Lesbia, Telma S., Adelma, Rosa and Telma A. are five Guatemalan women who have all been victims of violence at one point in their lives and who have all met thanks to the power of theatre. However, this is just the beginning, the Spanish Cooperation Agency (AECID) reports.
By coming out publicly with the story of their lives, they have realized that theatre also serves as a powerful self-defence and healing tool. The impact they felt from the public at their premiere inspired them to carry on.
"Las Poderosas" or "The Powerful" originated when theatre director and playwright Marco Canale, victim of violence himself, invited them to participate in a documentary. From this encounter they emerged with the idea to form the group "Las Poderosas Teatro" or "The Powerful Theatre".
"The theatre turned into a strong means to transform us and to fill us with strength and worth. It gave us a new life opportunity and we saw the audience spinning in their seats and responding to it" said Lesbia.
The group's objective is to take theatre beyond only artistic value but to create social meaning and change. This was the aspect that made the Spanish Cooperation Agency support the initiative through the Cultural Centre of Spain in Guatemala, by offering them the Lux Cinema, the Centre's building, as a base for their operations.
The emblematic cinema, on the Sixth Avenue of Guatemala City is the centre from where Lesbia, Rosa, Telma A., Adelma and Telma S., the 5 super heroines of flesh and blood, together with Marco Canale, director of the group, managed to process individual and collective research about their own stories.
The support of the Spanish Cooperation Agency to this theatrical group fits with its mission which is to promote, on one hand, the respect to cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, the freedom of expression and creation; and on the other, the efficient participation of all persons in cultural life, as well as a focus on gender, promoting the empowerment of women and their right to live free of violence.
Through embassies and cultural counsellors all over the world and in the Network of Cultural Centres, formed by 19 centres in Latin America and Africa, the Spanish Cooperation Agency carries out cultural and scientific cooperation, strengthens culture as an element for development and supports the Spanish cultural activities and their promotion abroad.
In the case of Las Poderosas, culture is being used as a means of social transformation and development.
"Las Poderosas Teatro"
Las Poderosas Teatro is a theatrical collective formed by women and their children, all survivors of violence. They create their plays from investigative processes that stem from their own life stories and their relation to the story. Their work has been showcased in different countries, festivals and community spaces.