Artistic Body of Teatro Argentino de La Plata Stages Protest

By David Salazar
(Credit: Juan Pedro Diez)

On Friday, Sept. 13, the Teatro Argentino de La Plata’s (TALP) major staff protested the increasingly damaged conditions of the theater, which was built back in 1977 to replace an older theater that had burned down in a fire.

The protest featured a live performance that included ballet and opera, with the intent of showing the people what they were losing as the future of the theater continues to undergo great uncertainty. This is the second such protest in three weeks as mounted by the artistic body of the company.

Over the years, the theater has faced a decrease in maintenance and reparations, resulting in poor working conditions. Among those listed are a lack of a proper air conditioning or heating system, as well as poorly functioning bathrooms. According to Diario Context, the building, which consists of nine floors, only has nine people for daily cleaning.

Moreover, the main hall, La Ginastera, has been closed since 2017, and work on its reparations has been “paralyzed.” It was previously reported that the hall would be reopened in November with a production of “Candide,” but per a report by Opéra en Argentina, it was replaced by “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci.”

“But we know that that program won’t happen because work on maintenance and the stage reparations, which are essential to put on any performance, have not even begun,” stated Hugo Ponce, a member of the TALP chorus and a delegate representing many of the institution’s workers. “We have seen no further work and there are simply too many risks for workers, with no solution in sight. We are currently exposed to unhealthy environments that also put many of the theater’s own patrimony, such as scenery, wardrobe, etc, at great risk. Some of it has already been lost.”

According to Contexo, a commission that represents the workers of the theater has attempted to meet with Alejandro Gómez, minister of Culture of Buenos Aires, but have found rejection repeatedly. When the commission has talked to the theater’s Artistic Director Martín Bauer, it has found no satisfactory reply to its petitions.

Gómez had promised to invest in the theater, though those expenditures only resulted in some remodeling for the outside of the theater, with nothing done on an internal infrastructural level.