International Theatre Festival "El Gesto Noble”, a stage for imagination
1. El Carmen de Viboral and culture
The municipality of El Carmen de Viboral is a part of the department of Antioquia, Colombia, located in the eastern region. It is a hybrid and multicultural region that houses significant human, social, and institutional capital, and is considered one of the areas with the greatest economic potential in the country. However, it also faces serious challenges with respect to governance, inequality, high poverty rates, lacking in global outreach, and a largely obsolete economic and social structure.
El Carmen de Viboral, on the other hand, is a municipality that is increasingly reliant on its customs and traditions. It is a diverse town owing to the fact that, among other things, it is home to a unique social and artistic influence. Indeed, in recent years, it has continued to build its reputation as a hub of cultural life and making it an essential part of its social and political character.
As such, the town’s current investment in its future have created the necessary conditions for turning culture into a foundational pillar for transformation that the territory desperately needs. We recognize El Carmen de Viboral as a town with a unique cultural life, not because life revolves around art, but rather that art revolves around life as an objective power, as a creative force, as part of the aesthetic of existence.
We recognize El Carmen de Viboral as a town with a unique cultural life, not because life revolves around art, but rather that are revolves around life.
2. Project goals and implementation
2.1. Main goal and specific objectives
The Noble Gesture is a festival that is not only a possible means to recognize the fruits of a culture, but also to welcome others and uplift them to new heights. In it we aspire to be part of an aesthetic experience where creative imagination is our best tool for reciprocity and recognition. Indeed, the initiative aims to invent a landscape, a garden, a living art, a cultivation for the contemplation and enjoyment of the spirit; a way to recapture the joy of creation and the life-giving force of ideas. It is a festival that was born out of a dark and violent social time for both the town and the country. Since its creation, the program has always sought to establish itself as a welcoming, protective environment.
2.2. Project development
The activities lasted about 15 days, and each festival has developed the following:
- A seminar/workshop for the region’s theatre sector, of approximately 30 hours, with special guests.
- Between 50 and 70 theatrical performances, children’s theatre, street theatre, puppetry, mime, circus, oral storytelling, and two concerts were performed.
- An academic day for public education.
- A touring call for local and regional artistic groups.
- The Local Carnaval de Comparsas Award, where the best comparsas are recognized during the Festival’s opening ceremony.
- A comparsas school called “Víbora Festiva”.
- An inaugural comparsa parade through the streets of the town with more than 900 artists.
- Exhibitions of photographs and visual arts related to performing arts.
- Publication of physical and digital editions of each version of the Festival of El Gesto Noble Newspaper with a call for writers;
- Production and broadcasting of transmedia program, A Look At The Noble Gesture.
- Radio programs on The Noble Gesture;
- Act of recognition for a theatre personality who has contributed to the festival and to the development of Colombian theatre;
- Photography and video contests “I am the Gesture of the Gesture”.
The initative aims to invent a landscape, a garden, a living art, a cultivation for the contemplation and enjoyment of the spirit; a way to recapture the joy of creation and the life-giving force of ideas.
3.1. Direct impacts
Currently, The Noble Gesture has established itself as one most successful artistic and cultural events in the field of performing arts in the region of eastern Antioquia. Socially, it is viewed as one of the most important performing arts festivals for the department and all of Colombia.
This festival is seen as an opportunity to strengthen cultural identity, the social adoption of the arts, the consolidation of creative processes, and the economic revitalization of various sectors of the municipality.
Additionally, it contributes to coexistence, cultural transformation, and the consolidation of creative processes and dissemination, which turns arts and culture into drivers of local development.
During the first phase of the design and creation of an observatory on culture and the territory El Carmen de Viboral sought to analyze the characteristics of the Creative Ecosystem through social mapping of research and support. The strategies of this process included identifying a clearer system for understanding the impacts of culture and its indicators.
This project is part of a public policy included in the 2016 - 2026 El Carmen de Viboral Municipal Culture Plan “A Territory for the Good Life” and in the 2020 - 2023 El Carmen de Viboral Municipal Development Plan, “More Opportunities, Together”. Additionally, this festival has been an event that has been held multiple time with the support and recognition of the Ministry of Culture and the Institute of Culture and Heritage of Antioquia, occasionally with their calls for support.
Established itself as one most successful artistic and cultural events in the field of performing arts in the region of Eastern Antioquia, and one of the most important performing arts festival for the department.
4. Further information
El Carmen de Viboral was a candidate for the fifth UCLG Mexico City – Culture 21 International Award (February - June 2022). The jury for the award drew up its final report in September of 2022, and requested that the UCLG Committee on Culture promote this project as one of the good practices implemented under Agenda 21 for culture.
This report was written by Yeison Castro Trujillo, Director, Institute of Culture of El Carmen de Viboral, El Carmen de Viboral, Colombia.
Contact: direccioninstitutocultura (at) alcaldiaelcarmen.gov.co