Online Workshop & Reading

15th-16th June 2020


As part of Head for Heights’ International Online Workshops during the Covid-19 pandemic, Head for Heights continued their work on their initial week-long workshop in December 2019, on Eduardo Luna's Painecur, in association with La Familia Teatro.

The workshop was directed by Sue Dunderdale, with actors Greg Baxter, Ifan Meredith, Pia Laborde Noguez and Theo Walker. Eduardo Luna, Alexis Moreno and Javiera Severino from La Familia Teatro attended in London.

The work with Lafamiliateatro came about as a result of an internationalisation grant awarded to the company by the British Council Santiago. The project proposed a workshop with Head for Heights in London, with visits to British theatres that produce international theatre and theatre in translation.

An excerpt from the play:

‘In 1960, after the great earthquake in Valdivia, a Mapuche community in the area of Lago
Budi sacrificed a boy to calm supernatural forces and to avoid greater catastrophe. At that
time, those responsible for the act were charged. However, they were declared innocent
and the papers relating to the trial have been lost in the course of time. In the present, a
group of students has been assigned this case for their Clínica Jurídica (Law Clinic) exam; but
not having the court papers, they have to conjecture on the decision of the judge at that
time, facing up to their own social and cultural prejudices.’

Painecur is based on a real event. José Luis Painecur is the name of the seven-year-old boy who was sacrificed in a ritual ceremony to quell the catastrophic impact of the world’s strongest ever earthquake. The insistent tremors and the tidal waves that hit the south of Chile in May 1960 had a huge impact across the Pacific rim. The play places us at the heart of a dilemma about where we stand in relation to the systems of belief, the suffering and actions of others, about what
constitutes ‘civilised behaviour’, about how we act from our own place of belonging. And the
question at the heart of the translation process is: how do we move a play about the sacrifice of a
child in a Mapuche community in 1960 to the UK in 2020? There is, of course, a deeper question,
which is whether we can or should.

These were the issues that our process of translation allowed us to examine in depth.


Directed by Sue Dunderdale

Translated by Catherine Boyle

Dramaturg: Karen Morash

Produced by Annafrancesca Tonna


Ifan Meredith as Ernesto/Machi Manquián

Greg Baxter as Alberto/Judge

Elleanor Fanyinka as Melisa/Machi

Theodore Walker as Rodrigo


Pictures copyright Head for Heights

'These events, even online, give us hope that the world carries on, so thank you for that'

La Familia Teatro

'What a brilliant, fascinating, emotional and important story. And a wonderful connected to Chile. Thank you so much for sharing'


'An emotional piece, it's beautiful to see it translated'

La Familia Teatro

'Thank you for your wonderful acting'


These workshops and reading were generously funded by Arts Council England and the British Council Santiago's Internationalisation Grant and has received support from King's College London