Women make their way in Latin American theatres

Thirty three are the member theaters of Ópera Latinoamérica (OLA) and in 2021, thirteen of them are led by women. “Although there have always been women in executive positions in theatres, in the last two years many women who have developed a successful management career from different fields of culture and the arts, today lead important institutions in their respective countries,” said Alejandra Martí, executive director of OLA.


During Women’s Month, we want to highlight the work carried out by the directors of institutions linked to opera in different countries of our continent: the president of OLA, María Victoria Alcaraz at Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (Argentina); María Jaunarena in Juventus Lyrica (Argentina); Silvana Moreno at Teatro del Bicentenario de San Juan (Argentina); Flavia Furtado at the Amazonas Opera Festival (Brazil); Eliane Parreiras at Palacio das Artes,  Clóvis Salgado Foundation (Brazil); Carmen Gloria Larenas at the Municipal de Santiago Theatre (Chile); Paula Gannat at the Rancagua Regional Theatre (Chile); Victoria Flores at the Maule Regional Theatre (Chile); Cecilia Bravo at  Teatro del Lago (Chile); Claudia del Valle at  Teatro Colón in Bogotá (Colombia); María José Morales in Compañía Lírica Querido Arte (Guatemala); María Cecilia Sánchez at Sánchez Aguilar Theatre (Ecuador); Malena Muyena at  Solís Theatre (Uruguay).


“In the area of ​​culture, the scene is a little better than in other sectors, with a greater presence of women. But there are still important and necessary spaces to conquer in the artistic field, ”said Eliane Parreiras, who assumed the presidency of the Clóvis Salgado Foundation in 2019.


They are women who assumed leadership roles in especially challenging times, with a health crisis that has kept theatres closed for months, but which has opened other doors, especially on digital platforms. “The first challenge was to change the language from face-to-face to digital, to continue keeping the audience engage in our programme. It is the only national public theatre and we had to rethink how those strategies were going to be in order not to abandon our public” said Claudia del Valle, director of the Teatro Colón in Bogotá, who took over in February 2020.


Cecilia Bravo, Director of Art & Innovation of  Teatro del Lago de Frutillar, took charge of it in February 2020, shortly before the arrival of the pandemia in Chile. “It was very surprising for everyone, worldwide speaking, and it has hit the entire cultural industry very hard. Thus, it has also given us time, which we never have, to think and re-think ourselves, and to question ourselves, not only as theatre, but as humanity, where are we going and what do we want? The challenge now is greater and collective as a sector. Any achievement or positive result in the arts today will be the responsibility of the collaborative work of the cultural world ”, reflects the Chilean director.


Networking is an important axis in the management of opera houses, as it allows sharing practices in different areas and making alliances for the development of productions. “Any alliance, collaboration or network that is generated is beneficial. It helps us to elevate the work we do and to reach different areas. By joining OLA, we are aware that we are becoming part of a network of theaters that opens doors for us and places us on a prestigious platform that demands and commits us on our path to excellence” said María Cecilia Sánchez, executive director of Sánchez Aguilar Theatre in Ecuador.


This 2021, opera houses around the world are waiting to return to the presence and consolidate digital projects. The evolution of the health crisis will give the guidelines of what can be done. Whatever happens, the commitment does not waver. “I see the year as a mix between the digital and face-to-face world, with an important focus on training and opportunities for improvement,” says Cecilia Bravo. “Our commitment continues to be to offer a wide and varied high-quality cultural program, in which all artistic expressions have a place. We will not only continue to strengthen ourselves as a production theater, but also as a platform for the circulation and reactivation of the culture of our country ”, adds Del Valle.