Porto, Granito e Sonho: Street Theatre On Rua Das Flores (photos)

Porto, Granito e Sonho: Street Theatre On Rua Das Flores (1)

This is a pictorial continuation of yesterday’s post of video clips from Porto, Granito e Sonho, a series of theatre performances between São Bento Railway Station and balconies above Rua das Flores depicting the history of Porto and brought to life by Locomotiva, a six-month arts project by the City of Porto. It was a production on a rather grand scale, with five directors and around 400 theatre performers (professionals and students) from ACE Escola de Artes / Teatro do Bolhão and other performing groups such as Alunos da ESAP, Coral Amigos da Música de Espinho, Coral de Letras da UP, UATIP, and more. Although the video clips do a better job of showing theatre than photography, these performances yesterday were very physical and musical — you wouldn’t need to know Portuguese to enjoy them.

Locomotiva’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/portolocomotiva

What I also find interesting is how well Rua das Flores is set up for this kind of theatre, with balconies on most floors. It made me wonder how easy it was to arrange access to the balconies, since the street is now flourishing with businesses and some of them are short-term rental apartments. It’s mostly a pedestrian street, and the crowd watching the performances from below weren’t given notice where the performers would be next, it only later became apparent that the action flowed from the train station down the street towards the river.

Rua das Flores has seen tremendous growth over the past few years, with extensive renovations turning the street into a hive of commercial activity. When I first arrived, Rua das Flores was fairly empty, but now it’s one of the busiest streets in the city, buzzing with tourists and trade. I hope no matter how busy the street gets, that it keeps the balconies open for street theatre.

Porto, Granito e Sonho: Street Theatre On Rua Das Flores (2)

Porto, Granito e Sonho: Street Theatre On Rua Das Flores (3)

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Porto, Granito e Sonho: Street Theatre On Rua Das Flores (5)

I have always made a point to focus on the arts in this web space wherever I’ve lived, but I do so especially here in Portugal. Why? Because there is this tendency for governments to cut arts funding in time of economic hardship and Canada is guilty of this, but that is not the case here in Portugal, a country where you’d expect the governments to cut all funding indefinitely. Instead, there are cultural events happening all the time, and the municipalities and regions in Portugal continue to promote the arts to a degree I’ve never seen in Canada, where event producers must turn to the private sector and beg corporations for sponsorship. Of course, arts stories like this don’t ever make it to the news, so readers outside of Portugal who rely on news never get the full story of what it’s truly like to be here. Little blogs like mine exist, in part, to fill in the gaps.

Porto, Granito e Sonho: Street Theatre On Rua Das Flores (6)

Porto, Granito e Sonho: Street Theatre On Rua Das Flores (7)

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Porto, Granito e Sonho: Street Theatre On Rua Das Flores (10)

Porto, Granito e Sonho: Street Theatre On Rua Das Flores (11)

June 27, 2015
Album: Portugal [Summer 2015]