The idea of Escena Erasmus was born from conversations between the members of CRIT Theatre Company and the professor Antoni Tordera of the University of Valencia.
In the last few years, the University of Valencia has been named as the second academic institution in Spain with the most student interchanges within Spain. We think our university should continue with creative activities to enrich the experience of a year abroad.
After a few meetings with department co-ordinators, it was confirmed that there was a strong demand for cultural activities from the Erasmus students, and in particular, theatrical activities.
The University does not have a regulated opportunity to study theatre and the workshops organised by ‘Aula de Teatro’ are already full by October. Because of this, we came to the conclusion that it was an opportunity to create something which would allow theatre within the Erasmus scene within the University, with the possibility of showing the performances and finally it turned into one of the symbols of cultural interchange within Valencia promoted by the University of Valencia.
Nowadays, with an advance towards a European program for education, we also find the opportunity to move towards a united Europe through the increase in knowledge gained from the experience of education. These experiences accompany the creation of superior forms of education.
It was therefore considered the perfect opportunity to create a network of European Universities which could form an interchange of theatrical experiences, fundamentally formed by Erasmus students. Because, this is also Europe – actors of various countries representing a text in a language which isn’t theirs and presenting this in front of the European public.
We think that the University of Valencia was the best candidate to be the European headquarters, as it is already highly multicultural and this project serves to improve the image we already have of the excellence of this institution.
During the first weeks of the life of this project, a feature of the scheme of work was to organise a show to coincide with the Erasmus courses. It was decided to have two shows every year, one in each academic semester whilst working towards a grand ‘espectaculo’ at the end of the year which could allow the company to conduct an autonomous, Spanish and European tour.
The final show of every semester aims to put all the skills learnt throughout them into practise whilst giving the students the opportunity to understand and practise theatre in small productions. In addition the students gain the basic notions of theatre in order to produce a show (the idea of the show, directing, scenography, costumes, audio and lights, production, publicity etc).
Since the beginning of this project it was decided that the final show of every workshop must maintain the European spirit of Escena Erasmus and therefore European Dramatic Literature is a constant player, and has been explored thoroughly. This year we chose German Drama from the beginning of the twentieth century, from the Authors of Karl Valentin and Bertolt Brecht. From this beginning we produced the shows ‘Karl Cabaret’ and ‘Bar Brecht’ which were shown in the Muntaner Auditorium of the Main College ‘Luis Vives’ of the University of Valencia.
Escena Erasmus show ‘The Crazy Ship’ was selected in the competition ‘The treads of the barracks 2010’ out of over one hundred projects presented by Universities and Drama Colleges of Spain and South America. The SECC (The State Society of Cultural Commemorations) and organised a tour to celebrate ‘Xacobeo 2010’ which meant we could carry out a tour of over thirty towns in Castilla and León, Navarra, La Rioja and Galicia during July 2010. This show was also performed at the Medieval Festival of Elche in Alicante as part of the official programme.