©Marta Pinto Machado, “Nôs Txon”, 2019-2021

Domestic workers constitute a significant part of the overall informal employment workforce and are among the most vulnerable groups of workers in the labour universe of large urban centres. They work in private homes, often without clearly defined contractual terms and without registration of any kind. Excluded from the spectrum of labour legislation, their professional situation is endemically precarious and fragile. Currently it is estimated that there are around 67 million domestic workers worldwide, more than 80% of whom are women. Their work includes generic tasks such as cleaning the house, cooking, washing clothes and others that involve a high degree of intimacy and closeness with their employer, such as caring for children, the elderly or people with some kind of disability (in the case of caregivers).

In Portugal, as in the vast majority of European countries, this work is largely carried out by first or second generation immigrants. Women who leave their countries, often leaving their children and family behind in search of better living conditions and who find in this type of job the only professional outlet. They temporarily leave their home and roots to work in another house, for another family. They live on the outskirts of gentrified cities, often in houses shared with some fellow countrymen, moving daily between their homes and the homes of those for whom they work.

The title Pêndulo thus refers not only to this daily movement but also to this form of emigration. In the specific case of Lisbon, these workers are mostly from Brazil or Portuguese speaking African countries, namely Angola, Cape Verde, São Tomé, Mozambique or Guinea.

In the wake of Marco Martins’ work with specific communities and their relationship with work, Pêndulo implies six months of work with 10 first or second generation immigrant women with domestic work as their main activity. Starting from the encounter with this group of people arriving with a passport, their body and their history, and in collaboration with the writer Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida, Marco Martins focuses on the implications of this daily pendular movement between one home and another, between the country of origin and the country of immigration. Pêndulo focuses on the nature of domestic work to talk about family relationships, in the sense of the intergenerational and intercultural confrontation between different ways of life, contexts, expectations, dreams and daily lives. How do these workers relate to the families they work for and how are they affected by this relationship? How does one experience the need to leave one’s home to take care of the home of others? How does a country relate to the immigrants it receives? This play, in line with the scenic work developed in recent years by Marco Martins, is based on the participation and commitment of a group of non-professional actors, providing room for the stories of those who are directly confronted with the precariousness implicit in the economic and social evolution of the world.

Technical sheet

Marco Martins


Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida and Marco Martins  


Elane Galacho, Emanuelle Bezerra, Fabi Lima, Juliana Teodoro Alves, Maria Gustavo, Maria Yaya Rodrigues Correia, Nádia Fabrici, Nzaji Dende, Poly Ferreira

Original Music

Tia Maria Produções

Set designer

fala atelier

Scenographic project, production and assembly


Light Designer

Nuno Meira

Assistant light designer and operation

Ricardo Campos

Sound designer and sound operation

Vítor Santos


Vânia Rovisco

Non-actors’ casting

José Pires

Direction assistant

Rita Quelhas

Coordination and Production Direction

Mariana Brandão



São Luiz Teatro Municipal

Teatro Municipal do Porto - Rivoli

Rota Clandestina/C.M. Setúbal


Prospero – Extended Theatre



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