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Coletiva ocupação is a theatre group created in 2016 by performers, activists and artists who met during the uprising of the high school movement and the occupations of public schools in São Paulo, Brazil.

+ about us


Created in 2017 by performers and artists who met during the uprising of the high school student protests and the occupations of public schools that occured in São Paulo, Brazil, between 2015 and 2016. Using rebellion and theatre, education and creation, Coletiva Ocupação became a way to explore different languages and narratives since the uprisings and urgent struggles of our time: bodies in revolt, which now occupy new spaces and narratives.


Performers of their own lives, actors training themselves through doing: every revolutionary impulse is, in a way, a gamble. An act that is only
legitimized by doing it. ColetivA Ocupação bring the emergence of bodies tired of not being heard; bodies exhausted of their invisibility. Bodies who
know they do not have to ask permission to exist"

Amilton Azevedo, Ruína Acesa 




In October 2015, São Paulo's government tried to impose a reform to education that involved the reorganization and closure of more than 100 state schools without consulting the students or the wider community. As a response to this, high school students within the whole city rebelled against the State. After a series of protests with heavy military police repression, students occupied their schools: dozen of high school students decided to jump the walls, break the locks, make chair barricades at the schools gates and hang big banners from the windows: "The school is ours!". For two months more than two-hundred schools of São Paulo were occupied for the first time in Brazilian history. From that moment on, the high school movement spread across various spaces, gaining different forms of expression – THEATRE WAS ONE OF THEM.

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In 2017 Coletiva Ocupação began to occupy and meet at Casa do Povo, an independent art space in the city, and to develop a weekly practice of theatre, dance and performance with director Martha Kiss Perrone.  Whilst at Casa do Povo, the group created their first performance “Só me convidem para uma revolução onde eu possa dançar” (Just invite me to a revolution that I can dance in) presented for the first time during the encounter "Performando Oposições" (Performing Oppositions) and MITsp (São Paulo International Theatre Festival).

In 2018, after more than a year of collaborative creation, “Quando Quebra Queima” (When it Breaks it Burns) was premiered at Casa do Povo.

The group has built a course of presentations and workshops for young people in major festivals and theaters in Brazil and Europe, such as the Festival de Curitiba, FIT (International Festival of Rio Preto), Cena Brasil Internacional, Festival de Londrina. In June 2019 the ColectivA Ocupação had its project “Quando Quebra Queima na Escolas: Pausa para Existir” (When it Breaks it Burns in Schools: Pause to Exist) awarded by the Zé Renato prize given by the Municipal Secretary of Culture of São Paulo for promoting theater, for the circulation of the show in more than 10 public schools , culture factories and cultural centers. 

In Europe, the group presented the show at the Transform Festival in Leeds, Contact Theater in Manchester, MEXE Festival in the city of Porto, Panorama Festival in Paris at the Center National de La Dance. In addition to being invited to a two-week residency and season at the Battersea Arts Center in London, where the show was awarded for best direction - Martha Kiss Perrone - by The Stage Debut Awards, and nominated in the “IDEA Performance” category by the The Offies award.

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"Testimonials from the audience after the show WHEN IT BREAKS IT BURNS at Battersea Arts Center in London"

 "TEASER: Coletiva ocupação | England in 2019"


"Erasing any distance between performance and audience, they take us
right inside the chaos and the fear and thrill of the occupation. Forget in-yer-
face theatre – these performers are face to face and shoulder to shoulder
with theaudience, moving among us, nudging us aside, and eventually
snatching the chairs out from under us. It is reminiscent of Emma Goldman’s
famous statement: “If I can’t dance, it’s not my revolution”.  
Here, dance is revolution, pushing back against the austerity and repression of the state."


The workshops arose from the desire to share the tools and revolts, destroy borders and share the experience of the creation process of When it Breaks it Burns.

The group has held more than 20 workshops for young people and artists from various cities around Brazil and Europe, using body research as a device, taking performative exercises as a working tool and personal
experiences and memories as starting points for creation.


Through the work of chorus and group movement; with funk aesthetics and other physicalities of hip hop culture; choral singing; the body of protest itself. An axis for the materialisation of the body and words, as a way to dis-organise and reorganise, to move and exist in the space, and exist in the space of the scene, the space of the street, the space of life.


Such pedagogical activities occupied several art, culture and educational spaces in Brazil and foreign countries, going through a range of SESC unities, acting as a supporter collective of the project Creatives in School in 2018, occupying Manchester University, Contact Theatre (Manchester, UK), MEXE Arts and Community encounters (Porto, Portugal). In 2020 we held a two-day meeting with the Battersea Arts Centre with over 100 students from different UK cities, with debates, experiences and the workshop "Rebellion creates: chorus-multitude".









ColetivA ocupação's project called "Pause to exist" was awarded the 4th edition of Zé Renato Prize from the Municipal Department of Culture of São Paulo to go on a circuit of ten public schools, and three cultural centres - two ‘Cultural Factories’ and the Centro Cultural da Juventude Ruth Cardoso - to deliver artistic workshops, debates and the performance When it Breaks it Burns. Altogether there will be twenty free performances around São Paulo.

When it Breaks it Burns will tour across public schools and cultural centres where the students uprisings took place. It is essential and urgent so that the new generations can liberate those places where they live and study and can think and create freely. ColetivA ocupação brings together different performers, most of whom are also from low income communities and have studied in public schools, bringing together an intimate and particular perspective for those who lived their daily lives in these spaces and have been part of their transformation during the high school movement, bringing a new perspective to the school environment, provoking autonomy and identification to the public, especially to those who are young.

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"Revisiting Brasilândia

With the work we have started from here.

With the body that was created by this place.

Losing myself

In time and space

Of affection

Of pleasure 

From the enormous pain 

Of wanting to take the whole slum into the universe

And forget that the slum... 

Already has and exists on its own

It already has autonomy"

(Ariane Aparecida, actress. Former apprentice of the Cultural Factory of Brasilândia)

“It was beautiful to see other bodies that are just like mine, of people with a lot of history and a really diverse body language. Most of the young people who attended the workshops came to all of the presentations and this really shows how important they were to everyone on stage - the audience and the performers.  Going to Brasilândia, interacting with people from the neighborhood and realizing that even though I am from another neighborhood, we have this really similar way to structure ourselves and the artistic movements inside the peripheries. It’s important because we can see clearly how to really change the potential and the reality of many that will come to us.”


(Abraão Kimberley, actor and vocal coach)

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Project contemplated by the 9th edition of the Prêmio Zé Renato from the Municipal Secretary of Culture of São Paulo