Barba Varley 2021 International Award

On December 10th, 2020, a date dedicated to the celebration of human rights, Eugenio Barba and Julia Varley established the Fondazione Barba Varley aiming to promote the visibility and support of theatre’s submerged culture.

In continuity with their long experience in the field of culture, the founders have decided to turn their attention to the “nameless”, those who are experiencing a situation of cultural emergency and social exclusion.

Among the planned activities, they have established an award to support people, groups and networks of women and men who do particularly meritorious work in the field of human rights.

For the year 2021, the Barba Varley Award was awarded to “5° Elemento”, a network of Mexican journalists who deal with the sad phenomenon of the “desapariciones forzadas”, and to the “Brigada Nacional de Búsqueda”, a collective of victim families who organise searches on place to find their missing family members.

The Prize, aimed at supporting their activities, was awarded in Mexico City on November 29th, 2021, by Claudio La Camera representing Fondazione Barba Varley, Nando Dalla Chiesa for the University of Milan, Patricia Cardona, journalist and theatre director, and the Italian Ambassador to Mexico, Luigi de Chiara.

Eugenio Barba and Julia Varley’s message

To the members of the Project A dónde van los desaparecidos, of Quinto Elemento Lab, Laboratory of Journalistic Research and Innovation, and to the “Brigada Nacional de Búsqueda”:

You belong to the race of anonymous heroines whose small actions illuminate the obscurity of injustice. Your actions keep the flame of hope alive and strengthen the ties that unite all of us who share and support your endeavour.

With esteem, a hug


Nando Dalla Chiesa’s message

It was an exciting afternoon, of extraordinary richness at a human and social level, and also – I would underline – at a political level. A real piece of history has passed in front of us.

What we have heard is a huge tragedy, and not just for Mexico. It is rather a planetary tragedy because it directly involves the dignity of the human race. And none of us can leave this meeting without promising to those who have been present and to themselves that they will commit more and more to this cause, one of the most important civil causes ever in the contemporary world.

Thank you for your painful ability to carry such a huge burden on your shoulders, thank you for your courage.

premio bv 2

Patricia Cardona’s message

It is a great honour for me to present this Fondazione Barba Varley Award to two groups that have not forgotten what integrity and courage are in the face of the abuse of power. They have not forgotten the value of Life. They are an example of sovereignty and freedom as they speak about what others have tried to bury in graves all over the country.

I thank Eugenio Barba and Julia Varley for giving me the opportunity to shake the hand of people who through their spirit of independence have given dignity to journalism and to the right of families to honour their disappeared members. Thanks to the journalistic research and innovation laboratory project and to the Brigada Nacional de Búsqueda for giving us this example of consistency and solidarity.

Thanks to the Fondazione Barba Varley for turning the fruit of theatre into an instrument of regeneration. Thanks for reminding us that theatre has a political decidedness based on beauty and rigour. Thank you for socialising poetics in opening more spaces for generosity and recognition. Thank you for bringing all of us here together to celebrate the most beautiful version of the human being when it sets out to transcend the darker side of humanity itself.


The Italian Ambassador to Mexico, Luigi de Chiara’s message

I am happy and proud to be part of this ceremony also because of the presence of an Italian Foundation and the University of Milan.

The stories I have heard from the network of journalists and from the collective of the victims’ and missing people family members seem to me stories of heroic journalism.

The Italian Embassy is at the disposal of IMJUS and other Mexican institutions so that the Italian experience can be of benefit to Mexican realities.

I would also like to emphasise that as a delegation from the European Union we have never failed to report the killings of journalists.

I feel an unlimited admiration for the value and personal commitment that each of you are putting into this important question.

ambasciatore fbv 4