November 15, 2018


Their lives were changed forever by the high school occupations of 2015 and 2016 in Brazil. Using dance, live music and performance, coletivA reveal the reality and brutal intensity of living inside a political movement. Get up close to the action and their extraordinary stories, as real life invades the stage.

coletivA is comprised of students from different districts of São Paulo, working at the edges of art, activism and education. They have toured to sell-out audiences across Brazil.

When It Breaks It Burns is a cry, a fight, an uprising.

* When It Breaks It Burns, coletivA, Transform 19
When It Breaks It Burns, coletivA, Transform 19
When It Breaks It Burns, coletivA, Transform 19


This time a year ago we had the extraordinary privilege of meeting and experiencing the work of coletivA and their director Martha Kiss Perrone, during a week-long exploration of São Paulo. Working within Casa do Povo, a historic space that reinvents notions of culture and community, their performance was a battle cry.

Back in October 2015, the São Paulo government proposed shutting down over 100 public schools. In response, high school students rebelled against the state. After a series of hostile street protests, the students decided to occupy; they jumped the schools walls, broke the locks off the gates, built barricades at the doors, and declared “The school is ours.” Within two months there were more than two-hundred occupied schools all over São Paulo. In the performance we saw, the sounds and movements of the collective still resonated with the occupations, of which they courageously led and which changed their lives for good.

One year on, the situation in Brazil is intensified. We stand in solidarity with the artists and activists in São Paulo who shifted the way we think about the power of art, culture and education forever. They inspired us, along with our new programme Future Radicals, which is the start of a journey to seek out and support the change-makers of tomorrow in the city where we live.

Together with the British Council and Contact, we could not think of a more appropriate moment to invite this phenomenal collective to the North of England, to light up our souls and the city with their trailblazing spirit.


“It will be interesting to see our show, made in the industrial city of São Paulo, performed in industrial cities in England, like Leeds and Manchester. This is an opportunity to tell our story, from our own perspective.” – Abraão

“This isn’t coming from the newspapers or TV, this is real life.
What happened in the high school occupations was important to us. We are ready to share our experiences with the rest of the world, in our own words.” – Alicia

“A lot of the time our voices are shut down and remain unheard, so for our words to fly and land in another place, where we can be heard and our stories, struggles and fights understood, is monumental. It will be epic.” – Alvim

“We’re constructing our futures globally and we’re ready to tell our story.” – André

When It Breaks It Burns forms part of Transform 19 festival, from 26 April-4 May 2019. Tickets go on sale on 31 Jan 2019. The performances are part of Resistance in Residence, a British Council programme, and are a collaboration between Contact and Transform. Created with support from Casa do Povo, Forma Certa and Converse.


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