Newspaper Theatre Performance and Debate on the Homeless Emergency in Palermo
Sunday 5th March 2017, 6 pm
Santa Chiara Salesian Centre in Ballarò, Palermo
THIS EVENT IS PART OF THE SERIES THAT ACCOMPANY AND ANTICIPATE THE PROJECT “CONFISCATED PROPERTIES: ARCHITECTURE, IDEOLOGY AND PERFORMANCE” (16 JUNE-4 NOVEMBER 2018), BY VALENTINA SANSONE.
The assets confiscated from organised crime, and their management, are increasingly at the centre of current events. These events, reported in the newspapers, invite us to reflect on a resource that the city is not yet able to assimilate. If destined for social use, what could be the benefits of collective participation in this immense holding of real estate?
The Region of Sicily possesses almost 50% of the assets confiscated in Italy. According to data published and updated on the OpenRegio website, the city of Palermo alone has 1836 properties and 145 companies confiscated and assigned for rehabilitation through community use.
The regulations of the City of Palermo provide that families in emergency housing have priority in the assignment of confiscated properties. The shortage of accommodation in Palermo has, in fact, for many years represented an urgency that calls for a redefining of these procedures.
In 2002, a group consisting of homeless families, which complained about the lack of housing for the homeless, responded to the municipal administration with a proposal: use the real estate confiscated from the mafia.
This initiative was followed by a peaceful and symbolic occupation of the Cathedral of Palermo by 13 families, who lived in the church for about a month. It was the second occupation of the Cathedral, the first taking place in 1975 for the same reasons (others followed in 2006 and 2007). The occupiers’ proposal was supported by the then Government Commissioner for Confiscated Assets and, between 2003 and 2005, the temporary allocation of about 120 houses was accomplished.
From this experience, the Committee of the Struggle for the House 12th July was born, an autonomous movement whose only protagonists are homeless families. The possibility of utilising confiscated assets activated “a virtuous circle”, which returned the assets of criminals to society, thanks to popular mobilisation. Other organisations in the city are now dealing with the housing problem, on a voluntary and free basis.
From top: Newspaper Theatre Performance (directed by Preziosa Salatino) by students from Teatro Atlante; debate on legislation, administration and management of assets confiscated from organised crime with the participation of professionals and activists. Photo: Riccardo Culotta and Sergio Sanna.
On Sunday 5th March, a public event at the Salesian Santa Chiara Centre develops from a starting point of the theme of the homeless emergency, in relation to the question of confiscated properties.
From 6 pm, a Newspaper Theatre performance (under the direction of Preziosa Salatino and with the participation of young students of Teatro Atlante), includes the reading of texts, articles and insights, that accompanies and stimulates a debate on the theme of the event.
Newspaper Theatre is a system introduced in the mid-sixties by Augusto Boal, the Brazilian theatre director, playwright, theorist, writer and founder of the Theatre of the Oppressed. It consists of a series of techniques developed to transform news items, articles or informative texts more generally, into a theatrical performance.
Preziosa Salatino is co-founder of Teatro Atlante in Palermo, an association that works in the fields of research and theatrical production. She is a national theatre practitioner of the Theatre of the Oppressed and runs courses and seminars for children, teachers and educators.
The Salesian Centre of Santa Chiara, in the heart of the Albergheria district in Ballarò, deals with the reception of migrants and migrant communities. At the end of the eighties, it was the first centre in the city to receive communities and individuals in situations of hardship, thus welcoming them to Palermo. Today, Santa Chiara is an open space for various initiatives, including: Asylum; the Oratory, with after-school and scholastic support; the Youth Centre, with sports and play activities; the Italian language school for foreigners, attended by 120 young people. The centre, directed by Don Enzo Volpe, is self-financed, thanks to the work of numerous volunteers and the contributions of its supporters.