Following months during which COVID has forced us to suspend activities, despite the nightmare of this pandemic that is slow to leave us, we are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel with the approach of the summer season and the first significant signs of success from the vaccination programme, and the moment when the theatre can reopen approached. During the dark months of the second and extremely long lockdown, we have never stopped working in order to guarantee employment for those working in the entertainment business, to allow artists to refine their studies and skills, and above all to demonstrate our presence and our support for the community in such a difficult period for our country, focusing particular attention on our closest friend and on the families of our spectators. In this period in which the recommencement of activity approaches, the areas of activity for our theatre begin to multiply, in order to continue to fulfil our public role and ensure that we maintain our commitment to the artists, workers and spectators.
The initial focus of our work is naturally the preparation of the programme. While we wait for the definition of a precise date for reopening to allow us to publish an accurate programme, work is under way on the new productions that will accompany us over the initial weeks of activity. Ladies Football Club, the epic ballad created by Stefano Massini and entrusted to the masterful talent of the actress Maria Paiato, directed by Giorgio Sangati, tells the story of an English female workers’ football team against the backdrop of the Great War; Hamlet by Antonio Latella, a lucid re-reading of the archetype of modern conscience, perpetually teetering on the edge of the abyss of silence in the hands of one of the most important figures in new Italian directing, and A German Life, a sort of “theatrical documentary” created from the scraps of autobiographical memoires of Brunhilde Pomsel, the secretary of Goebbels, brought together by the Oscar-winner Christopher Hampton and performed by Franca Nuti, an exceptional and moving example of the great tradition of Italian acting.
The intense activity of live programming is not however the only focus in this suspended period, in which we confidently await to reopen. We are in fact also continuing to explore the possibilities surrounding the use of the internet, as well as preparing to celebrate an important anniversary: the centenary of the birth of Giorgio Strehler.
While, over the months that we are leaving behind us, digital was the only space that allowed us to connect with our audiences (despite its “remote” nature), in this period in which theatres are preparing to reopen, we believe that this domain could become an alternative space for entertainment, a space in which to reconsider exchanges with spectators, cancelling geographic distances and intercepting new communities of friends and enthusiasts. In the wake of such considerations, we have decided to launch Piccolo Smart, the Piccolo Teatro’s new virtual environment that has been conceived not only to accompany the process of returning to theatres, with all the uncertainties that this process involves, but above all to systematically examine - in light of the metamorphosis that the world is experiencing (one that began before COVID, to be honest) - how the Piccolo can lend new meaning to the motto that since the very beginning has marked its destiny, that is of being “an art theatre for all”.
As previously mentioned, there is a third important area of activity in this period which is represented by the preparations for the celebration of the centenary of Strehler’s birth. 2021 is, in fact, a special year in the history of Piccolo theatre. 14 August will see the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Giorgio Strehler. In the run-up to this important anniversary, it is impossible for us not to imagine a project that properly remembers and celebrates this undisputed representative of the twentieth century scene, while at the same time not diverting attention from present events. We are in fact convinced - and this has inspired the project Strehler 100 on which we are working - that as Strehler demonstrated with his extraordinary directing career, art and culture can be drivers for the recovery of a country in crisis. As was the case at the end of the ‘40s, this great setting for democracy that is the theatre can serve as a cornerstone for our communities.
Ladies Football Club, Hamlet, A German Life, Piccolo Smart, Strehler 100… past, present, future. Many projects, many ideas, many points of view and above all the burning desire to once again and always be together, to recount, to reflect and to understand.
In the run-up to the reopening, keep following us!