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Talk: Tangueros and Tenements: the business of independent theater

Sat, Oct 5, 2013, 1–3 pm

Timbre 4’s home, Buenos Aires, is the nexus of Latin America’s biggest volume of independent theater. This talk, presented in conjunction with Timbre 4’s MCA Stage performance Tercer Cuerpo (Third Wing), brings together Timbre 4 founding members Melisa Hermida and Magdalena Grondona with Jacob Padrón, producer and curator of Garage Rep at Steppenwolf Theater, Beau O’Reilly, founding member of the Curious Theatre Branch, and Beata Pilch, founder and artistic director of Trap Door Theatre, to swap stories, truths and fiction about the business of making theater in our new economy.

The gentrified neighborhood where Timbre 4 operates, El Abasto, teems with tangueros, dollar stores, and over a hundred small theaters sharing space with cafes and two-story apartments. Since their start making theater in the backroom of Claudio Tolcachir’s apartment, Timbre 4 has branched into a former chair factory next door where they run a rotating line-up of derived work and a theater school. To start our talk, they delve into the hard reality of Argentina’s thriving independent theater scene: ensembles typically relinquish creative decisions in exchange for free space from landlords, who in turn receive substantial state subsidies. Producing budgets rarely exceed $300 and many companies operate without pay.