6. ward or chekhov in bilbao myriam gartzia   I  myriam gartzia . That’s the start of Anton Chekhov’s Ward number 6, which he wrote in 1892. In the story, Chekhov tells us about doctor Andrei Efímich Raguin desperate daily life and his relationships with the patients and with Nikita, whose job is to look after mad people. Nowadays you can find Ward number 6 in Bilbao, at nº 47 Deustuko Erribera Street, and instead of mad people you’ll find a
meeting place for creative people from the worlds of theatre and dance. These creators from the stage world have set up a new theatre space in
Bilbao, called “Pavilion number 6”, after the tale by Chekhov, but, above all, in answer to a need, Irene Bau –an actor and a founding member of Pavilion number 6– has told us. The project is a space set up by stage creators, who know very well what the world of theatre needs and what its shortcomings are: the world of stage itself is taking care of the theatre. But “our objective
is not to be just a show-case for theatre”, they also want it to have a new approach and be a place of creation for Basque theatre and dance as well as being a show-case. “Ward number 6 is not a typical theatre, we want to have a close relationship with the spectators, we want to break down the barrier between the creators and the spectators. That’s why we’ve set up as an association. We’ve managed to get around 200 members so far”. Whoever comes to the Ward and buys a ticket becomes a project member. Even so,
13 people are the founding members and there are well known people from the Basque theatre world amongst them: Ramon Barea, Ander Lipus, Blanca
Arrieta and the dancers Matxalen Bilbao, Patxo Telleria, Mikel Martinez and Irene Bau herself. Another way to take part in the project is to buy your seat for a whole year for 150 euros.

The Basque Government and ZAWP (Zorrozaurre Art Work in Progress) want to carry out a lot of initiatives in the Zorrozaurre area, which used to be industrial, and plan to revive it. They want to bring several young companies, innovative
cultural plans and local life together. The offer from Basque groups has been particularly interesting so far. The groups and show which have played at the Ward include Le petit Theatre du Pain, from the North of the Basque Country,
Artedrama’s Errautsak, the dancer Idoia Zabaleta’s Fisuras 3, Khea Zeater group’s Gloriaren abestia, Josune Monton’s Como como coco me descoco poco, Kukubiltxo’s Inorako Bidaia... This year the people at Ward number 6 are working with the EmE Cycle, theatre and dance created by women.

They particularly want to promote theatre and dance in Basque, “Although, from what we’ve seen so far, the theatre fills up whether the works are
in Basque or in Spanish. It’s a myth that theatres don’t fill up when the works are in Basque, or at least that’s been our experience”, the actor Pako Revueltas explains. Ward number 6 also wants to put an end to the idea that not many people go to watch contemporary dance. “We want people to get used to contemporary dance. We’ve done a few session and people have enjoyed them”. They also want to bring in young people. “There is an age, between 15 and 30, when people don’t often go to the theatre. As we aren’t the Arriaga Theatre, and we don’t have an red carpets, we’re something else and we want to attract those people”.