I am writing in solidarity with the Theatre Festival organisation FITEI after receiving the news that they were refused funding this year for DGArtes.
At first my reaction was that this must surely be some mistake. It does not seem logical that an organisation with such a history of collaboration and success would be refused its normal annual funding, which it surely deserves after 36 years of service to the artistic community, even if it is understandable that there be no significant increase in support due to current economic difficulties.
Firstly as a teacher at ESMAE, in the superior school of theatre; I can express my dismay as to the loss of an important recourse and reference for our students of theatre, music and the video arts. FITEI Festival provides the city with so many cultural events of quality from all over the Iberic world of theatre arts and this must make it a unique and valued organisation and festive moment of expression which of course is a vital part of any formation in the theatre.
Secondly as a recent collaborator; Last year I directed ERASMUS SYMPHONY for the festival which was a new and successful initiative by the Festival in the production of new performance work for the festival, and I must say that the FITEI organisation, their treatment of the participants and artists involved and the production process of this piece of work was impeccable, and achieved with the mix of professionalism and humanity that is rare to find. This process made a big impression on the Erasmus students that were involved and is a lasting memory of their stay and studies in Portugal, and has had an influence which has taken the good name of FITEI all over the world as far reaching as Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Brazil and even Kazakhstan.
Lastly as a professional theatre artist living and working in Porto; Since I arrived to live and work in Portugal 20 years ago the status of the festival and esteem with which FITEI as an organisation is held along with the fundamental and pivotal position that its director, Mário Moutinho holds on the local arts scene is remarkable. I believe that the team has worked and believed in their mission through prosperous times and through difficult time sand this is why I find it to be a very short sighted arts policy that is prepared to trash (ie put in the rubbish bin) what has for so many years been a successful and valuable contribution to the cultural life of the city and that has brought us into regular and dynamic contact with both the national and international theatre and performance art world on a level that is a source of pride and delight to new and old audiences and participants.
For these reasons I hope that there is some way to contest this decision and keep alive this important Festival, which forms a part of our cultural year in Porto, in the conditions with in which it can function and prosper under the experience and skill of those who have undertaken to defend and struggle for its continued existence.
Porto 4 Abril 2013.