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Catalan Theatre’s ‘carrot rebellion’ discussed at a congress in New York

During the Congress of the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) in New York, the managers of the Bescanó Theatre (Northern Catalonia) will discuss their peculiar protest against the Spanish Government’s VAT increase on cultural products from 8% to 21%. In November 2012, instead of selling traditional tickets at a higher price or lowering their profit margin, the Bescanó Theatre managers decided to sell carrots to their audience, due to the lower VAT on fresh food. Spectators bought carrots for a price equal to the usual entrance fee and were gifted a theatre ticket in exchange. This ‘carrot rebellion’ as well as the “devastating” consequences of the VAT increase on the performing arts in Spain will be addressed on the 15th of January.

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14 January 2014 01:39 PM

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ACN

Bescanó (ACN).- During the Congress of the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) in New York, the managers of the Bescanó Theatre (Northern Catalonia) will discuss their peculiar protest against the Spanish Government’s VAT increase on cultural products from 8% to 21%. On the 10th of November 2012, following such an increase, instead of selling traditional tickets at a higher price or lowering their profit margin, the Bescanó Theatre managers decided to sell carrots to their audience, due to the lower VAT on fresh food. Spectators bought carrots for a price equal to the usual entrance fee and were gifted a theatre ticket in exchange. This ‘carrot rebellion’ as well as the “devastating” consequences of the VAT increase on the performing arts in Spain will be discussed during the prestigious congress organised ISPA, which will run from the 14th to the 16th of January. Quim Marcé, the Director of the Bescanó Theatre, will deliver a 10 minute speech on the 15th of January on this ‘carrot experience’.


“We like the image of the carrot as a metaphor of the farmer with a donkey and the considerably-lowered VAT [for vegetables] is what we want” had stated Quim Marcé at the time. The initiative was a success, and did not just stop at the gates of the Bescanó theatre, a town nearby the city of Girona. The action characterized by the slogan 'Per la salut de la Cultura' (For Culture’s sake) has gotten international press coverage, and over a year later, the protest will be discussed in one of the world’s most prestigious congress on performing arts.

The International Society for the Performing Arts’s 66th annual conference is dedicated to ‘Imagining a new economy for the arts’. The Director of the Bescanó Theatre will deliver a 10-minute speech on his initiative on the 15th of January, during the fourth session of the day entitled ‘New tools for a new world’. Marcé will share the session with one of the creators of Google Glass Explorer, who will reflect on the applications of these augmented reality glasses to the performing arts.

The VAT increase has deepened the crisis in the cultural sector

According to a press release issued by the theatre last week, Marcé’s presentation will focus on the famous ‘carrot rebellion’ as well as on the state of the arts in Spain. Marcé will address the “devastating” effects of the drastic VAT increase on cultural products, a measure perceived as a “tax” on creativity and on culture’s well-being. Indeed, in order to maintain their profit margins, cinemas and theatres have often increased their entrance fees, losing spectators in the process. The income of other cultural establishments, which have decided to maintain their entrance fees, has also decreased significantly. Therefore, the VAT increase has further deepened the crisis in the cultural sector, already affected by the economic crisis, the change in audiovisual consumption patterns and illegal downloading. 

Marcé will also present other initiatives which were carried out in the theatre, such as the creation of a ‘Friend of the Theatre Association’, and several ‘Choose your own price’ campaigns, during which the public could obtain up to 60% discounts.

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  • The staff of Bescanó's theatre selling carrots in November 2012 (by N. Guisasola)

  • The staff of Bescanó's theatre selling carrots in November 2012 (by N. Guisasola)