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SAVE EMBROS in Greece: Culture under threat

Petition published by Mavili Collective on Oct 17, 2012

On the 11 November 2011 Mavili Collective a group of artists and theatre makers - occupied the disused building of Embros theatre and proposed an intense
programme of activities.

The occupancy installed itself as a re-activation and proposed initially an intense twelve-day programme of activities bringing together artists, theoreticians,
dance/theatre makers, architects and the general public. As Mavili Collective (2011) states in the manifesto that was sent to press and public: This re-activation is
not a proposition of a better model of production and management but is a proposition of re-thinking, responding and re-making.

This model emerges from the current lacks and shortfalls of our system and attempts to interrogate the global changing landscape at this moment in time. During
the last year in Embros, in Athens over 500 artists, theoreticians and practitioners presented work; ranging from emerging artists and students to university
professors and established practitioners, working across multiple disciplines.

The deserted Embros Theatre in Athens re-activated by an artists occupation is going to be closed down and privatized.

In November 2011, Mavili Collective reactivated the historical disused theatre building of Embros and proposed an intense programme of cultural activities.

In the year since the re-activation over 500 Greek and foreign artists, academics, theorists and activists have presented work that drew large audiences. All these
events were free to the public. The occupation re-constituted Embros as a public space for exchange, research, debate, meeting and re-thinking.

The company retained by the new Greek goverment with the purpose of "reforming" the use of national assets in order to "modernise" the Greek economy, has
demanded Mavili evacuate Embros immediately. Their intention is to rent the building privately for an as yet unspecified use.

The termination of a free cultural space and community centre appears particularly questionable at a moment when the Greek state seems unable to financially
support cultural practices or to create social structures to support it's citizens through the current crisis.

A letter of support has already been countersigned by over 780 people from the Greek cultural sector and other fields but in order to save Embros we need your

Please sign the petition here or send us an email at kinisimavili@gmail.com stating your name and your profession.

Embros is still open.

On Thursday 25th October 2012 Mavili Collective refused to hand over the site to the bailiffs of ETAD. A large group of people gathered outside from early morning
and successfully stopped the closing of the space by the police and ETAD. The Embros general assembly that followed on the same day created working groups and
the Embros Occupancy has now opened up to an extended collective of artists, architects and the general public.
On Tuesday, October 30th 2012, ETAD sent a new eviction order. This time personally to Mavili Collective members as responsible for the occupancy. According to
our lawyers opinion the bailiffs and the police can come with orders and close the space at any point from now on.
Despite the fact that there is no statement of interest from any public or private enterprise regarding taking over the running of Embros and although ETAD
declares that it is sensitive to the needs of the local communities (23/10/12 reply to letter of inhabitants and Mavili collective). ETAD has declined any form of
dialogue with inhabitants, mavili collective or other artists about the future of this space.
The general assembly on October 30, 2012, decided that EMBROS would remain open and November will be a transitional period towards a new participatory model
of a cultural production space open to diverse groups and collectives.
We continue the petition and attempts of open a dialogue with Municipality of Athens and other public sectors.
Your presence and support in the new programme of concerts, discussions and activities is more vital than ever to ensure that EMBROS can continue as a space for
research, arts and social practice making a space for common good in our city.
Thank you very much
The EMBROS Community, Mavili Collective
Petition published by Embros Theater on Nov 09, 2013

Petition Background (Preamble):

The historical building of Riga Palamidi 2 of Embros was built in 1933 and till 1985 housed the printing facilities of EMBROS newspaper. In 1988 the Public Real
Estate Corporation leased the building to the theatre director Tassos Bantis.

The theatrical company "Morfes" and later the "Embros Theater Company" were housed in the building until the death of Tassos Bantis. During those years
EMBROS drew large audiences and became one of the most important Athenian theatres. In 1989, the Ministry of Culture declared the building a historical

This deserted building, abandoned after the death of T. Bantis, was occupied in November 2011 by Mavili Collective a small group of artists and theoreticians. The
occupancy installed itself as a re-activation and proposed initially an intense twelve-day program of activities bringing together artists, theoreticians,
dance/theatre makers, architects and the general public. Mavili Collective continued to operate within the space after the reactivation and produced a dense
program of cultural events for about one year.

During this period, over 500 Greek and foreign artists, academics, activists and theorists participated in events organized and produced by the Mavili Collective, in
collaboration with local inhabitants and the Psirri residents movement, and also many other collectives and groups of the city. All events were free for the public.

A year later ETAD, a new company responsible for selling national assets announced the potential rental of the theatre and demanded Mavili Collective evacuate
EMBROS. In a time of crisis, where the Greek state had proven and still is, unable or perhaps unwilling to support the arts and culture and to create social
structures, the salvation of EMBROS was of vital importance. Over 2000 signatures were collected in support of EMBROS. Crucially many artists, theorists and
activists, felt the urgent need to actively defend the space, a fact which resulted in a further widening of the participants of the occupation, which in the last year
operates with an Open Assembly as its organizing body and under the name "Free Self-managed Theater EMBROS ".

Since November 2012, EMBROS functions as an open cultural and social space and hosts performances, exhibitions, screenings, concerts, seminars, discussions
and social activities. The operational models are always in process, constantly testing modes and forms that can support its cultural and social role as an
experimental common good in the heart of the city. At the same time EMPROS has established relations with other spaces, in Greece and abroad and is supported
by other occupancies, social spaces, research centers and cultural institutions across Europe.

In September 2013, EMBROS was once again forcibly closed, this time from TAIPED -Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), a company responsible
for the auctioning and privatizing of public assets, which appears as the new owner of the space. However, the legal documents for this transition seem vague and
imprecise and the space is not properly described nor located with its exact address. Although the space re-opened a few days after its closure, on October 30th
two actors were arrested and evicted with a series of charges.

EMBROS has already received numerous expressions of solidarity from Greece and abroad. Your support at this stage is vital for the continuity of EMBROS and also
for the two arrested actors who will be tried in court n the next couple of months.

In response and resistance to the authoritarian, repressive policy of the current government, to the privatization of public property, and the governments imposed
motto of "order and security" applied by the police, EMBROS remains open today and invites you all to participate in all its actions.

For more info visit:

The free, self-managed theater EMBROS in the centre of Athens is again under attack and in immediate danger.

On October 30, 2013 two actors were arrested in the theater EMBROS during rehearsal. Both are indicted with charges of "the breaching of seals, disrupting
domestic peace and persistent occupation of public buildings." This unimaginable arrest is the culmination of the Greek state's attack on a space, which in the last
two years and in the middle of the economic crisis has become a nexus of alternative cultural and social action for the city of Athens.

The EMBROS theatre -that remained closed and deserted for years by the Greek state- was re-activated in November 2011 and operates as an artistic self-
managed space. EMBROS, through its cultural and social activities, its ties with the neighborhood, its connection with other self-managed spaces as well as being
supported by an important part of the Greek and international artistic and academic community, has become a hub for artistic creation and experimentation and a
core for social solidarity and political activism. EMBROS opposes any commercialization and exclusion and operates as a common good for the neighborhood and
the city.

We, who participate in the Open Assembly of the Free Self-managed theater EMBROS, invite all those who have participated or visited EMBROS in the past - artists,
academics, theorists, politicians and social activists, but also all those who consider the existence of free, self-managed artistic and social spaces vital for society -
to demonstrate their support not only in the trial of the two actors, which will take place in the next couple of months, but also in our overall effort to keep EMBROS
alive and active. We invite you all to resist with us against government authoritarianism and the selling off public property and, to support the freedom of artistic
creation and social solidarity.

Please sign the petition here stating your name and your profession.