Mapping Brazil - Performing Arts

The 2015 update on performing arts in Brazil - by César Augusto and Sérgio Maciel
"From A to B. A way of being" from Ria Marks (credits: Mariana Varella)


Political and cultural overview
Theatre in Brazil appears in a wide variety of formats and dynamics. In this country of continental dimensions with such different funding structures and means of creation and interaction and such diverse networks of interests, resulting in extremely multiple cultural and artistic productions and approaches, it is questionable whether any generalisations can or should be made.

When it comes to obtaining funding for theatre projects, there are tax relief laws on a federal, state and municipal level in different regions that help foster local production. This is why it is important to understand the different ways they influence the public and private institutions involved in producing and fostering culture.

The federal Rouanet law is currently being reviewed as the new national arts policy is formulated, which is likely to come into effect in 2016. Points of Culture are cultural organisations registered with the Ministry of Culture, designed to help decentralise the government’s arts funding and spread it more widely beyond the south-east (especially Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo), where most culture is produced and where most funding ends up being received.

There are also state and municipal laws which grant tax relief to private businesses in exchange for investments in the arts, including theatre. As such, corporate entities become part of this production chain, taking advantage of a form of cultural marketing. However, this all depends on what incentives are offered in each state or city.

Funds from these laws enable the creation and/or continuation of productions, the maintenance of theatre companies, encourage research and interchange on a national and international level, and assist in the creation, continuity and programming of festivals and exhibitions – veritable catalysts for artistic creation processes. It is worth stressing that the maintenance of groups, companies and collectives, as well as the work of actors, both established and newcomers, is the basis for this output, the DNA of this dynamic, the thrust of the expression of a national culture with its unique, multiple expressions, responsible for the Brazilian cultural identity, and generating great interest in national and international networks.

Brazil’s theatre scene has been mapped out here by guest academics, producers and creative professionals from the five regions of the country to analyse and understand the complexity of the interactions that exist in theatre production on a national and international level and through exchanges, and to understand how it galvanises players in the public and private spheres.

Continue reading Mapping Brazil - Performing Arts: Cultural scene