Arts & Entertainment

Spain cultural sector slams far-right censorship amid election campaign

By Victoria Moreno

Madrid, July 7 (EFE/EPA).- A cultural initiative is flourishing online in Spain to protest against the censorship of plays by the far-right party Vox in several towns amid the current election campaign in the country.

Movie directors such as Pedro Almodovar, actors like Alba Flores (‘The Money Heist‘) and institutions including the General Society of Authors (SGAE), the Union of Actors and Actresses and the Academy of Performing Arts have joined the protest under the hashtag #StopCensura (‘Stop censorship’), which has accumulated more than 19,000 posts on Instagram.

“Culture professionals want to denounce the return of censorship that is attacking freedom of expression, a socially and democratically consolidated right in our Constitution. We demand the protection of our fundamental rights because, without culture, there is no democracy”, a statement published by the recently created Platform of Free Arts reads.

Theater company Defondo was the first to denounce the far-right’s “ideological veto” to its adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, which was scheduled to be performed in November in Valdemorillo, Madrid, a town governed by the conservative People’s Party (PP) and Vox.

In Santa Cruz de Bezana, in the northern region of Cantabria, the Pixar-Disney film ‘Lightyear’ was removed from the town’s cultural programme because of a scene that features two women kissing, while in Briviesca, near Burgos, the local government canceled a play about a Republican teacher executed during the Spanish civil war alleging security problems and economic issues.

Getafe, a city about 10 kilometers south of Madrid which is governed by the center-left party Socialist Party (PSOE), has seen how the far-right party has demanded the removal of a giant phallus and vulva in a production of ‘The villain of Getafe’ (‘La Villana de Getafe’) by Lope de Vega, considered one of Spain’s greatest writers.

Ignacio Díaz, spokesperson from Vox Getafe, tells Efe that the party has received more than 20 complaints from neighbors and other people and that some photographs show there were children watching and participating in the play.

“The work of a great author has been transformed into something that has no special meaning. We are talking about two tasteless figures on a street in Getafe at 9 o’clock on a Sunday night”, adds Díaz, who demands that “the neighborhood must not disturbed” by plays that should be put on in “private spaces”.

The director of the play, Marcos Toro, says the demand is “miserable” as it aims to hurt the profession and the collective work of more than 70 people.

“We are trying to make it less serious because it occurred amid the election campaign and this party needs to cause unrest and confusion among citizens,” adds Toro, who insists that ‘La Villana de Getafe’ is a fun comedy the public has enjoyed a lot and that “has been adapted in a healthy way”.

Vox’s comments “are not going to mean anything,” he says.

Javier García, actor from the company ‘Destellos’ and one of the protagonists in the play, highlights that the aim of the adaptation was to pull in a crowd.

“The last thing that would cross our minds is that there was going to be censorship simply because we wanted to give the play an update regarding women’s empowerment and the seduction game of the classical world,” he says.


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