ACTA – A Companhia de Teatro do Algarve (Algarve’s Theatre Company), is a professional artistic structure of theatrical production. It was established on February 9, 1995, in Faro, by a group of interested theater-makers from the University of Algarve, led by the teacher and educator José Louro. In 1997, this prestigious man of theater invited Luís Vicente, an actor with renowned artistic merits and also with experience in training, production and theater management, to be part of ACTA’s structure.
The Company began its activity on March 2, 1998 with José Louro as Artistic Director, Luís Vicente as Director of Production and Noé Amorim as Technical Director. Since that year it is funded by the Ministry of Culture.
In late 1999, after an internal restructuring process, Luís Vicente takes the seat as Artistic Director and José Louro becomes part of the Artistic Council, an informal body assigned to the Directorate of the Company.
Together with the artistic production, ACTA also became an intervenient in matters of training and awareness of the audience, particularly among the students and teachers of different levels of education.
Since 1998 the Company publishes on a regular basis the designated ACTAs do teatro, a publication that aims not only to function as the ‘program’ of every artistic production, but also as an instrument of artistic, aesthetic and, occasionally, of news and didactic reflection.
In the artistic and aesthetic plans, ACTA do not assume itself as a Company of regional options. The history of its criteria in these plans expresses the diversity in gender, as well as a Universalist and cosmopolitan orientation, echoed in a repertoire of quality (in which national plays have a significant presence). This concern is visible mostly through an ongoing research, a constant search for innovation, so that the application of the transversal concepts raised by various forms of the artistic expression, and its various signs, find themselves at the service of the whole body which is the theatrical phenomenon.
Objectives and Strategies
ACTA have as its privileged area of action the Algarve region. The major objective of the Company, its mission, is to stimulate the appetite and taste for theatrical enjoyment of the resident population in its diversity. On the one hand, we aim at an action of a strong pedagogical interest, and on the other, a rather playful action, but of substance, noble and spiritually elevated.
The Company thus follows a consistent policy based on the following philosophy: to cross the artistic production fulfilled by the educational and sociological aspects, reflected in an eclectic program which points to a far-reaching fruition, in terms of taste and need, in the cultural spectrum, but not confronting gender valences, rather seeking to harmonize them independently of one another.
The Company seeks to work in an artistic and aesthetically consistent and unique basis, also aiming to reach the floating population of the region and, in articulation, design its action in the context of the national and international theater panorama.
‘Despite being recently created, the only professional theatre company in the Algarve is already a reference in the regional and national stage, for the quality of its productions and for the parallel initiatives it develops.’
Diário de Notícias, 13/11/98
‘And honour be made to it, because in one year, it has already put on stage 4 plays, whose success is proven by over seventy performances attended by twelve thousand viewers– an average of over 160 spectators per show.’
Marcelino Viegas, Jornal de Noticias, 20/04/99
‘The artistic quality of the company and the seriousness of its project have been subject to reference among the critics of the speciality, and are also accounted as the reason why the public is more interested in its performances and in theatre in general.’
Expresso “Revista Algarves”, 12/08/00
‘But the great reference to theatre in the Algarve in 2000 was in fact the work of ACTA, which had a year of intense work in various subjects. From the brilliant stage direction of Pedro Guerreiro Ramos in Auto da Barca do Inferno, destined to the school audience, to the magnificent moments given in the play Zoo Story, by Edward Albee, and Mulher, mulheres by Charo Solanas, Franca Rame and Jean McOnell. Two irreprehensible works with the signature of Luís Vicente as Director. An finally, the grand productions, Auto das Andanças and Linda Inês that reassured, for those who still had doubts, that ACTA is an outstanding professional company and it’s out there for us to see these and other magnificent works again and again.’
Ana Oliveira, Jornal do Algarve, 11/01/01
‘ACTA play an important role in the cultural life of this region. (…) The company has been developing in the region an unanimously recognized work for its quality (in shows and training) and a strategy of partnerships with positive results, namely in the financial plan.”
Correio da Manhã, 21/06/01
“And in what the theatre being made here is concerned, the spotlight goes, obviously, to ACTA which, as a professional company, has been fulfilling its role as an educator of audiences. In a coherent and serious way it has been offering a wide range of shows to all kinds of audiences: from the least expecting to the most demanding spectator. (…) The students in the Algarve have been surprised, positively, because it displays a revisited Gil Vicente, without ever losing the narrative structure. A show for adolescents prepared with the consistency they deserve.’
Ana Oliveira, Algarve Mais, 01/03
‘Again, ACTA is to be congratulated for. First, for bringing to the audience another Portuguese playwright, which is clearly a work of cultural promotion and the support of artistic creation in an area so deprived of human resources; second, because the aesthetic, artistic and technical quality of its performances, the intelligence manifested in every work, is well above average, which contributes to raise the cultural standards of the public – and this is educational and edifying; and third, for to continuing to be the company of reference in the Algarve, having the undeniable merit of stating itself as the cultural vanguard in a poor and forgotten region. A region lacking in consistent policies which will enhance the cultural quality of the life of its inhabitants - this is a civic work and of citizenship, clearly demonstrating an awareness of what it is to serve the collective, which is priceless.’
Reinaldo Barros, Postal do Algarve, 18/12/03
‘ACTA is an example to follow, not only on a regional level, where, unfortunately, not all autarkies have made available the necessary conditions for their citizens to grow with the culture transmitted by this company, but also on a national level, where it stands out for staging texts with original dramaturgical adaptations, and also for having an aesthetic-artistic line of thought that reaches all audiences. It’s somewhat rare to find a company that allies in such a pondered and successful way the quality of its productions, and the care one should always have towards the audience.’
Ana Oliveira, Jornal do Algarve, 01/01/04
‘(…) and one should praise the pioneering work ACTA have been developing in schools, taking them theatre on a platter, so that the students from peripheral areas can enjoy it. (…) And this is how the audiences are educated in the field, where they need to be trained: in schools. It is a privilege for this region to have a theatre company that goes inside the classroom, bringing the students the most precious good they can ambition for: education.’
Ana Oliveira, Jornal do Algarve, 13/01/05
‘(...) it’s good to find that, in the Algarve, there are people working at the level of what’s best done in the world. It’s good to see people with ideas, capable of joining efforts and to embody projects that are transformed into excellent and original shows.’
‘It was with “Jeremias”, brought on stage on March 27th 1998, that ACTA – A Companhia de Teatro do Algarve (Algarve’s Theatre Company), premiered in the algarvian stages. Thirteen years later, with the average of four productions a year, almost two thousand shows presented in Algarve and out of it, with over two hundred thousand spectators, this professional company has a record of cultural work that is an indelible landmark. Based in Faro, occupying the agendas of the historical theatre Lethes and the new Municipal Theatre, but with the knowhow of spreading the perfume of the scenic art all over the Algarve, ACTA has been developing a project of creativity and imagination of high quality, gathering the best references of the audience and the critics, and winning recognition awards. It’s fair to say, that those merits are not just due to the genius of their actors, authors, directors or producers. ACTA got to the point where it is now thanks to a regional complicity, joining the State with City Halls, citizens and enterprises, schools and students, surpassing with difficulty a tight budget, impossible to be sustained by the ticket revenue with the public service it provides either with workshops, or by the project VATE - Vamos Apanhar o Teatro (Let’s catch the theatre), the scenic art on wheels, a bus that takes the dramatic virtues of our culture from village to village. (…) It would be preposterous that this Algarve, filled at last with capable spaces, could be empty of content. If we should have to cut on entertainment, let us at least preserve the cultural values born, created or established in the region. In a time of choices, let us choose what is “our”. Luís Vicente and the company deserve it. May the municipalities listen to the three blows of Molière.’
Mendes Bota, O Algarve, 04/08/11