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Teatro Elinga

Name of the cultural space
Teatro Elinga

on the institution
The Elinga Theatre group (from the umbundo ‘elinga’, meaning action, initiative, exercise) was created in 1988 following the Tchinganje group (1975/76), succeeded by the Xilenga Theatre (1977/80) and the Theatre Group of the Luanda Faculty of Medicine (1984/87). The theatre was used primarily as an instrument of popular mobilisation and awareness-raising (Tchinganje), it then moved to an expressive function (Xilenga and the Medicine group), until the current investigation of new languages (Elinga).
It was born as a single theatre project, aimed at rescuing and promoting Angolan culture at all levels, including a modern treatment of its traditional values, and at spreading a universal theatrical repertoire.

on the space / location
the Elinga Theatre in Luanda has always worked as an open, accessible space, one of the only spaces in Luanda dedicated to theatre. The building was built in the 19th century and was declared a historical monument by the Angolan Minister for Culture. However, in 2012 this status was rescinded in order to make way for the Elipark building project, which will comprise a car park, offices and a hotel.
The building hosts different functions, from theatre spaces to artist’s ateliers, to exhibition spaces, to club.

level of significance
Although his atelier is now lasting more than 20 years in the famous building of the Teatro Elinga, in the Baixa, one of the most successful cultural centers of Luanda,Antonio Ole, one of the most internationally recognized Angolan artist feels threatened. The pressure on the housing market and the lack of interest for art and culture is in fact exemplified by the continuous attempts of demolishing the Elinga. Just like other historical buildings, the theatre will probably disappera.
However, the threats to demolish the building have given rise to negative reactions on the networks that are creating some resistance movements aginst it.