The CERVANTES NATIONAL THEATER began a promotional program for cultural accessibility in 2018. This promotion, targeted at people with disabilities, was led by the Audiences Management area jointly with the Agency for Cultural Innovation of the Ministry of Culture.
The program is intended as a comprehensive action plan for a theater conceived as a space that reflects and stimulates diversity and guarantees the enjoyment by audiences with the greatest possible autonomy, as expressed in article 30 of Law No. 26378 of the Convention on Human Rights for People with Disabilities, and under equal conditions with a universal perspective and towards a design for all, as stated in article 2 of Law No. 51/2002, i.e., Law on Equality, Non-Discrimination and Universal Accessibility (LOIONDAU by its acronym in Spanish), from Spain.
Since then, accessible performances have been implemented as part of the TNC programming. These performances, aimed at the general public, have incorporated technical and human services so that people with sensory, visual, hearing disabilities and the deaf community can enjoy the live events on equal terms, according to their needs.
- Audio description and introductory audio description.
- Touch visit, prior to the performance.
- Argentine Sign Language (LSA by its acronym in Spanish), with interpreters on stage.
- QR code in hand programs, which provide information in multiple formats (video, audio, etc.).
- Magnetic ring in the Maria Guerrero and Orestes Caviglia auditoriums.
- Accessibility in performing arts 1. Training program. Training is open to key contacts from theaters throughout the country, from the City and the Province of Buenos Aires, and for TNC staff, taught by Kirsty Hoyle, a specialist in "relaxed performances" from the United Kingdom.
- Accessibility in performing arts 2. Training program. Presentation of the Accessible TNA Program with guests from social organizations. Casa Victoria Ocampo. National Fund for the Arts.
- Talks and presentations on accessibility in performing arts by the Public Management and Cultural Innovation team in Tandil, La Plata, City of Buenos Aires. Likewise, the Accessible TNA participated in the "Inclusion 2019" Seminar at the GAM Cultural Center in Santiago de Chile.
- Advice and testing of the entire project with organizations linked to the target groups.
- Incorporation of QR in hand programs with and without braille stippling.
- Incorporation of pictograms on the theater's website and in social media communications.
- Invitations in LSA, with subtitles and audio.
- Newsletter and social media postings in accessible format.
- Incorporation of the Accessibility tab on the web with accessible content.
- Description of images in direct communications and in publications on social media.
- A budget item to include QR code in braille in all theater programming for all performances. The embossing is done by the National Braille and Talking Book Publishing House, National Secretariat for Children, Teenagers and Families (SENNAF by its acronym in Spanish), Ministry of Social Development.
- In performances for schools, free seats for public elementary schools and 40% discount for private school audiences.
- In performances for all audiences: 50% discount for senior citizens, public school students and public and private school teachers who get accreditation.
- In performances for all audiences, 50% discount for MAH members (Mutual Organization of Hearing Impaired people in Argentina) and 2% quota per auditorium per performance for people with disabilities.
- Drinking bowl for guide dogs.
In March 2020, the CERVANTES THEATER launched the Cervantes online program. It was created to continue providing its service to the public, adapted to the conditions of social, preventive and mandatory social distancing and lockdown, as established by the National Administration in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and under the premise of offering Theater at Home with the theater's own content. In addition to the dissemination of audiovisual recordings of various shows and performances, and other actions carried out (such as "The women's assembly" with debates around gender issues), the theater produced a Behind the Scenes cycle, where the artists shared details of their work, and Conversations, interviews with the directors and different agents of the performing arts in our country, which were conducted by the current Content, Artistic Programming and Production Advisor, Sebastian Blutrach.
These actions, framed within a policy of cultural accessibility, were conceived both to build loyalty among spectators of the Cervantes Theater, and to expand the dissemination of content to viewers throughout the country and the rest of the world, through a YouTube channel, with content that can also be reproduced from different websites, such as the #Compartir Cultura (#ShareCulture) platform of the Ministry of Culture, or our own website, among others.
In order to adequately reach our viewers and incorporate new audiences and, at the same time, overcome technical sound problems in the recordings, audiovisual materials were subtitled, and SLA/ audio descriptions were added to the performances that are currently being prepared to be shared through the abovementioned platforms.
In previous years, many of the shows that were scheduled had a pedagogical notebook that was also available, especially for teachers, via the channel of the Ministry of Culture, under the name "Seguimos Educando" (We Continue Educating). Considering that the plays are uploaded to the channel for 72 hours, which does not allow teachers enough time to work on the materials, the Cervantes Education Online Program was created last July in the context of the current health emergency situation to encourage using these materials at schools and universities throughout Argentina from August to December. The programming corpus includes nine titles for different educational levels, accompanied by their corresponding pedagogical booklet, access to Behind the Scenes, Conversations and supplementary material: short video pieces with tutorial activities designed by educational level. Also, taking into account connectivity issues, sound pieces were developed to be sent via WhatsApp, which address specific content for each show. Likewise, among the mediation activities with schools and communities of new audiences, synchronous virtual meetings are held, with the participation of our Education Team, as well as teachers and the cast of the selected shows.
On the other hand, we would like to point out that in these months the "Nuestro Teatro" (Our Theater) Contest was held, consisting of a call for playwrights and authors from our country. A total of 1521 submissions were received, and 33 plays were selected; 21 of those are currently being rehearsed and filmed in the Maria Guerrero auditorium to be broadcast on Cervantes Online. The other 12 texts will be produced by the National Theater Institute, for the same purposes, in different provinces of our country.
Type(s) of entity(es) engaged in the implementation of the policy/measure:
This program is carried out jointly with other institutions and groups:
- Agency for Cultural Innovation, Ministry of Culture of Argentina.
- National Braille and Talking Book Publishing House. National Secretariat for Children, Teenagers and Families (SENNAF), Ministry of Social Development.
- National Disability Agency (former CONADIS)
- Mutual Organization for Hearing Impaired People in Argentina (MAH)
- Senas en Accion (SEA), an Argentine NGO.
- Disability Program, University Extension Unit of the School of Philosophy and Literature, UBA (University of Buenos Aires).
- FAICA (Argentine Federation of Associations for the Blind and Visually Impaired).
- British Council Argentina.
The types of entities engaged in the implementation of the policy / measure correspond to the public sector, the private sector and NGOs
Taking into account face-to-face activities, prior to the health emergency measures, within the framework of the Accessibility program we have:
* 16 accessible performances of 7 plays
* 800 total viewers
* 270 spectators with visual impairment
* 17 spectators with hearing impairment
* 450 deaf spectators
It is worth mentioning that 24% of the visually impaired and 54% of the hearing impaired spectators attended the theater for the first time.
The resources offered were: tactile tours, introductory audio description, live audio description by the actors, sign language interpreting, hand-programs with a QR code and braille stippling, pedagogical booklets for families and schools in ink, large print and braille/dots in relief with a description by the actors.
Likewise, we highlight accessible performances in the "The TNC Produces in the Country" program during 2019, in Rosario, Province of Santa Fe, and La Plata and Tandil, Province of Buenos Aires, which included tactile tours, sign language, audio introduction, hand programs in ink, braille and QR code.
Cervantes online: The channel, which has been active since March 21, has 32,179 subscribers as of September 21 and more than 713,814 visits. Audiences of different ages can access and enjoy the platform contents, specially the following age brackets: from 35 to 44 years of age (27%), from 25 to 34 years of age (19.2%), and from 45 to 54 years of age (18.2%). We have data about user gender (the YouTube channel only provides male/female metrics): 59.7% corresponds to female audiences and 40.3% corresponds to male audiences.
Cervantes Education Online: The call for the program exceeded our expectations, with a total of 1,500 registrations, aimed to reach 120,000 students.
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This program is carried out jointly with other institutions and groups
The CERVANTES NATIONAL THEATER, a public institution, is the only national theater in Argentina. Currently managed by Ruben D'Audia, it has the purpose of guaranteeing and facilitating access to culture, specifically to the performing arts, for audiences that are as large as possible. This translates into various management policies, ranging from setting an affordable ticket price for its performances and shows, to inclusion work and training of new audiences, through activities coordinated with social and cultural organizations. The intent is to facilitate attendance of people who do not usually attend the theater, either due to their social, economic or geographical situation, for example, participants of cultural institutions from vulnerable neighborhoods, as well as members of the LGTTBI+ collective, or senior citizens, to name just a few.
Likewise, the focus has been on working together with various educational institutions in order to facilitate loyalty programs, training aimed at audiences that do not usually attend the theater, and attendance of people with different disabilities through the abovementioned actions.
In the understanding that access to culture is a right for everyone, we are convinced of the need to coordinate and articulate actions to make a public theater that is inclusive, plural and accessible.