politically charged play that takes on Shakespeare’s classic to denounce state-level corruption in Bolivia.

Finally, UK-based Tavarka Teatro (Nuestra CASA Scratch Night 2012 Winners) present their new full length piece about the disappeared during the Spanish Civil War.

To complement all these shows, we organize a series of talks and debates on the themes of the plays offering audiences insights into Latin American theatre, culture and politics.

Press information
For further information, full festival listings, images and to organise interviews, please contact Mano on 07845321189 or press@casafestival.org.uk
For further information regarding the Barbican shows please contact Freddie Todd Fordham, Media Relations Officer, 020 7382 7399 or freddie.todd-fordham@barbican.org.uk

Due to complications with the timing of their UK visas, Teatro de los Andes will not be performing En un Sol Amarillo. Memorias de un Temblor (Under a Yellow Sun) at Rich Mix on the 5th & 6th October. The empty slots at Rich Mix will be filled by Brazilian puppet company Grupo Sobrevento who are already part of the programme.

For more information about Grupo Sobrevento: A Cortina da Babá click here.

NB. Teatro de los Andes are still performing Hamlet de los Andes at the Barbican on the 2nd and 3rd October.
Please note that the Workshops dates have changed. For more information click here

Actress Nidia Telles (Uruguay) cancels her trip to the UK and her performances as part of CASA Latin American Theatre Festival 2013 (CASA). Susana Lastreto joins the programme in her place.

It is with great sadness that Nidia Telles announced the cancellation of her trip to London, scheduled for the end of September 2013. The eminent Uruguayan actress was set to perform her award-winning show El País de las Maravillas (Wanderland) at CASA 2013.

“Due to an unexpected surgical intervention, the October performances of El País de las Maravillas (Wanderland) have had to be cancelled. The company regrets any inconvenience this force majeure may cause and aims to fulfill its commitment to the festival in the future.” expressed Nidia Telles.

Artistic Director of CASA Latin American Theatre Festival, Daniel Goldman said: “We wish Nidia and her family our best wishes and a healthy recovery and we look forward to welcoming her to the UK to perform at CASA in the very near future. But as is often the way, every setback can be transformed into a new opportunity and it therefore gives me great pleasure to invite Argentine storyteller Susana Lastreto to perform her moving and very funny one woman show Noche de verano lejos de los Andes o diálogos con mi dentista at CASA 2013 in the slot previously held by Nidia Telles. It’s a wonderful play about searching for home away from home and fits perfectly into what I believe to be our best programme of Latin American theatre to date.”

For more information about CASA 2013 new show Noche de Verano lejos de los Andes o diálogos con mi dentista click here.

A big thanks to everyone who came down to Bolivar Hall and made our Launch Event such a success. It was great to catch up with old friends and make lots of new ones too. Simon Evans and the actors did an amazing job of making House of Desires come alive with just a day’s rehearsal, and the great music of David Chebair tied the whole night together perfectly. As promised.. (more…)