The historical printing press of the Embros Newspaper transformed into a theatre in central Athens, was squatted by an artist collective, called Mavili on 11/11/11. In the theatre that had been abandoned for years, they proposed an intense program of activities including artists, theoreticians, dance/theatre performances, architects and the general public. Their goal was to give a (temporary) new life to the space by proposing an alternative model of collective management and contemporary forms of creative work, a public space for exchange, research, debate, meeting and re-thinking.
Since then, hundreds of performances and events have taken place in the Embros Theatre. The action of squatting was to battle the ongoing process of gentrification taking place in the neighborhood with bars and restaurants. The squat provided a context of re-thinking, responding and re-making modes of production and management. Thus this proposal was a response to the shortfalls of the Greek state.
Although this establishment has since been seized by the state privatization agency, such examples show how real-life processes work. The attempt and existence of the squat raised some pertinent questions of the cultural future in Athens. The confiscation of the building to be used for private renting is an instance of the privatization of public goods by terminating the (free) cultural and community center. Such spaces are under question at the moment with the Greek government unable provide funding or create social structures to support it’s citizens in the current crisis.
Embros seems to address the same issues as Teatro Valle Occupato in Rome.