Theatre opening causes scandal

SILVES CÂMARA recently inaugurated the renovated Teatro Mascarenhas Gregório, an evening which was apparently open to the general public, but curiously and despite the supposed free access, some formal invitations were issued to several entities and local personalities.

The situation caused much confusion and widespread fury among those linked to the Silves cultural scene, who were left off the invitation list. Among those not to receive invitations was António Baeta, member of the Espaço de Atitudes Performativas – Aparte, the cultural entertainment section of Racal Clube. “This was Isabel Soares exerting her authority and only inviting her friends,” he said. The majority of the people present were allegedly not even from Silves. Obviously feeling very bitter towards the Câmara President, Baeta commented: “These actions reveal the way in which this president operates, someone who is supposed to be serving the community.”

Meanwhile, Luís Santos from Soares’ office commented: “All the local population was invited, not through formal invites but from the programme for the Dia da Cidade (City Day). In fact, Santos pointed out that, during the recent launch of the magazine Monumentos, all the people of Silves were invited to attend the opening show at the theatre, including António Baeta.

Political motives

According to Baeta, figures from the Filarmónica Silvense, an orchestra that spent considerable time at the Teatro Mascarenhas Gregório before its renovation, were also forgotten on the invitation list. In addition, Manuel Castelo Ramos, director of the cork museum at Fábrica do Inglês, was not formally invited, allegedly because he is a member of the Associação de Defesa do Património, an association for the protection of patrimony, which had been against the modernisation of the theatre.

Câmara denies accusations

Luís Santos has tried to calm the storm caused by the confusion over invitations saying it was never said that only people with invites could attend. “Those who could not enter in the stalls section could have had seats in the auditorium,” he said. However, it does not seem to be entirely true. The invitation included an RSVP deadline of September 1, implying that if confirmation of attendance was not made, admittance would not be granted.

Black tie?

Another point of confusion on the night was that the invitation stated a dress code of black tie. Isabel Soares was duly dressed in a long pink evening dress, while, apparently, many Algarveans who attended, not accustomed to wearing formal dress, came wearing more informal clothes.

Electricity problems

There were also, apparently, problems with the electricity on the evening, which was being supplied by a generator. Maestro António Vitorino d’Almeida and his orchestra were two minutes into the concert when the generator failed, however, the problem was solved soon afterwards. The incident did lead some to question the likelihood of the theatre succeeding under such conditions, but Silves Câmara has confirmed that the technical problems have been solved.