In 2019 two theatres in Barcelona were forced to close due problems with their infrastructure. One due to expiration of the tenancy agreement on the property; the other due to deterioration of the space, making it impossible to continue the project. The Sargantana Company, sister-company to El Col·lectiu and responsible for La Vilella, released a statement explaining that deterioration of the space had made the continuation of the project impossible. El Club Capitol, of the Balañá business group, is due to close because the building’s landlord does not wish to renew its lease.
It seems that the situation continues in 2020: and this time it’s the Antic Teatre’s turn. The theatre’s headquarters, captained by Semolina Tomic is under threat due to an increase in rent of nearly four times its current lease. That is, the landlord demands the project goes from paying 1,500€ to 7,500€ per month. An increase in rent in line with the property speculation dynamics that have already destroyed a good portion of Barcelona’s cultural life. This has been going on for years: let’s not forget la Muntaner, la Poderosa, and l’espai POE(tic) among others. Cases of cultural spaces being evicted from their neighbourhoods are constantly occurring. At the end of the day, it’s no wonder. The financial crisis has given way to ruthless property speculation ethics. The Antic Teatre is a privileged building situated in the Ribera area; right in the centre of Barcelona. A space that is greatly coveted to extract the most economical profit out of it as possible.
For precisely this reason, the project is even more valuable. It connects with local residents through various community projects. It is rooted in a neighbourhood that has been devastated by gentrification. It offers a creative space open to young (and not-so-young) companies, with the best financial treatment out of all the private theatres in Barcelona. It also surpasses all the city’s “art factories” that exhibit theatre in decent working contracts. It offers 80% of the box-office to all the companies and artists that work there, exceeding the Sala Beckett or the Teatre Tantarantana, spaces that have been bailed out by the council due to real estate problems and that can continue to function and grow today thanks to the financial boost given by the very council.
For this reason we are asking how the Council plans to tackle the crisis the Antic is forced to face. We do not advocate the city’s practice of saving spaces and sheltering them under the poorly functioning (and less well-organised) umbrella of “art factories”. At least we do not think this should be the only way. We also question how viable it is to save spaces if they then cannot face the costs of dignified employment. The Sargantana Company mentioned this point in relation to their space, and many others could say the same.
What we ask –seeing as this is supposed to be the Council of change, the Council that has promised to combat property speculation and protect its victims – is that it puts culture in the same boat. This fragile culture that no government has ever considered to be a basic necessity and has always been left to the mercy of commerce, speculation and vultures. If the owners of the Antic do not ease their threat, then the institutions should find a solution. We demand that the Council – and all the other public institutions – legislate to protect the Antic Teatre and all other cultural spaces, as it already does to protect personal housing. We demand that a law be put in place to protect cultural spaces. Let’s take a stand against cultural eviction. Because culture is also life, culture creates network and community, culture gives us dignity and without it the world is worse off.
#DesnonarCultura és #AtemptarContralaVida
El Col·lectiu de Companyies de Teatre Independent (Independent Theatre Companies Collective)
#AlAnticNiTocarlo #AnticNoSeToca #anticteatrenoestoca #lanticteatrenoestoca #LAnticNoEsToca #SalvemlAntic #SocAntic #AnticTeatre #CulturaDeBaseBCN #gentrificaciocultural #salesenperill