Favela Força is a theatre group that works on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is composed of actors from Vila Cruzeiro, the suburbs of Penha, a community known for its unfortunate history of violence but also as a place of intense creativity. The group has two main aims: enhancing a culture of peace and researching the local culture of the favela. The main idea is that contemporary art needs to move towards the periphery as a research subject and locus of action.
Favela força is directed by Fabiano de Freitas, who is considered as an inventive creator within the current Brazilian performing arts scene. Besides him the group counts ten actors and actresses (who sing and dance), all from Vila Cruzeiro.
The focus of the group’s activities is divided between study, creation and performance. The group believes that the artistic approach to the community is based on three premises: (1) They see theatre in itself is a transformational tool; (2) They strive for artistic rigour; (3) They aim to create a high visual and sensory impact using music, dance, text and audio-visual means.
Through the universal language of multidisciplinary theatre, the group seeks to give expression to what is conventionally called “slum culture”, to share how they see their lives and their world with the general public. With their work they hope to contribute to a more humanistic community by respectfully, creatively and effectively reflecting daily life there, the individuals who live in it, and how they organize themselves. They hope that their shows reveal other, more poetic dimensions of their community that go well beyond the stigmas and stereotypes with which they regularly appear in the media.
Favela força has twice been to Europe, invited by Mundial Productions, touring with the plays Favela força and Favela Rouge. In Brazil, they have participated in numerous festivals and play a leading role in expanding the cultural production spaces for alternative groups.
The Favela força project is supported by IBISS NGO in Rio de Janeiro.