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Stefano Massini

Born in Florence in 1975, holder of a degree in Ancient Literature from the University of Florence, Massini began his theatrical career in 2000 as guest assistant to Luca Ronconi at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, and before that as assistant to international directors at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.
Between 2000 and 2005 he dedicated himself principally to directing, first with a staging of The diary of Anne Frank, followed by various titles from contemporary Italian and international playwriting.
Between 2003 and 2005 he began experimenting with stage writing, creating Io sono il mare, Prima dell’alba and Memorie del boia for the Teatro di Rifredi (Florence), all staged with sets by Emanuele Luzzati. It was however in 2005 that his career as a playwright took off, when he was unanimously awarded the Pier Vittorio Tondelli prize, the most important recognition for theatrical writing in Italy, for L’odore assordante del bianco. He had already won the Flaiano Award and had received recognition at the Vallecorsi Awards for La fine di Shavouth in 2004.
During the 2005-2006 season he launched the Trittico delle Gabbie project for the “Teatro delle Donne” Centre of Dramaturgy with the presentation of the one-act La Gabbia, which earned him the National Critics Award, and third place at the Ubu Awards for best Italian newcomer. In December 2005 the book Una quadrilogia was published by Ubulibri, with a preface by Franco Quadri. In the same year he also wrote Muro di silenzio, which was staged by Anna Bonaiuto.
In November 2006 he wrote Processo a Dio, directed by Sergio Fantoni with a company led by Ottavia Piccolo, while February 2007 saw the presentation at the Teatro Stabile della Toscana of L’odore assordante del bianco, which he himself directed (the title was part of the triad for the Ubu Awards). Again in 2007, Massini won the Vallecorsi Award, and presented the second part of the Trittico delle Gabbie, entitled Zone d’ombra, completing the project in 2008 with Versione dei fatti (the triptych was then reunited at the Festival delle Colline Torinesi in 2009 on the occasion of the publishing of the book by Ubulibri). November 2007 saw the debut of La fine di Shavouth, produced by the Teatro Stabile di Bolzano and directed by Cristina Pezzoli.
The 2007-2008 season featured Ottavia Piccolo once again on stage (directed by Sergio Fantoni) in La commedia di Candido, but above all in the inauguration of the pièce Donna non rieducabile memorandum teatrale su Anna Politkovskaja, published by Ubilibri and staged by Ottavia Piccolo (directed by Silvano Piccardi), following a version directed by Massini in the festival organised by Dacia Maraini and then at Primavera dei Teatri of Castrovillari in 2008.
In 2009, Arche Editeur of Paris decided to publish his works in French, while Mireille Perrier staged Femme non-rééducable, directed by Michèle Guigon. The text was presented in Germany at the Munich Kammerspiele. In May 2009, the Teatro Stabile della Toscana commissioned the writing and direction of an abridgement of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (which made its debut the same month, with Sandro Lombardi), following close on the heels of Cosmologia, performed by Massimo Dapporto.
For the 2009-2010 season a new version of Femme non-rééducable made its debut in France, directed by Anton Koutnetsov for the Théâtre du Limousin. Massini began collaborating with the Prague National Theatre, which presented L’odore assordante del bianco, directed by Luzie Belhodaraska. Italy in the meantime saw the debut of L’arte del dubbio with Ottavia Piccolo (directed by Sergio Fantoni, based on the book by Gianrico Carofiglio) and L’Italia s’è desta directed by Ciro Masella (Primavera dei teatri, Castrovillari 2010), while Fabrizio Gifuni performed the work Questions (about tomorrow) for the Città della Creatività. Meanwhile Donna non rieducabile was translated and staged in various countries around the world, from Spain (the Off Theatre of Madrid, the Pradillo Theatre of Madrid) to France (Toulouse, Avignone, Strasbourg, Rennes), as well as in French Canada (directed by Olivier Lepine) and Russia (Baltiski Dom in Saint Petersburg).
In February 2010 in Reggio Emila he received the Matilde di Canossa Award, and in the same month Sanguinis Capitula, performed and directed by Giorgio Albertazzi, saw the light. In November 2010 he was called for a Master at the Università Cà Foscari, Venice, while Io non taccio, a re-writing of the Savonarola sermons (for Don Andrea Gallo) and The Praise of Folly by Erasmus of Rotterdam for Gioele Dix had their debuts. In Los Angeles the first version of Donna non rieducabile (A stubborn woman), directed by B. Hochwald, was presented.
In the 2011-2012 season he directed Lucilla Morlacchi in Lo Schifo (Teatro Metastasio, Prato), wrote Balkan Burger for Luisa Cattaneo (produced by the Teatro delle Donne), and won the Franco Enriquez Award for theatre. For Estate Fiorentina he created the Voci Pratolin project, involving, among others, Marco Baliani, Massimo Ranieri, Ottavia Piccolo and Maurizio Scaparro. In September 2012 he received the commission of Progetto Connections for Before Hamlet (Teatro Litta, Milan), and prepared La porta, based on the novel by Magda Szabo, for Barbara Valmorin and Alvia Reale. In November 2012, RAI - Radiotre entrusted him with an entire evening dedicated to the work Lehman Trilogy, read by Riccardo Bini, Fausto Russo Alesi, Maria Paiato, Graziano Piazza, Barbara Valmorin and Avlia Reale.
In the spring of 2013, in Belgium, yet another version of Femme non-rééducable made its debut, this time directed by Michel Bernard for the Marni Theatre in Brussels. In May 2013 he directed the actors of Arca Azzura Teatro in Il Principe, a rewriting of the work by Machiavelli, and in December of the same year he won the Special Ubu Award for his playwriting as a whole. In August 2013 Frankenstein debuted in Flanders, directed by Emmanuel Dekoninick for the Villers-La Ville festival. October 2013 saw the debut of the French version of Lehman Trilogy, directed by Arnaud Meunier for the Comedie de Saint-Etienne/Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg/Théâtre du Rond-Point: the staging won the French critic’s Grand Prix for Play of the Year. Meanwhile, the first Greek version of Donna non rieducabile debuted in Athens, at the KRT.
In March 2014, Massini was invited by the Università di Siena in the role of visiting professor, and Einaudi published Lehman Trilogy as part of their theatrical series, with a preface by Luca Ronconi. Again in March 2014, he created the stage version of The Sand Child by Tahar Ben-Jelloun, performed by Maria Paiato, for the Dedica festival of Pordenone. A new version of Donna non rieducabile ran uninterrupted for two months at the Theatre de l’Atelier in Paris, performed by Anne Alvaro. The publishing house P. Lauke of Hamburg began the translation of his works into German, and not long after, the most important theatres in Germany began to prepare the first stagings: Lehman Trilogy debuted first of all in Dresden, then in Cologne, (directed by Stephan Bachmann), followed by Hannover, Linz and Munich, while Donna non rieducabile was staged in Oldenburg, and Credoinunsolodio in Cologne. September 2014 saw the debut of African Requiem, written and directed by Massini and performed by Isabella Ragonese.
November 2014 saw the creation of 7 minuti, directed by Alessandro Gassmann, starring eleven actresses including Ottavia Piccolo (ERT/Teatro Stabile del Veneto/Teatro Stabile dell’Umbria), while Einaudi published the work as part of their theatrical series.
In 2016, 7 minuti was transformed into a film directed by Michele Placido, with the screenplay co-written with the author and performed by an international cast.
January 2015 saw the debut of Lehman Trilogy, produced by the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, directed by Luca Ronconi, and starring - among others - Fabrizio Gifuni, Massimo Popolizio, Massimo De Francovich, and Paolo Pierobon. The play won five Ubu Awards, including the award for best text. It was also awarded the Maschere del Teatro Award (Naples, Teatro Mercadante) for best text and play of the year. In May 2015, Shenzhen significa inferno the final play in the collaboration with TDD, made its debut. Massini began collaborating with a number of cinema production companies in Italy, including Domenico Procacci’s Fandango, Cattleya and RaiCinema. In May 2015 he was invited by Sergio Escobar to be the new artistic consultant of the Piccolo Teatro di Milano - Teatro d’Europa. He won the Giovanni Boccaccio Award for Lehman Trilogy, and was invited to join the Mondadori publishing house as a writer, for which he published the novel Qualcosa sui Lehman, in 2016, the full version on which the play was based. In the Autumn of 2015, Lluis Pasqual directed the Catalan versions of Donna non rieducabile and Credoinunsolodio at the Lliure, Barcelona, the latter a piéce which was also to debut soon after at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, directed and performed by Manuela Mandracchia, Sandra Toffolatti and Mariangela Torres.
In January 2016, TNN Nice presented Terre noire, a commissioned work directed by Irina Brook, while news was announced that the Oscar Award winning director Sam Mendes will be staging Lehman Trilogy for the National Theatre in London. 2016 also saw the German version of Lehman Trilogy running simultaneously in six public theatres (Munich, Dresden, Cologne, Linz, Lucerne, Hannover). The Rideau in Brussels produced the Belgian version of Lehman Trilogy, directed by Lorent Wanson, winning the theatre critics’ award for play of the year. The Spanish version produced by the Grec in Barcelona, directed by R. Romei, was also very well received by both critics and audiences.
Autumn 2016 saw the debut of Fabrizio Bentivoglio in the new L’ora di ricevimento, while stages abroad saw the debut of 7 new versions of Credoinunsolodio (Germany, Switzerland, Algeria, Peru, Mexico, Canada and France, in an acclaimed staging, directed by Arnaud Meunier and performed by Rachida Brakni). Donna non rieducabile was staged simultaneously in Canada, Argentina, Peru and Mexico. Massini began collaborating with the newspaper La Repubblica.
In 2017 Irina Brook directed Point d’interrogation for the TNN in Nice; Sonia Bergamasco directed Federica Fracassi and Isabella Ragonese in Louise e Renée, freely based on Letters of two young brides by Balzac. For Pistoia’s year as Italian capital of culture, Massini wrote Il Vangelo secondo Judah, performed by Luigi Lo Cascio and Ugo Pagliai, set in front of the frieze by Della Robia in the loggia of the Spedale del Ceppo. In the Autumn, Occident express debuted with great success in both Italy, with Ottavia Piccolo and the Orchestra Multietnica in Arezzo, in Vienna and Cologne.
The book Qualcosa sui Lehman proved to be one of 2017’s literary successes, winning the Mondello - Super Mondello award and the Campiello Jury of Literary Experts Award, as well as the Giusti Award and the Fiesole Award. In November it also received the De Sica award.
Autumn 2017 saw the publication of the second novel for Mondadori, L'interpretatore dei sogni. This novel has also been transformed into an important theatrical play, directed by Federico Tiezzi, which will run at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano from January 2018.
2018 will also see a number of works by Massini debuting on Broadway.