Theatre, like photography, can be a way of informing people and making them aware of social conflicts, as well as a means of achieving personal, social and political change.
We strongly believe in the power of theatre to transform and intend to donate part of the proceeds from the sale of the Pig Iron book to support a theatre project run by a group of young people from Açailândia in the northeast of Brazil.
Marcelo is a proper photographer in the making – although at present he isn’t able to dedicate himself full time to studying. Daniela, Domingos and Mikaell have all managed to enrol in the faculty of journalism, while Erika, Renan, Edviges, and Jordânia are doing their best to try to carve out an opening for themselves. Xico, meanwhile, is studying theatre and has organized together with the others a travelling show about the lives of the local communities and their conflict with the iron production industry: the story of the Carajás railway.
The nine members of the group visited a number of the affected communities in an attempt to understand their stories, which they transformed into a theatrical representation that has been shown to many of the families involved in the conflict. This small experiment in popular theatre has so far proven very successful. In three years, the group has taken the show to a large number of communities in the states of Pará and Maranhão, presenting it as a form of education and a means of framing the debate concerning the future of the area.
Now the group has a new dream, which represents more of a gamble, but which promises to attract a wider audience: to produce a show to talk to the people not just about the Carajás railway, but in general about the organized plunder of Brazil’s mineral wealth. By putting on this project, our nine young artists hope to be able to examine the issue in greater depth and publicize the serious social and environmental violations committed by the mineral extraction companies of the states of Minas Gerais and Pará.
They plan to employ the same approach used for the first piece – a series of visits to the two states affected to gather accounts, information, images and impressions, a laboratory to work through the material gathered and then its transformation into a piece of high quality professional theatre. They plan to bring the project to as many communities as possible in Minas Gerais, Pará and Maranhão and to take advantage of the occasion to also hold public meetings and debates, interviews and protests and swap information and ideas with social groups and movements.