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The promotion of culture by encouraging artistic creation has been one of the strategic aims of government throughout the democratic period. This relevance, referred in many policy discourses, has been translated, though not always at desirable levels, in budget allocations. The performing arts and music is the art sector to benefit most from central and regional administrations, and, after cultural heritage, is one of the main areas of cultural intervention.
Main priorities in the past few years have included: increasing demand; strengthening the collaboration and participation of cultural institutions and sectors; and the implementation of a new organisational and management model that takes into account the territorial organisation of the country.
The aim of increasing demand has had unremarkable results so far. The strengthening of institutional cooperation has focused primarily on the exchange of productions in the regions, as well as the improvement of dialogue with municipalities. To this end, the government has promoted networks of circulation and the marketing of theatre, circus, music and dance, with the aim that cultural companies can perform their productions beyond their regions of origin, correcting territorial imbalances and providing more quality to cultural programming at all levels of government.
Regarding organisational issues, the creation of the State Council for Performing Arts and Music (497/2010 Royal Decree) has been one of the major changes in structures supporting the arts. This body receives, in a formal and institutional manner, requests and proposals from different sectors of music, theatre, dance and circus, as well as from local and regional governments, and contributes to the setting of priorities for the cultural policy in this area. The Council has been conceived as one of the fundamental instruments for achieving communication and cultural cooperation among the different actors.
During the past few years, the INAEM has also supported the development of comprehensive plans of action, such as the General Plan for Theatre, published in 2007 and revised in 2011, the General Plan for Dance 2010-2014, approved in November 2009, and the General Plan for Circus 2012-2015, approved in November 2011. All of the plans have been the result of reflection and participation of the performing arts sector in the analysis of the situation, the assessment of needs and the establishment of strategic lines for public policies.
Also in the field of artistic creation, the INAEM has promoted the approval of the new statutes of the National Dance Company (CUL/1993/2010 Order), the National Ballet (CUL/3065/2010 Order), the National Classical Theatre Company (CUL/3355/2010 Order), the Zarzuela Theatre (CUL/451/2011Order), the National Drama Centre (CUL/2039/2011Order) and the National Music Dissemination Centre (CUL/3359/2011 Order). All of them represented a profound change in the performing arts and music sectors. Among the objectives of the new institutions and their regulation are the impetus for educational initiatives which facilitate the understanding of their artistic programming and the development of campaigns aimed at attracting new audiences. During these years, the legal structures have proved to be unsuitable to properly deal with their artists, performers and technicians, and to assure flexible and adequate funding.
More recently, the Culture Plan 2020, passed in 2017, incorporates the following specific strategies for the period 2017-2010:
- the reform of the National Institute of Performing Arts and Music (INAEM), as an institution responsible for supporting the music and performing arts and the establishment of strategic areas of intervention. In relation to this aim, 2018 was a year of great unrest in some of the national performing arts institutions. The Zarzuela Theatre and the National Foundation of the Royal Theatre were merged in April (for more details see here) and this decision was reversed in June (for more details see here). More recently, the Socialist government has created a Commission to propose how the INAEM should be reformed as to become a more flexible and suitable body of government for the performing arts (for more details see here). The conclusions of the Commission were presented in December 2018 and are now to be considered in the future reform of the Institute;
- the establishment of mechanisms aimed at increasing the visibility, diagnosis and monitoring of the sector;
- the reinforcement of the programme “Platea 19”, aimed at guaranteeing diverse and quality programming in spaces owned by local entities;
- the design of a new National Theatre for Dance, as a permanent venue for the National Dance Company and the National Ballet;
- the development of the programme “Con red” [With net] to promote the circus sector;
- the development of the programme “Educaescena” to facilitate the application of inclusive and pedagogical formulas that connect performing arts and music with social needs;
- the establishment of a Training Plan for the Performing Arts that complements formal education; and
- the reinforcement of the programming of the National Centre of Musical Dissemination in matters of contemporary music.
In order to visualise the scenic creation and facilitate communication between creators, the INAEM launched the portals danza.es and teatro.es, which are linked to the Centre of Theatre Documentation.