A research project by Christoph Frick and KLARA-Theaterproduktionen on the prison of the same name in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia


FITCRUZ - Festival Internacional de Teatro, Santa Cruz de la Sierra (BOL)

South American premiere, 27.04. I 28.04.2019


Kaserne Basel (CH)

European premiere, 11.10. | 12.10. | 13.10. | 14.10. | 15.10.2019


Theater Tuchlaube Aarau, (CH)

16.10. | 18.10. | 19.10.2019


CCP - Centro de la Cultura Plurinacional, Santa Cruz de la Sierra (BOL)

11.12. I 12.12.2021


Münchner Kammerspiele (D)

 28.01. I 29.01. I 30.01.2022


Ballhaus Ost Berlin (D)

04.02. I 05.02. I 06.02.2022


mARTadero (BOL)

02.05. I 03.05.2022


FITAZ - Festival Internacional de Teatro de La Paz  (BOL)

07. I 08.05.2022

FIBA - Festival Internacional Buenos Aires (AR)

03.03. I 04.03. I 05.03.


FITT - Festival Internacional de Teatro de Tarragona (ES)

31.08. l 01.09.2023


Rigorous and obsessive research resulted in one of the best plays staged in Bolivia in recent years.

Rocío Lloret Céspedes, La Region, Santa Cruz de la Sierra


The play experimentally runs through the excesses of violence in this unique prison. Palmasola is both the rule and the exception; a mystery that every inmate must explore as quickly as possible if they want to survive.

All this is meticulously condensed in Christoph Frick's production: The documentary is paired with magical-realistic elements. "Palmasola" is also an aesthetic concentrate of Latin America - a miniature in which dream worlds, violence and thus nightmares form a strange symbiosis.

Hugo Velarde, Theater der Zeit


PALMASOLA exposes us to an intense urban portrait the great quality of which is not to show a distant world on stage, but simply a model for society.

Maximilian Hanisch for Schweizer Theatertreffen.


A ride through hell .

Andreas Klaeui – theater heute



Palmasola Prison in Santa Cruz de la Sierra is a walled shack settlement built in the late 1980s. It is currently inhabited by about 7238 men and women, of whom only 30% have been convicted. All the others are in a kind of preventative detention.

Palmasola has reliably occupied a top position in the cynical ranking of the "toughest prisons" in the world for years. In Palmasola no cells are provided by the state, so the inmates must rent, buy or build their accommodation, sometimes even fight for it. The range extends from overcrowded mass camps to comfortable accommodation with domestic servants for the wealthy and gang leaders. However, the prison is not a lawless space, it's just that the rules and laws that apply inside are different from the ones in the "normal world" outside.


The research

The theatre project is based on several years of research. The team of the theatre production "Palmasola" is the only group so far that has been able to spend several days inside Palmasola making video and audio recordings with an array of equipment. The stories and information for the production were gathered from interviews with prisoners, lawyers, representatives of the prison government and the police, but above all through the theatre and video workshops with the prisoners.



The performance tells of everyday life and the excesses of violence in prison. Through the fate of a newly imprisoned "gringo", a Swiss man arrested for cocaine smuggling, the audience learns about the mental and physical survival strategies of the inmates and the merciless rules of the prison.

Conflicts between detainees and the police escalate. When the military police intervene, civil war-like conditions ensue. 

Numerous inmates are killed or wounded.



Palmasola seems like a large-scale, neoliberal experimental institution in which research is carried out to find out who prevails by what means under the most adverse social circumstances.

Are friendships and empathy even possible in such a system? And to what extent is the structure of Palmasola perhaps only an intensified version of our society outside as we kno it?


With: Jorge Antonio Arias Cortez, Omar Callisaya Callisaya, Nicola Fritzen, Mario Tadeo Urzagaste Galarza


Directed and set design by: Christoph Frick

Dramaturgy: Carolin Hochleichter und Jhonnatan Torrez

Video: David Campesino

Music: Bo Wiget und andere

Technical Director: Lorenzo Ariel Muñoz

Managment, Difussion: David Berga, Lorenzo Ariel Muñoz



Co-produced by: 

 Supported by: