Barcelona, April 23, 2020
ANTIC TURNS 17:
Update of Antic Teatre’s situation during the health crisis
and with regard to the rent increase
Antic Teatre celebrates its 17th year today, in the middle of a social and health emergency that comes on top of the financial and survival crisis it was already dealing with.
Since the state of emergency was declared the bar has been closed and will remain so until the projected end date, and around twenty events have been cancelled.
The property owner has officially notified us that he will not be renewing the current rental contract.
Talks taking place with institutions about saving Antic Teatre have been put on ice, as has Barcelona City Council’s agreement to provide support and mediation with other administrations.
ANNOUNCED RENT INCREASE WORSENS FINANCIAL SITUATION
In January we presented our 2020 programme in a press conference under the title “When risk is not an exception”. We were spot-on.
Many of you accompanied us at a second press conference in February, when we shared with you our financial situation and our survival and continuation prospects, under threat because of the landlord’s sudden decision to raise our monthly rent payments by 500% (from 1,500 euros to 7,500 euros). As we explained at the time, this increase was conditional to an extension of the lease, currently due to expire in 2027, but Antic Teatre is not in a position to pay that amount. The move placed us at the centre of the property speculation and gentrification that Barcelona is currently experiencing.
This development received wide media attention and was mentioned by more than 40 national, state and local media outlets, and there is no doubt that this, together with the support given by local residents and artists, encouraged Antic Teatre to continue its talks and dealings with the administrations in order to find solutions.
Despite everything, institutional support never translated into concrete solutions to stop or reverse the situation, and in the current health crisis negotiations with the City Council have been frozen. We believe that returning to negotiations should be a priority once the administrations resume their activities, but right now we have no information on this.
In addition, the fact that we made the intended rental increase public led to the property owner notifying us officially and comprehensively that there is no longer any chance of a lease extension or changes to the conditions of our contract.
AND NOW THE HEALTH CRISIS
As we publicly stated during the February press conference, during 2019 the bar provided 60% of our total income, meaning Antic Teatre is close to the self-financing and independence model that we have strived for since foundation.
However, since March 14, because of the security measures put in place by the administrations as a result of the declared state of emergency for the management of the health crisis brought about by COVID-19, the bar has been closed and, as a consequence, all employees have had their contracts suspended via the ERTE process. So, as well as the financial and personal repercussions from suddenly ending a business activity, Antic Teatre has lost its main financial support.
With regards to the theatre, since March around 30 shows and events have been temporarily cancelled, including premieres, touring shows, cycles, and activity days such as World Theatre Day or Off Sant Jordi; this latter event taking place the same day – April 23 – as Antic Teatre’s anniversary party, which has also been cancelled.
We would like to reiterate one point: to the cancellation of all activities within the theatre must be added all the touring shows that Antic Teatre produces or supports, and this includes gigs and premieres due to take place in the short and medium term, given the lack of access to rehearsal spaces, studios or the materials that artists need to prepare their work.
In this sense, the grandmothers from Antic Teatre’s community arts project are no exception; even though they can no longer meet up in person each week to share their artistic practice and attachment, and they too are confined to their homes – some of them on their own – they have found the way to keep in touch at a distance and look out for each other. The La Bellesa chat is smoking. It’s about finding a way.
UNDERSTANDING THE CAUSE AND A NEW (UNCERTAIN) SETTING
Antic Teatre has already been through various crises. When the Verdaguer i Callis venue was closed for renovations in order to obtain the activity permit, and even though the bar stayed open, all performance activities took place at Adriantic, a research, creation and performance space that closed in 2015.
At the time, given the world economic recession, people who worked at Antic Teatre found the way to continue their performance production and live exhibition activities. Now, on the other hand, if you’ll excuse the pun, the set has been changed for absolutely everyone: live arts workers (any aspect, not just artists), audiences and support collectives, media, administrations…. We are all unwilling actors in the impossibility of meeting up. And live arts are, essentially, a framework for shared presence. This is their very essence and, right now, it has become physically impossible. Is this just temporary, or will it be a permanent change?
As we truly and deeply experience what is happening, try to express it in words, and share it with you, we are still thinking of ways to maintain from a distance, as a community arts project, the quality of our encounters, and our moments of shared time. And we’re doing this to a profoundly changed sociopolitical backdrop while at the same time not knowing exactly just how things have changed, in which direction they have gone, how long the changes will last, or what the consequences will be.
At Antic Teatre we believe that it will be extremely hard to redefine what “live” means for contemporary, cutting edge, and research-based arts. For the time being, we know there is no recording system or audiovisual experience that can simulate, supplant or substitute one of the essential aspects of performance arts: the people who share the experience as spectators.
It must be understood that human interaction is not a luxury and that social distancing is repressive for the body and the senses. We are convinced of the need to fight to maintain, and, if necessary, recover, physical contact, attachments, and ways of being fully present.
HOW CAN YOU HELP ANTIC TEATRE?
Whether you are an organisation, a theatre or a cultural centre, press or media, a local resident, or anyone who values and appreciates the important artistic and social functions that Antic Teatre has been fulfilling in the centre of Barcelona since 2003… your support is vital and will help us to demand that the administrations put an end to and start reversing the disappearance of Barcelona-based social and cultural centres such as this one.
Letters of support are a valuable tool: send us yours in an attachment to an email addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also support us via social networks with the following hashtags: #lanticnoestoca, #alanticnitocarlo, #AnticTeatre, #SocAntic, and #CulturaDeBaseBCN.
This is the birthday and un-birthday present we would like you to give us.
Thanks for being there,
The Antic Teatre Team.
LINKS AND DOWNLOADS
Download this documento in PDF format
Events and shows suspended during the state of emergency
Video of press conference «Antic Teatre under threat» (17/02/20)
Media references to press conference «Antic Teatre under threat»
Photos Antic Teatre (including pictures of all our anniversary celebrations since our 10th in 2013)
Verónica Navas Ramírez – Antic Teatre Communications Manager
Antic Teatre – Espai de Creació
#AnticTeatre #SocAntic #AlAnticNiTocarlo #LAnticNoEsToca