Loja theater groups present ‘7.8 Theater for Life’ to help heal earthquake wounds

Sep 23, 2016

There are tragedies that make us change the way we help each other.

The deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Ecuador on April 16, 2016, shook not only the earth, but also the way citizens support each other. Since then, many people have cooperated with those affected — and distance hasn’t been a hurdle.

A scene from '7.8 Theater' in Loja.

A scene from ‘7.8 Theater’ in Loja.

Loja, which lies on the border with Peru, on the opposite side of the country from the area affected by the earthquake, is an example of this. In this small city, on July 9 and 10, a group of 10 theatre companies came together to make the public laugh and forget about reality for a couple of hours. The objective of the initiative, called “7.8 Theatre for Life: Short Works, Big Sensations”, was to fund-raise for the victims of the earthquake.

Erika Erike, one of the theatre festival’s promoters, said that the event attracted 30 actors and directors. “Over the two-day festival, we had more than 450 attendees, and including children from a local orphanage who attended free,” she said.

Erike said the money raised from the festival and from some of the Loja Cultural Network‘s other activities was put towards a trip that the group made to Manabí province from September 8 to September 12 to organize artistic activities for earthquake victims to help them deal with their emotional distress. The program included music, painting, theatre, puppetry, and writing. They also planned to paint a mural to highlight the strength and hope of Manabí.

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Erika confessed that she loves theatre and that for her and other organizers, it was a very meaningful experience to witness the magic of the stage as a means of getting people involved in solidarity. “The entire project was extremely gratifying. People were moved and shared their desire to help those who still need support to start their lives again after the earthquake took so much from them,” she said

She added that through the tragedy of the earthquake, Ecuadorians have found a way to heal with art, laughter, and solidarity.

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Credit: Global Voices, https://globalvoices.org

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