PORTO BY Emília Silvestre

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Porto By

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Livraria Lello

Born in Porto, she started working at Teatro Experimental do Porto when she was only 14 years old. She is one of the founders and artistic co-director of the company ENSEMBLE, from Porto. In 1996, she joined the cast of several productions of the Teatro Nacional S. João, with special praise for Not I and Happy Days, by Samuel Beckett (staged by Nuno Carinhas) and Turismo Infinito (staged by Ricardo Pais). In 2017, she was Lady Macbeth, in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, staged by Nuno Carinhas. Having finished her degree in Línguas e Literaturas Modernas at the Faculdade de Letras of the Universidade do Porto, she was trained in Interpretation and Voice. For television, she participated in several shows and soap operas, in different networks, and in four cinema productions. Emília taught Theatre at the ESMAE from 1998 to 2000, and has been in the team of trainers of the Professional Degree of Interpretation at the Academia Contemporânea do Espetáculo for several years. She received the Medal for Cultural Merit – Gold Degree, during the Porto 2001 – European Capital of Culture. In 2007, the Portuguese Association of Theatre Critiques handed her the Honourable Mention Award for her career.

 

. My favourite location is… It’s so hard to choose…! I love Passeio das Virtudes, with the river at the end and Cooperativa Árvore… the area in Clérigos, with narrow, winding streets, Lello, the Cordoaria Garden… I love to stare at the river and Ribeira, the Porto Cruz in Gaia… I love Serralves, Foz, watching the sea from the terrace of Luz Beach… I love the City Park… I love the small coffee shops and restaurants that hide luxurious, welcoming gardens… I love baby basil, S. João at Porto and Teatro S. João… I just love it…!

. What I like the most about Porto is…  It’s a city with charisma, strength and grace! “O Puorto é uma Naçom, carago!” [“Porto is a nation, dammit!”] is something that says a lot about the pride the people from Porto feel for their city. The accent, in fact, has this wonderful prosody, a richness in vocabulary and disarming humour like none other. Since I was a little girl, I was trained to not show any accent on stage, but I love to talk like Porto whenever I can! Especially because there’s nothing better than to “party your ass off” with your friends at Serralves em Festa, and “munch” on a Francesinha or a plate of moelas, and then check a concert at the Park because one of them has a gut feeling that it’s going to be good… and then drop down on the grass in laughter, because there’s no point in staying at home sulking! Just listening to it puts you in a good mood!!!

. People from Porto are… Secretive, but generous and speak their mind. They are honest and genuine: ruthless with betrayals, but true in their feelings! If a friend is feeling down, they will “Come to my house have a drink, you idiot!”, and that’s it, they really take him home! They don’t just say it… they take you, offer you a drink, give you food, and, if needed, you sleep there and even hear a bedtime story…  They have a free spirit and are capable of admiring new things, different and revolutionary, while, at the same time, they remain connected to the good traditions of being among friends, of supporting the elderly and the children, the little brats as they called them!

®João Tuna

. A defining story… I spent my childhood with my grandparents, in a little house with a basement, ground floor, first floor and a backyard, in 1386, Constituição Street, which is still there, it wasn’t demolished or sold by the owners, for some reason! Whenever I pass by, I have a smile on my face, and my mind goes to the afternoons I spent in a corner in the basement – which my grandfather had painted and my grandmother had given me blankets, pillows and curtains for me to decorate it – imagining stories that I “staged and played” for my friends and brothers, whom I forced to participate as well, obviously! I was around 8 or 10 years old, and I played princes and princesses, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, like all children… Shortly after this, when I was about 12 and I had just started on Carolina Michaellis high school, I went with a friend to a few auditions that Correia Alves (who, at the time, was a director of RTP Porto) set up to cast youngsters for a lay that would be staged at Rotunda da Boavista. I could hardly imagine that, after some time, I would be laying on a pretend bed being “awakened” by the kiss of a “charming prince” (who was, in fact, a girl with a low voice), playing the role of Sleeping Beauty! Yes… I was chosen for the part instead of my friend, but she didn’t seem to bother. I remember the warm feeling of the lights on top of me and being unable to see the crowd watching the play, and thinking everything was similar to my basement, at my grandparents’ house… But what intrigued me the most was this sort of prophecy Correia Alves did after the small show: he looked at me and said “You’re going to be an actress when you grow up”! Well, I may not have grown a lot since then, but the prophecy stands and truth is I couldn’t be happier!

. Culture in Porto is… Art and culture in Porto started an unstoppable dynamic after the second half of the nineties. With ups and downs, back and forth, with Porto-European Capital of Culture and the hangover after that, with the resilience of the artists in face of the chronic lack of investment, with hope renewed for the political change and with the courage and determination of cultural agents, Porto stands out at the same level as the great European cities. There are many shows and exhibitions, concerts and offices that say a lot of the innovative and rebellious spirit of the people from Porto. However, I’m worried about the idea that seems to be spreading that culture is an event, or a set of events, and not something part of our life. I think we need to stay on our toes!