Author Archives: Roberto Bacchilega

Chupwallah at AstaroTheatro

Chupwallah is a musical incarnation of Amsterdam based guitarist and composer John Newton from the North East of England, exploring the edges of traditional folk instruments and acoustic music through dynamic finger picking and unusual open tunings. The usual suspects in this affair include classical guitar, 12 string guitar, and the banjo.

Saturday 21 January, 20:30
Sint Jansstraat 37 Amsterdam
Entrance by Donation

Marx is Back

MARX IS BACK (a play on history)
meets IIRE Ecosocialist School
“Why have I returned? to clear my name!”

AstaroTheatro presents a monologue by Howard Zinn adapted and performed by Roberto Bacchilega

Karl Marx has had enough of seeing his revolution taken over by opportunists organizing each time a new priesthood and a new hierarchy, with excommunications and indexes, with inquisitions and firing squads. He is disgusted by media declaring him dead again and again. Karl Marx is back to remind us that his ideas are more alive than ever. He revisits memories of his courageous life and revolutionary theories. We learn about his family, his struggles and the boils on his arse.

Friday 2 december, 20:00
IIRE International Institute for Research and Education
Lombokstraat 40 Amsterdam
Free Entrance. Donations welcome

Rembetiko Against The Machine at AstaroTheatro

Saturday 19/11 is rebetiko night at AstaroTheatro!

A session with rebetiko tunes from the 1930’s till the early 1950’s.
The period between the 1st and 2nd World Wars had a crucial role in the development of the Greek bouzouki players and the texture of the genre.
We are gonna perform rebetiko tunes from each period. Looking forward to see you there and enjoy the night with this unique atmosphere!!!
Ilias Konstantinidis: guitar, vocals
Giannis Leloudas: bouzouki, vocals
Argyris Papadimitriou: bouzouki, baglamadaki, vocals

Rembetiko Against The Machine
Saturday 19 November, 20:30
Sint Jansstraat 37 Amsterdam
Entrance by Donation

Theatre as Communal Experience – A workshop

Theatre as Communal Experience
A workshop

Our lives are communal; we need to be social to survive.

AstaroTheatro has a long history of community creation.
Theatre becomes an empowering act of artistic and human blossoming in the direction of communal experience and collaborative sharing.
Hence this workshop where participants engage in the process of authorship through multiple discussions, self-representation, improvisations, learning to feel the others and the space. Egos are tamed, the collective creates.

There is no separation or hierarchy among body, mind and spoken word.
We communicate simultaneously with all our faculties – a lesson easily learned, but in practice a never-ending journey of rise and fall. All this makes for inspiring moments during our workshop. We learn to work with our body, our breath, our voice in a non-judgemental way. We explore the space and we interact with the other performers. New exercises are welcome and constantly proposed. We are in the process of learning that physical exercises, improvisations and experiments allow the body to introduce new ideas. The body does the thinking, in a way. We seek a deeper interaction by ‘feeling’ the other performers while at the same time being a total actor.
Who I am is because of you.

Anyone can do theater, even actors. And theater can be done everywhere. Even in a theater
Augusto Boal

This theatre workshop explores the basics of the performative practice: posture, movement, presence, body, the other in the space, games and the voice in many of its expressions.
Our voices engage in spoken word, text and poetry in order to reach the poetry performance: from poetry to theatre.
Our work will be inspired by theatre masters like Jerzy Grotowski, Jurij Alschitz, Augusto Boal and AstaroTheatro’s own experience. But above all our practice will originate from ourselves: our memories, stories and skills. Theatre becomes the discovery that each of us is able to tell and to tell about ourselves.

How to create while one is controlled by others, how to create without the security of creation, how to find a security which is inevitable if we want to express ourselves
Jerzy Grotowski

Four sessions open to everyone from the unexperienced person to the more experienced theatre practitioner. One of the aims of the workshop is the staging of a collectively created theatre performance during the fifth session.
4 sessions: 2, 9, 16, 23 October 14:30-17:00. 30 October Theatre Performance
Max. 6 Min. 4 Participants. Please contact us for more information:
AstaroTheatro Sint Janssstraat 37 Amsterdam
Tel 06 25382491

The wind erases the traces of the seagulls.
Rain erases human footprint.
The sun erases the trace of time.
Storytellers look for the invisible but never erased trace of lost memory, love and pain
Eduardo Galeano

Rebetiko at AstaroTheatro

Rebet guitarS

A guitar duet, will present the music of the legendary “Kostis”, the most enigmatic of all greek rebetika artists. 12+1 songs of truly unique guitar duets and black-humor lyrics chronicling the hash dens, prison culture and pickpockets of old Athens. Recorded in 1930-31 on 78 rpm records, under a pseudonym for export to the greeks living in America, research has uncovered the musician, journalist and cartoonist Kostas Bezos as the figure lurking behind the Kostis name, with ties to the famous singer and producer Tetos Demetriades. Renowned for his slide guitar playing in Hawaiian-style orchestras throughout the 1930s, the Kostis recordings reveal an entirely different underworld of the macabre and illicit. The use of guitar in these now-classic rebetika songs display a virtuosity of Near-Eastern modes and unusual tunings at the dawn of rebetika, when the bouzouki was yet to become supreme.

Saturday 10 September, 20:30
Sint Jansstraat 37 Amsterdam 
Entrance by Donation

Terre di Terra

Terre di Terra
Theatre from the South

A theatre performance on our land and on our claim to it. 
Against the logics of capitalist property and a call for an exploitation-free environment.
Tolve. Basilicata. Italy

AstaroTheatro Theatre in Motion

AstaroTheatro. Theatre in Motion

It has been a long journey to arrive here. And once we set foot on land, the sigh of relief was short lasting. The road ahead of us opened up and called us firmly to resume exploration.
It’s hard to say when it all began and arguably it’s not so relevant. For sure years ago we gathered around the necessity of grassroots artistic expression based on our theatre and performance experience. Music, singings, voice and body performance were also ready to be included, so that the motion of our work moved from the multidisciplinary level to the transcultural and transnational one. Voices, languages, sounds and images moved to a conformation where the cultural journey leads to the unfiltered presence of the performer and the audience.
This way of working has been bottom-up from the very beginning. Artists come together driven by the urgency of sharing in a non-hierarchical and horizontal way. Cultures, backgrounds, languages, emotions and meanings transit to a new land without artistic boundaries.
Once motion is started, it aims at becoming a perpetual motion. We created images of performers wandering around, displaced and destroyed, carrying the confusion, the illusions and the chaos of humanity, just when an explosion is necessary to bring back the light, to restore, to reconnect.
“Nationality is not a quality” finds its motion from a recitation to a transmigration. And by doing so, this recitation becomes one the trait d’union of our poetica where the experience of translinguistic performances rejects any mediation by translation. It transforms itself in playful rehearsals of self-representation, of migrant lives sharing stories after having crossed many, colonial, borders. Those who are tried to be imprisoned in dumbness turn it into voice and expression.Words, sounds, images need to transcend the fixity of our every day and provoke the audience into rising above the level of the given to that of the possible.

“As you sleep and count the stars, think of others,
those who have nowhere to sleep

As you liberate yourself with metaphors, think of others,
those who have lost the right to speak

As you think of others far away,
think of yourself and say “if only I were a candle in the night”
(Mahmoud Darwish)

We are not simply the plain summary of our past artistic journey. Our motion transcends the here and the now by being anon-going project, a work in progress constantly reshaping itself to the artistic and social challenges of our times. We keep moving to go beyond the current contingency, in order to explore our world as human beings and artists in search of a total physical presence with an emancipatory power for both the artists and the audience.
This means that to stop workshop-activities has never been an option for us. Motion is started, motion never ends. The artistic exploration moves throughout raising questions during performative moments.
1. Struggle goes on, struggle never ends. Struggle is circular.
We are current Aeneas with our fathers on our shoulders and our offspring by the hand.
Now we are here. Is this the land of milk and honey?
2. Or is this the land of the endless and pointless repetition of the same? I can adapt to the daily routine of my actions, push my body to mechanize itself, convince my mind to be only rationally productive. Is this how we want to live?
3. Also our investigation concentrates on Mother Earth. As artists we are deeply concerned about the health conditions of our mother. How can we artistically tackle this issue? And how can our artistic transhumance ever find a safe harbour?
Here is where we are now. Time to stop a minute and recap. We need to remember the items we wish to put in our artistic suitcase: artistic past, poetica, questions raised during past performative moments as well as our ability of bridging, of been, like a bridge, the connection of artists and audience.

We can easily push our imagination and see our future performances in some indoor abandoned industrial space. Or inside some space with debris scattered around. Or in any alternative venue close to you. We have strong reasons for choosing such locations, since ours has always been a theatre outside the grand theatre buildings and inside spaces generally not meant to be ‘theatrical’ in the first place. Adaptation to locations is something our performances know all too well. And to all this we add up our transcultural, transnational, translinguistic work which transcends boundaries.
Arts are here to protect the culture and memory of the one that will be lost on the dusty shelves of history, the one who tries to be quiet, the one who cannot be included in the official history pages.
Our artistic investigation is a motion of senses: analogic sounds of stones and steps, images of repopulated land, memories of touching each other, smells and tastes of seaweed.

The wind erases the traces of the seagulls.
Rain erases human footprint.
The sun erases the trace of time.
Storytellers look for the invisible but never erased trace of lost memory, love and pain”
(Eduardo Galeano)

Renato Ferreira at AstaroTheatro

Renato Ferreira at AstaroTheatro
Thursday 14 July, 20:30
Sint Jansstraat 37 Amsterdam 

Renato Ferreira is a composer, saxophone and double-bass player, originally from São Paulo, Brazil.

In São Paulo, he was a member of the ensemble of Ricardo Zohyo, a long-term collaborator of Hermeto Pascoal, studying many forms of Brazilian folklore as well as Brazilian instrumental music.

After moving to the Netherlands, he played for many years in the Royal Improvisers Orchestra, together with some of the most exciting young musicians from the improvised music scene in Amsterdam and The Hague. With this group he performed several times at Amsterdam’s Bimhuis, including collaborations with Han Bennink, Steve Beresford, Phil Minton and the London Improvisers Orchestra.

Since 2015, he has been leading the Native Aliens Ensemble, a group that combines composition and free improvisation into an explosive mix with roots in traditional forms of Brazilian folk music. The Native Aliens Ensemble recorded a live CD at Teatro Munganga in Amsterdam, released by Trytone Records, and performed twice at the Bimhuis in 2016 and 2017.

He took part in the Music Of Inevitable Sounds, a project by the legendary bass player Luc Ex, joined by pianists Nora Mulder and Veryan Weston a.o., performing in several venues across Europe such as Konzerthaus Vienna as part of the Wien Modern Festival, Teatro San Leonardo in Bologna, Italy, Korzo theater in The Hague and Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and Festival Ars Musica at Les Brigittines, Bruxelles, Belgium.

Renato has been an active improviser in Amsterdam since 2010, playing with musicians such as Burton Greene, Anne La Berge, Nora Mulder, Onno Govaert, Michael Moore, Yedo Gibson, Hans Houtman, John Dikeman, Jasper Stadhouders, Saartje van Kamp, Tobias Delius, Wilbert De Joode, Nico Chientaroli, Oene van Geel and many others.

He graduated at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, where he studied contemporary composition with Martijn Padding, Cornelis De Bondt and Gilius van Bergeijk among others.

Renato Ferreira

Entrance by Donation

Baschira & Yunus: A La Muntagna

Baschira & Yunus: A La Muntagna

Once upon time there was a song. A La Muntagna. And this song inspired a profound nexus of true international solidarity. From the mountains of Southern Italy to the peaks of Kurdistan.
Baschira, Italian musician and songwriter and Yunus, Kurdish musician and polyhedric artist began to play together and to influence each other. Now their different music and artistic backgrounds have come together to a higher level of inspiration for the audience of AstaroTheatro.
From Italy to Kurdistan. And vice versa

Once upon a time there was a song. A La Muntagna. And this song inspired a short theatre performance of unity and common struggle. Now this performance is ready to touch the people of AstaroTheatro.
We make the pains of the earth our own

An artistic diaspora at AstaroTheatro

Saturday 18 June, 20:30
Sint Jansstraat 37 Amsterdam

Entrance by Donation