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UNLOCK THE CITY! is an international culture-led regeneration project aimed at developing an integrated working method that combines technical scientific and design oriented research with theatre practice, making the latter a tool to trigger sustainable development processes in the post- pandemic city.

The programme takes place in six European countries (Belgium, Italy, Norway, the Czech Republic, Romania and Spain) and involves four theatrical institutions with a strong international presence (the Teatre Lliure of Barcelona, the Teatrul Tineretului of Piatra Neamț and the Toneelhuis of Antwerp, as well as the Piccolo), two expert academies of Performing Arts and theatrical programming (Østfold University College & Norwegian Theater Academy of Fredrikstad and The Academy of Performing Arts, AMU of Prague), as well as a university specialised in the study of the landscape (the Politecnico di Milano).

In each of the four “sample” cities (Antwerp, Barcelona, Milan, Piatra Neamț), urban areas or locations that played a key role for citizens during the pandemic have been identified, after which research is carried out to explore the concept of limits (economic, social, physical, etc.) within the urban landscape.

This research takes place on three different levels: community (subject), physical space (object), the relationship between theatre and urban area (relationship).

Over the course of three years (from 2023 to 2026), thanks to close collaboration between artists, theatre operators, students, university professors and experts (both local and international) on a range of disciplines, and therefore to the development of an integrated working method – in which theatre hybridises with scientific research – the project aims to develop activities regarding:

  • an examination of the territory and a study of the post-pandemic city landscape;
  • the creation and production of twelve performances by ten European artists;
  • thematic workshops and educational courses aimed at university students. 

In Milan UNLOCK THE CITY! features three of our Associate Artists: Marta Cuscunà, Davide Carnevali and Sotterraneo, who develop their projects in the South-Eastern part of the city, in the areas of Corvetto, Nosedo and Porto di Mare, under the patronage of the Municipality of Milan. Two productions were staged during the 2023/24 season: Bucolica by Marta Cuscunà and Limited Edition by Davide Carnevali. The new production Dance Me to the End of the World by Sotterraneo is planned in the 2024/25 season. 

Together with these performances, a wide range of research, training and territorial activation activities, such as the international mapping workshop held in the spaces of Off Campus Nosedo-Politecnico (2-6 October 2023); the extended public Assembly The city looking at itself (27-28 October 2023), in collaboration with Politecnico di Milano, Centro Nocetum, Associazione La Strada, Terzo Paesaggio, and chiosco Da Giacomo; up to the Silbo Gomero workshops with the whistlers of Bucolica, in collaboration and in the spaces of the Municipalities 4 and 5 (on 10 November 2023 at Spazio BARONI85 and on 18 November 2023 at C.I.Q ​​| Zona 4).

UNLOCK THE CITY! has a single prime objective: to generate an increase in quality in terms of the habitability, accessibility and sustainability of urban spaces in post-pandemic cities through awareness-raising within and the active involvement of communities, organisations, and public administration.


For further information

For the UNLOCK THE CITY! events in Milan

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Gallery: 1-2 | Marta Cuscunà, Bucolica; 3-4 | Thomas Verstraeten, Seefhoek Series; 5-6 | Irina Moscu. here: melancholy; 7-8 | FieldworkLAB, international mapping workshop; 9-10 | Extended public Assembly The city looking at itself; 11-12 | Davide Carnevali, Limited Edition; 13-14 | Martha!tentatief, Honderd