Teatro Valle, once owned by the national theatre agency (ETI, abolished in 2010), has been actively occupied by actors, directors and musicians staging free events for over a year to prevent it from privatisation.
4.3 Other relevant issues and debates
Ethical and cultural human rights issues are by no means a priority, for the time being, in the Italian cultural policy making, whose main challenge (see chapter 4.1) is presently to cope with the progressively growing cuts in cultural expenditure (see chapter 4.2.1 and chapter 6).
Besides the downsizing of public expenditure for culture - extensively dealt with in chapter 4.1 – and additional austerity measures adopted by the above mentioned Law 220/2011 on financial stability, there is also a rise in heated debates in cultural circles on their potentially negative effects.
By far the most heated of these debates relates to the suppression of Ente Teatrale Italiano (ETI), the Italian arm's length state institute for the promotion of theatre and dance established in 1942, and actively promoting experimentation and international cultural cooperation in the field.
Following the suppression, ETI's staff has been transferred to MiBAC's DG for the Performing Arts, whereas its three theatres were put on the market: Teatro La Pergola, in Florence, became a foundation owned by the municipality itself and by a banking foundation; Teatro Quirino, in Rome, was privatised; when the third theatre, Teatro Valle (the oldest theatre in Rome, founded in 1727), was due to be privatised as well, many theatre people – actors, directors, musicians, and the whole Roman theatre community – fiercely opposed that decision by occupying the theatre in June 2011. The occupation has been ongoing for a year, during which the theatre was able to offer its fans hundreds of theatre, music, dance, and film performances, thanks to the solidarity expressed by the arts community, performing for free. Peter Stein, Anatoly Vasiliev, Dario Fo, Franca Rame, Nanni Moretti have been among the many artists performing on the Valle's stage.
Meanwhile, a new juridical status – a foundation, with the name Fondazione Teatro Valle Bene Comune (Foundation Teatro Valle Common Good) – is being planned for the occupied theatre. The related movement is fully in line with several, new movements of citizens currently growing in our country with a view to supporting the establishment of a new category of goods with a special status: the common goods / "beni comuni" (the most important of these goods being water, also threatened by privatisation in Italy).
The fate of Teatro Valle is still uncertain, also depending on the availability of the financial resources needed for the ordinary management of the proposed foundation: the collection of money and donations is, in fact, lagging behind (only half of the needed financial resources has been reached). Meanwhile, though, the contagion has spread to other theatres – mainly in southern Italy – which have also been occupied.