On 1 December 2020, he became the Director of the Piccolo Teatro di Milano– Teatro d’Europa.
Born in Bologna on 25 May 1966, he graduated with full marks at the Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna in 1993 under the guidance of Professor Ezio Raimondi, with a degree thesis entitled From epic to Theatre, Ronconi’s “Orlando Furioso”. In 1998, again at Bologna University, he gained his PhD with the thesis Twentieth-century dramaturgy: novel, cinema and editing, and won a post-doctoral scholarship in 1999 for a critical publishing project on the four comedies of Giovan Battista Andreini. In 2002 he won a position as Researcher in Entertainment Disciplines at the Department of Music and Entertainment, University of Bologna. In 2006, he was promoted to Associated Professor, moving to the Department of Design and Arts at the IUAV University of Venice. In December 2011, he returned to Bologna, and since 2015 has held the role of full professor (currently on leave) for History of Direction and Theory of Direction for the Department of Visual, Performing and Media Arts for the city’s University. Over the years he has also taught Playwriting, History of Playwriting and the Stage, and Planning and Management of Entertainment Activities. In 2014, he was elected Coordinator for the master’s course in Musical and Theatrical Disciplines at the University of Bologna. In 2015 he was appointed Deputy Vice-President of the School of Literature and Cultural Heritage at the same University. In February 2016, he was elected as Coordinator of the PhD in Visual, Performing and Media Arts at the University of Bologna. In March 2016, he became a member of the watchdog group “University Quality - Working Group dedicated to functions related to quality of research”, again at the University of Bologna, representing the macro-area of Humanities. He held the role of vice-president of CUT (University Theatrical Consultant) from 2016 to 2018.
His academic career has run parallel with his activity in the world of theatre, operating initially in the field of directing and audience education, to then widen his scope to organisational areas. Between 1993 and 1995 he worked as assistant to Pier Luigi Pizzi and Graham Vick, between 1995 and 2002 he collaborated on a regular basis with Luca Ronconi , first as his assistant and then as assistant director, taking part in productions such as Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana, 1996; Lolita, 2001 and Infinities, 2002. Between 2007 and 2008, he worked alongside Eimuntas Nekrošius for the staging of Anna Karenina. Beginning in 1999, he directed productions for the Teatro di Roma (Democrazia, 1999; Omaggio a Koltès: Deaf voices, Sallinger and In the Solitude of Cotton Fields, 2009), for the Teatro de Gli Incamminati (Moscheta, 2001; Cos’è l’amore, 2002; Caligola, 2003; Edipo e la Sfinge, 2004; Der Onkel, 2005), for the Piccolo Teatro di Milano (Ite messa est, 2002), for the Teatro Stabile di Torino (La peste, a co-production with the Teatro de Gli Incamminati, 2004; Leopardi, 2005; Biblioetica. Dizionario per l’uso, together with Luca Ronconi as part of “Progetto Domani”, 2006), for the Teatro Due di Parma (La folle giornata o il matrimonio di Figaro, a co-production with the Teatro Stabile di Torino and the Teatro di Roma, 2007), for the Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico (Prometeo, 2012) and for the Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione (Io parlo ai perduti. Le vite immaginarie di Antonio Delfini, 2009; La resistibile ascesa di Arturo Ui, 2011, a co-production with the Teatro di Roma, winner of the ANCT Award as play of the year; Il ratto d’Europa, a co-production with the Teatro di Roma, 2013; the trilogy Istruzioni per non morire in pace: Patrimoni, Rivoluzioni, Teatro, a co-production with the Teatro della Toscana, 2016; La classe operaia va in paradiso, 2018; La commedia della vanità, a co-production with the Teatro di Roma, Teatro della Toscana and LAC, 2019; Il peso del mondo nelle cose, based in the work by Alejandro Tantanian, 2020). He has been a long-term collaborator with Edoardo Sanguinetti, directing - among others - the first full staging in Italy of Storie Naturali (Bologna, 2005).
From 1 January 2017 to 30 November 2020, he held the role of artistic director at the Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione.
He has created and curated audience education projects for the Teatro di Roma (1994.1999), for the Teatro Due di Parma (2006-2009) and for ERT (2015-2016). He has collaborated on audience education projects for the Piccolo Teatro di Milano (2000-2002). Since February 2011, he has formed part of the international research group connected to the Prospero Project for Theatrical Cooperation, as representative for the ERT Foundation. Funded by the European Union Culture Commission, the project connects the Théâtre Nationale de Bretagne in Rennes (France), il Théâtre de la Place in Liège (Belgium), Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione di Modena (Italy), la Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin (Germany), la Fundação Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon (Portugal) and the Tutkivan Teatterityön Keskus in Tampere (Finland), with the aim of favouring mobility of artists and their creations, as well as encounters and profitable exchange between a range of theatrical traditions.
Since 2008, he has been creating, organising and managing participatory theatrical projects: Shakespeare è un pezzo di carbone? (ERT Fondazione: 2008-2010); Omaggio a Koltès (Teatro di Roma, 2009); La resistibile ascesa di Arturo Ui (ERT Fondazione, 2011); Il ratto d’Europa: per un’archeologia dei saperi comunitari (ERT Fondazione – Teatro di Roma, Modena 2011-2014, Rome 2012-2014, UBU 2013 Special Award); Beni comuni. Un teatro partecipato per una cultura condivisa (ERT Fondazione-ATER-Municipality of Carpi, funded by the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Acitivites, 2014); Carissimi Padri: almanacchi dalla Grande Pace (1900-1915) (ERT Fondazione – Teatro della Toscana, Modena 2015-2016, Florence 2016-2017).
Longhi’s work in the field of theatre has also extended to actor training. From 2005 to 2015, he taught History of Theatre at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano School; in 2004 he participated as a teacher at the “Finishing School for directors and actors” directed by Luca Ronconi at the Centro Teatrale di Santa Cristina; between 2013 and 2014, he was the didactic director and coordinator for the artistic higher education course Raccontare il territorio organised by the ERT Foundation and CUBEC - Accademia di Belcanto, in collaboration with the Accademia Filharmonica of Bologna. From June 2015 to November 2020, he was the director of the “Iolanda Gazzerro School of Theatre - Permanent Actors’ Workshop”, organised by the ERT Foundation. In October 2016, on behalf of the ERT Foundation, he organised and managed the international theatrical pedagogics project: At the Prospero’s School. Actors in the global net.
He has published more than one hundred works on the history of direction, the history of the actor, the evolution of contemporary dramaturgy and the Italian theatrical system. These include: the papers La drammaturgia del Novecento: tra romanzo e montaggio (1999), L’”Orlando furioso” di Ariosto-Sanguineti per Luca Ronconi (2006, Special Mention – Zevio Ferrigno Award – as part of the Pisa National Literary Award), Marisa Fabbri: lungo viaggio attraverso il teatro di regia (2010); his contributions to conferences such as La naissance de la mise en scène et l’“opéra”: le marché, la direction d’orchestre et la dramaturgie musicale (1831-1848) (2009), Un “oppositore” al potere: Luigi Squarzina direttore di teatri stabili (2013),or his essays published in some of the most prestigious Italian and International magazines such as: “Culture Teatrali” (La tentazione del “Portrait”, ovvero la scena della memoria secondo Lagarce, 2013; “L’unico responsabile sono io”? Appunti di regia, ricordando Luca Ronconi (Quasi un’introduzione), 2016; Natura facit saltus. Della Pandemia e dell’Europa, tra passato e futuro, 2020; he also curated the 25th annual of the magazine, entitled La regia in Italia, oggi: per Luca Ronconi, 2016), “Teatro e Storia” (Lettera da Avignone per “Papperlapapp”, 2010), “Acting Archives” (Il romanzo dell’École des Maîtres: elementi di pedagogia teatrale secondo Franco Quadri, à la manière de Jarry, 2014), “Drammaturgia” (Sul “Prometeo incatenato”. Tragedia dello sguardo e anatomie del tempo: considerazioni di regia, 2014) or “Europe” (Pour une critique postmoderne à la notion de postmodernité: sur le théâtre de Jean-Luc Lagarce, 2010).
Since June 2010 he has served as a member of the Scientific Committee for the magazine “Teatro e Antropologia”, and between 2011 and 2014 he was a member of the Editorial Committee for the magazine “Prospero European Review. Theatre and Research”. Since July 2012 he has been a member of the Scientific Committee for the new series of the magazine “Drammaturgia” and, since 2015, head of the editorial team for the magazine “Cutlure Teatrali. Studi, interventi e scritture sullo spettacolo”. In 2017 he served on the jury for the “Riccione Theatre Award”, with F. Paravidino as chairperson. Since 2018 he has been an ordinary member of EASTAP, the European Association for the Study of Theatre and Performance, and since 2020 a member of the Scientific Committee for the Gramsci Foundation Emilia-Romagna.
He is frequently involved in international conventions (“Comédiens-auteurs, comédiens-poètes; Angleterre, Espagne, Italie, France, 16e-17e siècles”, Paris, 2012; “Le théâtre et ses publics: la création partagée / Theatre and audiences: a shared creation”, Liège, 2012; “Luca Ronconi: maître d’un théâtre sans limites”, Paris, 2016; “Décentrer notre vision de lʼEuropeˮ, EASTAP, Paris, 2018; “Shared memory(ies)ˮ, EASTAP, Lisbon, 2019). Together with Daniele Vianello, he curated the 3rd international EASTAP convention “Creating for the stage and other spaces: Questioning Practices and Theories”, which was due to take place in Bologna from 27 February to 1 March 2020, but which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 emergency.
Together with Gerardo Guccini and Rossella Mazzaglia, he is the curator of In prospettiva. Dialoghi sul teatro, a series of online events that provide a platform for artists, scholars and operators from the world of live entertainment to examine the role of the performing arts in the era of the coronavirus and the post-pandemic phase (June-December 2020).