Yesterday we finished the presentation of “The Epilepsy Algorithm” at the Cerca de São Bernardo Theatre, the home of the company A Escola da Noite.
As Marionet doesn’t have its own performance space, whenever we are welcomed into that theatre and, more importantly, by those people, we are always sure that we will be working with a team of enormous competence, friendliness and sensitivity.
In the partnerships we’ve established over the years, A Escola da Noite has always proved to be available for any help, as well as showing solidarity with our situation as a company without a theatre for more than two decades. This is why the way they surprised us with a beautiful text on the show’s room sheet is very symbolic. We must confess that it is with a smile on our lips and a few tears of emotion that, by way of thanks, we publish it below in its entirety:
The TCSB in the city of Marionet
When we look back on the three decades of activity we have just completed, we are proud of the work we have done, but also of the contribution we have made to the transformation of a city that, in 1992, had no professional structure for artistic creation and no municipal theatre.
This is a path shared with many people — artists, groups, institutions — who believe that it is on the stages, in the rehearsal rooms and in the exhibition spaces that we invent and justify that Coimbra’s oft-stated “cultural purpose” is built.
Amongst these people is Marionet, a group that we saw come into being in 2000 and whose journey we have followed with respect and admiration. We are witnesses to its commitment to theatrical art, the seriousness and professionalism with which it views the public service it has chosen to provide, the courage with which it has embraced a line of artistic research and experimentation that is very little explored in Portugal, the uniqueness and ambition of its scenic proposals, the bridges it establishes with other areas (outside and within the artistic universe), the new audiences it manages to reach, the young professionals it welcomes and helps to train, the tenacious way it faces adversity, the friendliness and smiles of its members, never failing to demonstrate solidarity with colleagues and other structures.
Since TCSB opened in September 2008, we have hosted six Marionet shows, five of which were premieres. The theatre is fulfilling one of the missions we set for it — to be an open space for the creation of other artists who find the time and (possible) means here to complete and present their shows to the public. We are happy to see the name of A Escola da Noite associated with part of Marionet’s journey, including the celebrations for its 20th anniversary in 2020 and even that day when, due to a certain pandemic, the theatres had to be closed and the premiere of a show that was ready had to be postponed sine die.
When we drew up the programming application of the Portuguese Theatres and Cine-Theatres Network, we realised that it would be an opportunity to provide slightly better conditions for the groups we host here. For all the right reasons, Marionet was among the first we wanted to invite to a series of co-productions with other Coimbra groups. They accepted and we thanked them, happy to have them here but still recognising (and affirming) that Marionet has long deserved its own space. Not for themselves, not for us (who will always keep the doors open), but for the city, which deserves having people like this working here.
Escola da Noite, June 2023
(The photo illustrating this article shows Cerca de São Bernardo Theatre’s entrance and is a courtesy of its author, Catarina Moita, an actress in the show “The Epilepsy Algorithm”.)