Where did you go?

To the Battersea art Centre

What did you see/do?

We saw an immersive theatrical show about the students of brazil campaigning for their schools to stay open by collectiva occupasso

When did you go?

21st Feburary 2020

Images: collectiva ocupasso’s still images from online as photgraphy is not permitted in the show.

We were told to wait by the grand staircase and were greeted by a very bright coloured clothing and a booming personality young black boy with extensions and broken English. He taught us Portuguese and told us that we are now going to “ocupaso London” occupy London. The boy began to speak in Portuguese and translations appeared in projections on the walls. We were then brought into a large room and we took part in a retelling of their brave stance against their government.

Music was used as a transitory piece and crucial storytelling aspect. The young people partied in their schools and sang songs all night as part of their protest.
Projections and media were shown to translate the words of the artists and purvey the reality of the situation, they used images of themselves protesting and spoke to us about their journey as black and brown young people in a corrupt country.
Dancing and audience interaction were used to portray the urgency of the situations, we were herded and shifted and forced to partake in their protest against the closure of their school.
Finally art and protest were used, we drew words onto paper which they held up in protest and were herded out of the room and into the streets. We were told to occupy London and shout from the top of our lungs and the passers-by were forced to notice.

I’ve only ever taken part in promenade and usual theatre. This piece was something I haven’t seen before, a recreation of a protest is not something many have done before. It spoke to me and the only other piece I can think of that was similar was a show I took part in as a young person on the history of carnival and its origins.

This play was loud and in your face the way most productions I have seen are smaller versions of that. The artists were not afraid to be seen as people and messy, it was a production of truth and art imitating life.

When I walked into the room, there were chairs laid out in a seemingly unorganised way. Some people didn’t have seats whilst others were uncomfortably sat back to back or left to front facing, some of which didn’t know each other or come together. They later forced everyone up and formed the chairs into a barricade against the door, ushing us all together and moving us around the room I later realised this must have been the experience of the mass of bodies that were all grouped together ushered and shifted by the police and the walls of the school.

It uplifted and activated me. I realised that I didn’t wanna create art for the sake of it and that was why my experimental pieces never worked for me. I needed to use my art to recreate life and share experiences. The entire show was loud and electric,  moving and insightful, educational and enraging. We laughed and cried and related because we all have a fight that we need to focus on.

I learnt that in Brazil, the government ordered over 100 schools in their ‘ghetto’s’ to be closed. The students, knowing that school was the only safe environment and the one place that would lead them to a better future for hope. Thousands of young people occupied their schools, their streets and their communities, raising noise and awareness. They were tear-gassed beaten, and many of them were discriminated against because of the colour of their skin.

I learned that slavery didn’t end in Brazil.

I learnt how you can make art accessible and engaging with visuals and soundscapes, and that high energy art doesn’t have to be linear it can just take you on a journey

Protesting peacefully and educating others on your fight through creative means can activate them into joining your fight. And being willing to share and tell your story can come without the emotional trauma and violence that entices people into listening.

The show was extremely responsive and forced the audience to connect with the art. Truly something aspirational.

Art as a medium is used in many different contexts, and some may argue what is accounted as art. For me I have begun to see how art is ingratiated in the core of our being, how humans express themselves in words, shapes, and bodies and how a small stage can make anyone a leader. But i also learnt that art is still follow-ship, and in order for you to move on from being an artist, you have to be willing to expose the truth.

I responded to feedback forms online and via a voxpop. I also made sure to follow them on social media and stay invested in their work

This production made me think about how I want to generate noise, and how I can create understanding so that others can join my cause. It also made me think about what needs to be protected and the exact point that needs to be shattered. The show itself was an activation into campaigning and made me dig deeper in my how and when.