Colectivo Sustento works for social change using two pretexts: theatre and gardening. Their work takes place in prison contexts (men’s prison and juvenile detention centres) and in the local community. The heartbeat of the work is continuity; this has allowed them to organically develop their work following an ethical and autonomous logic, and a Freirean praxis of action and reflection. Uninterrupted since 2002, “Fénix & Ilusiones”, the prison theatre group has developed from a weekly workshop to an experience within which the men create issues-based shows, perform inside and outside the prison, tour to juvenile detention centres, and more recently, become theatre facilitators with young offenders. Like many other groups working for social change in Chile and Latin America, Colectivo Sustento turns to collaboration and “auto-gestión”, a self-managed economic alternative, in resistance to the country’s brutal neoliberal system.
Sharing the Collective
This documentary film tells the story of two 2015 collaborations: a theatre exchange in the Colina 1 prison between Fénix & Ilusiones and Mary O’Neill and Nikki Mailer, community theatre workers from Manchester; and the building of a natural water filter in our community garden with the Women’s Bio-construction Collective (María Pinto, Chile). The documentary is a Colectivo Sustento production: directed and edited by Carolina Vera (with Rocío Huenchullán), and filmed by Carolina and Bárbara Fuenzalida.