Course programme (POF) and didactic structure
Course programme (POF)
for the 2017-2020 three-year period
(17/18-18/19-19/20 school years)
Luca Ronconi School of the Piccolo Teatro di Milano - Teatro d’Europa
School director, Carmelo Rifici
Didactic coordinator, Giovanni Crippa
Approved on 20/10/17
Last updated on 15/02/2020
The Piccolo Teatro di Milano School of Theatre is an Higher Education Acting School founded by Giorgio Strehler and later directed by Luca Ronconi. The current director is Carmelo Rifici.
It was created with the aim of providing young apprentices, chosen via public competition, with the instruments necessary in order to take on the difficult world of acting and is structured in a single course covering a period of three years.
From a didactic point of view, at the beginning of the first year and following a period of evaluation, the school directors set out a pedagogical programme based on the needs of the group formed.
In this stage, the tendency is to concentrate on the construction of a technical foundation, something that is fundamental in order to later approach the delicate phase of acting.
The education of the body and the voice, in all their possible forms, together with the teaching of theatrical theory, provides the students with a solid technical foundation.
An important aspect of this first year is a serious psycho-pedagogic study, carried out above all by acting and drama teachers and aimed at rendering the student aware of their own traps and the physical and psychological barriers that restrain that form of freedom fundamental in order to be able to interpret a text.
The second year concentrates above all on analysis of texts from a point of view of their possible interpretations, through a serious study of systems that are only apparently contradictory yet useful in showing students the countless ways of the theatre.
Much importance is still focused on didactics with regards to technique, although these are modelled to the demands of the text, of the performance and of the creativity of the actor.
Of fundamental importance during the second year is the periodical assessment carried out by the teachers, which takes place via a series of open lessons aimed at leading the young actors to experiment the techniques and systems learned in front of an audience.
The third year is built around intensive sessions of acting with different directors and actors. During this decisive final term, the technical subjects tend to be reduced and serve solely as support for the acting. Thanks to the work of the directors, the actors are subjected to profound experiences; the work on the character, on the rapport with the stage, and on space and time finally reveal their true objective; not only creating actors, but above all people who are aware of the value that art has for society, of its contribution to ethics, to politics, to an analysis of the complexity of humankind for an increasingly complete level of awareness.
DETAILS OF THE CURRICULUM AND COURSE CALENDAR
The choice to set the course out over a three-year period and to concentrate on a single calls is a response to the necessity of supporting talent with a serious and scrupulous training process, offering the students a solid patrimony of techniques and important professional experiences that will allow them to refine their expressive abilities in a continuous exchange between the classroom and the stage.
Over the three-year period the students will participate in approximately 4,000 hours of lessons, of which approximately 1,200 the first year, 1,300 the second year and 1,500 the third year.
The didactic structure provides for four sections, each with corresponding practical subjects:
- Acting (divided into: Drama, Acting, Seminars on acting)
- Voice (divided into: Voice education, Vocalism, Singing, Diction)
- Body (divided into: Acrobatics, Grammar of Movement, Expressive movement, Theatre-Dance, Tango)
- General culture: It is considered important for the training of the students to provide elements of dramaturgy and evolution of the stage experience, seen as a diachronic analysis of staging.
The school also relies on the collaboration of a phoniatrist and two speech therapists for specific problems regarding phonation, and a support therapist for control of the muscular and skeletal system.
All the teaching is coordinated in order to develop the expressive potential of the student, revealing and enhancing their capacities and particularities. However, as well as training the student as an individual, exalting their talent and professional potential, the school also aims to develop their capacity for interaction in group work with colleagues, a fundamental element for their future profession.
The students attend the lessons according to a calendar that is given to them on a weekly basis and which provides for the distribution of the hours of teaching between the various didactic sections, also guaranteeing the students a number of hours of study and seminars.
Every evening, at the end of the lessons, the students are required to check the agenda that confirms or modifies the weekly calendar.
In order to evaluate progress, the students undergo periodical checks over the three-year period. At the end of the third year, the students take part in the end-of-year performance, which is open to the public and which sees all the newly-graduated actors taking on various roles in the staged piece.
During the three-year period, the students are obliged to respect the rules in an extract of the stage regulations signed by them on enrolment. In particular, during the three-year period, the students are not allowed to take part in performances on stage, in the cinema or on television without the permission of the school directorate.
Attendance is obligatory. The missing of 25% or more of the total number of annual hours will lead to expulsion from the school.
The first year (which coincides with the entrace exam), the courses begin indicatively at the end of October and end mid-June. Lessons on the second and third year begin in the second half of September and continue until June/July.
School lessons take place 6 days a week for 44 weekly hours, from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and on Mondays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Sundays off).
The teachers are actors and directors. In accordance with the curriculum, a number of them provide constant presence over the school year, guaranteeing didactic continuity to the students. In particular, said continuity is provided by the school director, The director Carmelo Rifici.
Alongside the director, regular lessons are held by:
- Giovanni Crippa, didactic coordinator and an acting teacher who works with the students on the basis of a model (an important staging) to assimilate techniques by working within an apparently restrictive framework that can help students to reach the awareness of the process that more experienced actors have gone through in order to achieve excellent results. The first year of analysis and study of the model is followed by the second and third year during which the students move ever further away from the model provided until they reach the technical and dramatic maturity necessary for original interpretation.
- Mauro Avogadro, actor and director, drama teacher. With him, students undergo the complex and delicate process of approaching the “character”. The young students are led to discover within the words of the piece that condition, full of contradiction, from which our actions are released: the difficulty to express one’s own emotional state and the irresistible beauty of having and wanting to “communicate”.
The process is divided into various steps over the 3-year period, each of which corresponds to a gradually increasing level of awareness and ability.
During the first year, the approach to the piece provides for the students to study simultaneously both the text and the character, and only after having analysed and deconstructed the text in all its aspects can they approach the character.
During the second year, the dramaturgic material becomes practical through an initial approach to stage work, while not yet taking on the overall complexity of the piece. The third and final year, is dedicated instead to the staging in its entirety and with all its implications.
As well as these figures, the school relies on teaching from important artists present in Milan for production plays or performances hosted as part of the Piccolo Teatro season. These teaching sessions are also programmed and included in a coherent and organic manner along the lines of the Curriculum characterising the school. These are training sessions that range from workshops aimed at the understanding of techniques to explore the various expressive possibilities of one’s body, to work on individual pieces, examining their dramaturgic structure.
In this section, artistic disciplines such as music and song alternate with highly technical subjects, such as vocal training (to learn to recognise, stimulate and develop the “personal” and “physiological” voice of each student). While in the first year the lessons are aimed at the acquisition of a technique, in the subsequent years the technique acquired becomes functional requirements of drama. Diction to learn exactly how to pronounce words, learning to abandon, if required, a regional inflection without losing distinctive traits (examined in the first year). Choral music/song, to explore the expressive possibilities of the singing voice and its potential, with lessons developed over the course of the three-year period; from the preparatory stage of acquisition of the initial elements necessary to anonymously decipher written music, to the learning of a number of fundamental techniques both in theatre and in music, such as for example pronunciation, rhythm and breathing.
The sessions with the speech therapists (for students with difficulties in articulation or with vocal problems) and periodical check-ups with the phoniatrist (for an objective examination of the student in the first year followed by subsequent check-ups) guarantee the students the health and efficiency of the vocal instrument.
The highly qualified teachers are professionals, opera singers, concert masters, specialist physicians.
The “body” section includes lessons on theatre-dance, acrobatics (control of one’s own body, overcoming one’s own limits and fears), grammar and expression of movement (techniques for controlling the body, developing the ability to listen and imagine together with the use of the voice) and a preparatory tango course in the first year). As with the “voice” section, the first year is dedicated to the acquisition of techniques that, over the course of the following two years, become functional elements in the dramatic process. Along with the teachers, there is the weekly presence of a postural trainer, guaranteeing controls for the students and the possibility to intervene in the event of problems with the muscular and skeletal system.
The teachers are choreographers, dancers, actors, gymnasts and working professionals.
It is considered important for the training of the students to provide elements of dramaturgy and evolution of the stage experience, seen as a diachronic analysis of staging a performance.
Over the course of the three years, the subjects regarding culture are in purely chronological order, but the programme may vary in terms of timing or further study in accordance with the didactic requirements for the subjects of acting and drama.
The lessons are held by critics for important newspapers and internationally famous playwrights.
Over the years, the Schools has had some of the most important artists as teachers (actors, directors, performers), thanks to the prestige of the Piccolo Teatro and its close relationship with the school.
As part of the three-year curriculum, the school takes part in educational projects on specific themes that take advantage of ESF as part of the Lombardia Plus 2016-2018 initiative.
Since 2016, the School has obtained funding for three projects:
- 2016 Specialisation course on acting techniques for Greek Tragedy and its re-elaborations in modern and contemporary writing (POR ESF 2014/2020-Section III- Action 10.4.1), concluded;
- 2017 Theatre and Masters Module I and II, (POR ESF 2014/2020-Section III- Action 10.4.1), concluded;
- 2018 From Poetry to Poetic Text: pudor and beauty (POR ESF 2014/2020-Section III- Action 10.4.1), concluded.
SOME OF THE TEACHERS WHO HAVE TAUGHT IN THE SCHOOL
Carmelo Rifici – drama
Pupi Avati – seminar on cinema acting
Anagoor – acting seminar
Mauro Avogadro – drama
Paola Bigatto – acting seminar
Giorgio Bongiovanni – acting seminar on the Commedia dell’Arte
Franco Branciaroli – acting seminar
Romeo Castellucci – acting seminar
Giovanni Crippa – drama
Fadhel Jaibi – acting seminar
Antonio Latella – acting seminar
Giulia Lazzarini – acting seminar
Manuela Mandracchia – acting seminar
Laura Marinoni – acting seminar
Laura Pasetti – acting seminar
Fausto Paravidino – acting seminar
Mario Perrotta – acting seminar
Massimo Popolizio – acting seminar
Paolo Rossi – acting seminar
Peter Stein – acting seminar
Serena Sinigaglia – acting seminar
Antonella Astolfi – voice education
Monica Bacelli – acting through song (Monteverdi repertoire)
Emanuele De Checchi – vocalism
Francesca Della Monica – seminar on the voice
Anna Capovilla – speech therapy
Silvia Magnani – phoniatrics
Francesca Porrini – diction
Luciana Unnia – speech therapy
Maurizio Zippoli – song
Michele Abbondanza – theatre-dance
Maria Victoria Arenillas – tango
Simona Bertozzi – seminar on movement
Antonio Bertusi – seminar on movement
Maria Consagra – grammar of movement
Marco Merlini – acrobatics
Fulvio Masocco – postural technique
Maria Cristina Rizzo – seminar on movement
Alessio Maria Romano – expressive movement
Gianfranco De Bosio – history of 20th century theatre
Claudio Facchinelli – seminar on the Theatrics of the school
Umberto Galimberti – psychological elements
Maria Grazia Gregori – history of directing
Fausto Malcovati – seminar on 20th century Russian theatre
Stefano Massini – playwriting
Renato Palazzi – seminar on theatrical criticism
Maurizio Porro – seminar on the history of cinema
Claudia Provvedini – history of ancient theatre
Gabriella Rovagnati – seminar on Arthur Schnitzler theatre
Stefano Tomassini – history of dance and performative theatre