The problem is on the mountain, not in the valley

by Marianna Salzmann

Rome, 11 August 2014. Il problema è a monte, non al valle. The problem is on the mountain, not in the valley. That's what is written on the yellow SOS-posters of the Teatro Valle (Valle meaning valley in Italian). Today the move took place.

plakat 280h teatrovalle SOS-Posters © Teatro Valle OccupatoScusa, not the move, for Valle is not an occupation but a movement. A movement can not relocate, but it can transform. This is what began today.

So much was stated at this morning's press conference in the foyer of the historic theatre. It was further announced that a symbolic hand-over of keys would take place in the evening involving three parties: the city, the municipal theatre Teatro di Roma and the Fondazione Valle Bene Comunque. The latter is the not-yet-legally-recognized foundation of the artists of the occupied theatre.
The Fondazione declared that it was their intention to leave the theatre voluntarily to facilitate an inspection, but that they did not intend to stay away. Rather, they would monitor the progress of the announced renovation with the aim of returning to work there as quickly as possible.

The building Valle will be put in charge of the Teatro di Roma from today on. Its artistic director, Marino Sinibaldi, came to declare that he will stay in an open dialogue with the artists of Valle and allow them to move into the foyer of the theatre as soon as possible in order to develop common projects there. The future of maintaining the concept Valle as an autonomous working institution within the Teatro di Roma will be negotiated.

vallegeraeumt11082014-560 mariannasalzmann uIn front of Teatro Valle. On the podium: Ilenia Caleo und Silvia Gallerano from the Fondazione,
aside Marino Sinibaldi, director of Teatro di Roma © Marianna Salzmann

After working through many nights, the comunardi have created a common position and proved to be serious negotiating partners. Today, the day that marked the end of the era of Teatro Valle Occupato as an independent, self-managed theatre, couldn't have begun worse. The city cut off both water and electricity without warning. This was a step backwards in the relationship of trust between the two sides. The theatre was to be given to the city for the purposes of renovation and in exchange the occupants were to leave it without resistance. But what kind of construction work is possible without water and electricity? The concerns that the dialogue was nothing but a pretense to coax them out now seemed justified. A fear of the theatre's impending closure still hangs over the occupants as they remain to clean up. After heavy protests both electricity and water were restored within hours. Moreover, rather than sending Carabinieri in full riot gear, the city chose instead to send a narrow-shouldered government representative who asked the occupants to close the theatre doors - this would be taken as the official sign that the theatre had been placed under the care of the Teatro di Roma.

geruestvallegeraeumt 560 mariannasalzmann uThe scaffold is the new stage © Marianna Salzmann

Until they can enter the building again, the comunardi have put up a scaffold on the facade of the theatre – as a stage. From now on, performances, open mics, happenings and interventions will take place there. The Fondazione will invite all artists (internationally), not only to show solidarity but to establish networks and create collaborations. As is self evident for every theatre.

Translation: Alicia Agustín


Marianna Salzmann is a playwright and author in residence of the Maxim Gorki Theatre Berlin as well as artistic director of the Studio Я. She visited the Teatro Valle Occupato in July and August 2014 for more than three weeks and already wrote a report on the final days of the Teatro Valle, which are no final days: because a movement can not be evicted.


Read Marianna Salzmann's report on the final days of occupied Teatro Valle in Rome.

Read the German Original of the postsript as well as of Marianna Salzmann's report here.

All English texts on are listed here.

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