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Margins of Battle: The Women of Aljubarrota

Puppet Construction, Stage Direction e  Manipulation

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Nos  on the 13th and 14th of August, the theatrical show “Margens da Batalha: As Mulheres de Aljubarrota” took place at the Estalagem de Aljubarrota, a show included in the initiative “Rede Cultural - Aljubarrota 1385”, a joint application by the municipalities of Alcobaça, Batalha and Porto de Mós, presented to the CENTRO 2020 programme.


The show was a joint production of local companies SA Marionetas, A Corda and Companhia Livre, with dramaturgy by Elsa Maurício Childs.


The Municipality of Alcobaça is the leading partner of the initiatives that implement the network project, under the designation “Cultural Programming in Network” of the Regional Operational Program of the POR Center), which grants financial support to investments aimed at promoting the dynamisation, promotion and development cultural heritage, as an instrument for the differentiation and competitiveness of territories, namely through their qualification and tourism development.


As partners, the company SA Marionetas – Teatro & Bonecos, from Alcobaça, appears as co-promoter and Fundação Batalha de Aljubarrota, as an institutional partner.




August 13th and 14th | 21:00

Estalagem do Cruzeiro, Aljubarrota


Aljubarrota 2021

“Margins of Battle: The Women of Aljubarrota”

Text/ Dramaturgy/ Narration: Elsa Maurício Childs




By companies:

The Rope | Free Company | SA Puppets


The pages of History wrote the names of the heroes of the Battle of Aljubarrota - the unavoidable D. João I, Master of Avis, and the Holy Constable, D. Nuno Álvares Pereira, so often silencing, by the almost always patriarchal look of History, women that also defined this fight of bastards.

This new text about the events of Aljubarrota, written specifically for this celebration, seeks, through the reconstruction of the reading that the women warriors of Batalha had of this fight, to give centrality to their participation in the fight.

Through different literary texts that recount the Battle itself and the heroes and heroines who surrendered to it – from Camões, in Canto IV of the Lusíadas, to Mensagem de Pessoa, passing, centrally, through poems by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen and Fiama Hasse de Paes Brandão and for several poetic texts written deliberately for this occasion by the author of the dramaturgical text –, Margens da Batalha: As Mulheres de Aljubarrota seeks to make the Lusitanian daughters of Athena – Maria de Sousa, Joana Fernandes and Brites – protagonists of the battle. de Almeida (the already mythical Baker of Aljubarrota) –, who fought in it.

Without forgetting the essential roles played by Filipa de Lencastre and by the figure of Our Lady Virgen de Oliveira, to whom D. João I dedicates his victory, throughout 3 acts we try to give an account not only of Batalha itself, but also of of the paths that led to it and those that emerge from it.

The text thus seeks to remove these female characters from the margins of History, giving them the space and time necessary for the focus of the events of Aljubarrota to shine on them.

The poetry of Sappho (the most famous woman poet of antiquity) also contributes to this task, which serves as a motto for the text, through the centralized look of the feminine that defines it.




Wake up


Corda was born in 2018 and presents itself as a platform for multidisciplinary artistic creation focused primarily on Theatre, Music and Literature, as well as the exploration of different scenic languages. It intends to function as a network in permanent expansion, through collaboration with other members of the artistic community, fostering interaction and connection between the various forms of work inherent to the arts. Corda's basic principle is to carry out an activity linked to the community, either through the aforementioned artistic production, or through training in the theatrical and musical areas.


In his artistic production, he highlights the creation and presentation of shows that aim to explore scenic languages and that are situated in the interconnection between Theatre, Music and Literature - examples of this are the shows "Epopeia", "Jogo de Espelhos - A Reflexo de Pessoa", "Quadraginta dies Silentio", "Ad Lucem", "Sobre o Cristal Transparente", the Staged Literary Talks about different Portuguese poets, the children's shows "Babar" and "Fala Bicho" and the In Verso (Association Playback Theater project).


Corda has carried out a continuous activity, both in the West zone (Alcobaça, Porto de Mós and Rio Maior), and in Lisbon (in the Liceu Camões Cellars, in the Malaposta Cultural Center and in the Camões Auditorium), having also integrated the programming of some theater festivals, such as the Setúbal International Theater Festival ("Epopeia", 2018), the Books & Movies Festival (with the staged gatherings "Tempus Fugit: Os Horizontes do Tempo em Camilo Pessanha" and "Walt Whitman and the Portuguese poets", 2018 and 2019, respectively, in Alcobaça), the Novo Palco Festival ("Jogo de Espelhos", 2020, in Alcobaça) and the Avesso Festival ("About the Transparent Crystal", 2020, in Madeira).


Art Sheet

Directed by Actors: Ruben Saints

Text/ Dramaturgy/ Narration: Elsa Maurício Childs

Interpretation: Diogo Bach, Inês Lucas, Lea Managil, Rita Carolina Silva, Ruben Saints, Tiago Bôto and Mestre André (musician)

Music and Sound Design: Master André

Costumes: Ruben Saints

Props: Marinel Matos

Production Support: Joana Bastos

Acknowledgements: Ana Castanhito, Helena Raposo, Maria do Carmo Rebelo, António Santos, Margarida Guerreiro, Ana Costa and Vitor Lucas



SA Marionetas – Theater & Puppets


It is a professional puppet theater creation structure composed of authors, builders and puppeteers who produce originals and in Portuguese, with the aim of promoting and publicizing the Puppet Theater. In this perspective, his work involves research and the search for new aesthetic solutions, as well as the preservation of the Portuguese popular tradition through research and continuity in the realization of Teatro D. Roberto.

In both cases, the itinerancy of the shows is privileged as the best way to promote the art of puppetry.

In pursuit of these goals, the company has organized, since 1998, the National Puppet Theater Festival “Puppets in the City” in Alcobaça, where it is headquartered. In 2015 the festival was awarded the "EFFE Label". He has participated in several festivals in Portugal, having also represented the country in Italy, Germany, France, Spain, England, Wales, Scotland, Italy, Czech Republic, China, Slovakia, Macau, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey , Austria, Iran, Thailand. It has already been distinguished with more than a dozen national and international awards for its productions and since 1997 it has created 51 original productions.


Artist Sheet:

Stage Direction: José Gil

Handling: Natacha Costa Pereira, Henrique Bértolo, Rodrigo Moreira, Luis Gil, Tomé Simão, Diogo Rainho

Puppet Sculpture: Natacha Costa Pereira

Puppet Construction: Natacha Costa Pereira, José Gil, Sofia Olivença Vinagre and Luis Gil

Structures: Luis Gil

Light Design: José Gil and Óbidos Produções

Produced by: Sofia Olivença Vinagre

Free Company


Companhia Livre is a non-profit association, created in 2008 and whose objective is to promote cultural and educational activities, contribute to the dissemination, appreciation and prestige of the history of Portugal.

We study, research and recreate the civil and military daily life of different periods in the history of Portugal.

It is our mission to spread the History of Portugal.

We are a group of sociocultural actors and animators with extensive experience in historical interpretation and recreation.

We interpret moments, characters and adventures, always told in the first person, using costumes and props from each era.

We are storytellers, we are narrators of historical facts and interpreters.

Embodying characters from the History of Portugal, we provide a pedagogical journey and stimulate imagination, interest and motivation for the History and culture of Portugal – a live history class, a playful and fun learning experience.

List of participants:

Nuno Marques; Vera Pinto; Nuno Cardo; Luis Gomes; Nuno Esteves; Nuno Figueiredo; Nuno Goncalves; Jose Carvalho; Fernando Brecha; Vera Rebelo; Carla Alves; Maria do Céu Sotta; João Conrado; Victor Mendes; Paul Polido; Martim Antunes; Jose Marcos; Louis France; Vasco Alves; Rui Simões; Antonio Serra; Guida Santos; Maria Jose Vicente; Beatriz Figueira; Olga Figueira; Peter Fortunado; André Inácio; Belarmino Figueiredo; Luis Figueiredo; Justina Silva; David Santos; Francisco Camacho; Luis Ferreira; Jose Pereira; Manuel Lobo; Angelo Lobo; Miguel Rocha; Jorge Nunes; Joaquim Silva and Nuno Rodrigues.




This year marks the 636th anniversary of the Battle of Aljubarrota, a decisive moment for the independence of Portugal, which took place on August 14, 1385.

At this time, in the middle of the Middle Ages, Portugal was experiencing a climate of political and social tension. On the one hand, during the Crisis of 1383, the desire to unite with Castile remained within the court. On the other hand, many fought to defend Portugal's independence. The Portuguese people did not accept losing their nationality.

The king, D. João I, Master of Avis, had long been preparing the defense of Portugal. On the side of Castile, D. Juan I planned to take the Portuguese throne and chose to lay siege to Lisbon. And so it was. The siege lasted 3 long months and only ended when Almada surrendered due to lack of water.

The Battle was approaching the Coutos de Alcobaça and would take place between the fields of S. Jorge and those of Aljubarrota. Friar João de Ornelas, Abbot of the Monastery of Alcobaça, was a precious help to the army of

João I. He sent about 300 men to fight the Castilians and, defending the bridge of Chiqueda, made that the army of D. Juan I was delayed.

Even at a numerical disadvantage in the number of knights and with the population weakened, D. João I decided to advance and elected D. Nuno Álvares Pereira as the strategist to command the destiny of the Portuguese.

For this combat, D. Nuno created a military practice, the technique of the square, which boosted the Portuguese victory. For that day, on the S. Jorge heath, he positioned the knights in a square to create the illusion that there were more men. They were thus able to lure the invaders into the square by attacking them from all fronts. The numerous ditches and wolf pits, covered with abatises, were real traps. Portugal won when they were at a clear disadvantage. The numerical difference did not dictate their fate.


This Battle represents the affirmation of the independence of Portugal and its people.



After the Battle, after being defeated, many Castilians fled fearing for their lives.

Legend has it that seven fugitives, trying to find shelter and supplies, entered the house of Brites de Almeida, the baker of Aljubarrota. The men found the house empty, when Brites would have gone to help the population of Aljubarrota to expel the invaders who stayed after the Battle.

Brites de Almeida, a strong, tall, ugly-looking woman with admirable strength and courage, when she arrived home that night, she found the door closed and became suspicious. He came face to face with seven hungry Castilians inside his oven and he didn't have half measures. The Padeira and her people, with the shovel aimed at the sharp iron of the raer, which she used to keep the embers away from the oven, killed the seven Castilians at once.

This is how the legend Padeira de Aljubarrota was immortalized: heroine and woman of the people, symbol of patriotism and Portuguese nationalism. He defended national independence with his own hands and, therefore, will remain in the minds of the Portuguese.

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