A couple of actors decided to exchange Lisbon for Chanca, in Penela. In the small village of 40 inhabitants, they have created a professional company that lets itself be shaped by the wandering of the days, for a time that they do not find in the city.
Every day, when André Louro leaves home to take the two children to school, he makes sure to listen to the TSF about the “infernal traffic” of Lisbon, while driving, without haste and a smile. “Give me tremendous joy,” he confesses.
Five years ago André and his wife, Catarina Santana, decided to move to the interior of the district of Coimbra, to the small village of Chanca, with 40 inhabitants, where there was only one child before arriving. In addition to the church and children’s playground at the entrance of the village, the village can now say that it also has a professional company, which is preparing to perform in Brazil and Macao.
“It was a decision of family life in search of a better quality of life,” says Catarina Santana.
André Louro points to the valley seen from the terrace of the house. “The people of the village deal with this beauty on a daily basis. It influences the way people are,” he says. The view “gives a scale” and an open horizon, which in a city is choppy by buildings, argues.
“There is another time here, I have another type of time, another kind of space, another relationship with the community, less anonymous, healthier,” says Catarina Santana.
After moving to Chanca at the end of 2013, they formalized the Chanca Company in 2015 and decided to debut the first show, “O Sítio”, on the terrace of their house, where 80 people were present – twice the population of the village .
“After two years of receiving potatoes, cabbages, eggs and chickens, the best thing to share would be the investment of our time,” says the actress.
During the almost five years in Chanca, they have been asked, strangely, why they moved to a small village in the interior of the district of Coimbra, when there is “nothing”.
“If we are talking about offering bars or shopping centers, yes, there is nothing, but there is everything else,” says André Louro, using an example: “I no longer know what it’s like to be in line Those 20 minutes waiting there disappeared, but maybe if I go and buy some bread I’ll spend 20 minutes talking. ”
For the couple, the experience in this environment has also shaped the company itself that takes its place in its own name.
Living in Chanca “influences the creative process”.
“By being on a much smaller scale, by seeing the world on a small scale, it opens up space and time for us to better understand the world in its global sense,” Catherine argues.
The two understand the village as a “very inspiring” space, having in the house a small studio and an annex where they receive other artists who work with them, in a kind of artistic residences.
Despite some difficulty in sometimes selling the show to some municipalities as a company based in a village, they have managed to take their productions to various parts of the country. The second show, “O Nome”, has more than 80 sessions and has shows scheduled for Brazil, at FestLuso, in Teresina in late August, and in Macao, also at a festival in September.
In 2019, the next show is due to be presented at first hand to its neighbors who hugged them on arrival, right up to a visit to the winery to taste the local “ointment”.
After years in Lisbon, but also abroad, it is through the village that they intend to continue to live and to create plays inspired by a different time.