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history and programming

O Espaco do Tempo is a trans-disciplinary arts organizations that supports various Portuguese and foreign contemporary performing artists. Its headquarters are located in a convent the Convento da Saudacao (Convent of Salutation), a national monastery from the 15th century based  in Montemor-o-Novo / Portugal, one of the poorest municipalities in Portugal. We consider that culture can have an important role in local development by opening new perspectives for  local citizens, improving the quality of their daily life, facilitating diverse ways of looking and understanding the world and creating numerous opportunities for local employment and investments.

O Espaco do Tempo takes an active role in working and interacting with the local community by working with schools and collaborating with local associations and other organizations.

We are a unique arts organization in the field of contemporary performing arts in Portugal.  Right from the start, our work has been focused on supporting artistic research and experimentation, providing a basis for the renewal and innovation of artistic languages. Our aim is to support artists in research, creation, production and presentation of their projects and we do so by providing these artists with working spaces, basic equipment, and various platforms for communication, exchange and presentation.

The artists who come to the Convento da Saudacao they  “conquer” time … In fact, the “tempo” here is of a different nature. Away from their daily and familiar routine, they a find different work pace in this privileged environment. We have, thus, created a structure which provides an answer to all technical needs and covers the production needs of different artists.
As a major priority, therefore, there is the idea of creating a “laboratory” for the innovation and renewal of artistic languages, within a structure that is both very professional and yet flexible. By establishing a place that provides a structure for creativity situated in the countryside, surrounded by a remarkable landscape and with an in-depth relationship with the small city of Montemor-o-Novo, our concept is to provide the artists with the necessary distancing and detachment to foster their creativity.

The relative proximity to Lisbon (one hundred km’s ) means that, although in the countryside, people can easily travel to the capital whenever necessary. Frequently, artists in residence go to Lisbon at week-ends to see their friends, for leisure purposes, to meet other colleagues, etc. This ideal situation allows us to support numerous projects and organise a kind of “creative backup” for them.
The studios and residential areas that the Convent have constitute the basis for the development of our project and today there are around thirty seven creative residences throughout the year, as well as numerous research projects and various events, all of them organized and based on the structural conditions we have to offer.

The physical dimension of the space allied to its residential facilities (5 studios, 14 accomodation  rooms, sound and light studios, conference rroms, etc.) provide a set of spaces for research, creation and  presentation of artistic projects in various art fields: dance, theatre, music, new media, visual arts, , etc. Through our artist-in-residence programme these spaces are available to each visiting artist for a period of several weeks where they can concentrate on their own research or production work.

These residential facilities give access to an excellent theatre venue (Teatro Curvo Semedo,  20mx 30m, 800 seats ) and to a fully equipped smaller Black Box (10m x 10 m / 50 seats ). These two venues are complementing the offer of the residential facilities that O Espaco do Tempo is putting at the disposal of resident artists in the convent. These are spaces where artists can also experiment and create in ideal conditions, using all the technical facilities (sound, lighting, stage, audiovisual material, etc), but also spaces where they can present their works.  Since 2005 we have been presenting an average number of 24 performances per year.  Some of these performance are work-in-progress showings of the production or research projects we are supporting every year.