Rome hosted Destini Incrociati, the IV National Theatre in Prison Festival, with its performances, events, exhibitions, video festivals, workshops and an important Conference that gathered representatives from the main institutions for prison and theatre.
A historical agreement has been settled at the DAMS-Roma Tre University between the Department of Prison Administration of the Ministry of Justice, the Community and Juvenile Justice Department, the Roma Tre University and the National Coordination Committee for Theatre in Prison, where they have signed the Application Appendix of the Memorandum of Understanding on Theatre and Prison.
The Festival is part of Destini Incrociati, the National Theatre in Prison Project, and was promoted by the Performing Arts General Department of the Ministry of Heritage, Culture and Tourism MIBACT under article 43, Promotion and Social Inclusion Projects. It has been promoted by a network of 22 associations from the National Coordination Committee for Theatre in Prison and led by the Aenigma Theatre Association. DESTINI INCROCIATI has been organised with the collaboration of the Department of Philosophy, Communication and Performing Arts of the Roma Tre University, the Palladium Foundation, the Department of Prison Administration of the Ministry of Justice and the Community and Juvenile Justice Department, with the participation of the National Guarantor for the Rights of prisoners and persons deprived of personal liberty and of the Guarantor of the Rights of prisoners of the Regional Committee of Latium, as well as with the support of the Cultural Development Department of the Municipality of Rome. The project began in 2012 in Florence and it further developed thanks to the MIBACT contribution in Pesaro in 2015, in Genoa in 2016 and finally in Rome in 2017.
The fourth edition of the Festival was held in the Italian Capital from the 15th to 17th of November 2017 with a series of events planned by the Artistic Committee: Vito Minoia, Valentina Venturini, Ivana Conte, Valeria Ottolenghi and Gianfranco Pedullà. The performances took place both at the Palladium Theatre, which also hosted the Prigionie (in)visibili exhibition on Samuel Beckett’s theatre by the Japanese director Yosuke Taki, and at the women’s unit of Rebibbia Prison. The workshops were hosted by the Moby Dick Library, the cultural hub for the Latium Region directed by Luigi De Chirico, which also hosted some editorial presentations with the participation of Giulio Baffi, the president of the National Association of Theatre Critics, as well as the conference Theatre and Prison, a terminological contradiction by Franco Ruffini, a theatre historian and researcher. The video sessions were held at the DAMS-Roma Tre University, which also hosted the conference From the States general to prison reform, launched by the Rector Luca Pietromarchi.
Perspectives for Theatre in Prison saw the participation of Mauro Palma, the National Guarantor for the Rights of prisoners and persons deprived of personal liberty and coordinator of the 9th committee for “Education, culture, sport” of the States General for penalty Enforcement, Stefano Anastasia, the Guarantor of the Rights of persons deprived of personal liberty of the Regional Committee of Latium, Paolo d’Angelo representing the National University Council, Onofrio Cutaia, the General Director for Performing Arts of the Ministry of Heritage, Culture and Tourism, the directors Fabio Cavalli and Gianfranco Pedullà, the critic Gianfranco Capitta and Valentina Venturini, professor of theatre history at the Roma Tre University and moderator of the conference. The words of Onofrio Cutaia have been greatly appreciated. He confirmed Mibact’s interest for social projects in general and for theatre activities in prisons in particular. Gianfranco Pedullà focused on the value of the projects of the National Coordination Committee for Theatre in Prison rather than on its institutional role. Over the last 10 years, the latter has promoted a series of ‘best practices’ as well as a virtuous circuit and a sustainable system. The president of the CNTiC, Vito Minoia, provided the relevant figures. He focused again on the invaluable role prison theatre has for society as it reduces recidivism (from 65% down to 6%) among the inmates that participate in theatre activities. These figures demonstrate that Italy is internationally at the forefront on a socio-cultural level. This is demonstrated by the interest Minoia raised when he reported on prison theatre in front of the representatives of 70 nations participating in the 35th world Conference of ITI-UNESCO (International Theatre Institute) held in Segovia (Spain) last July.
The DAMS of the Roma Tre University hosted an historical event for this field. The Memorandum of Understanding on Theatre and Prison has been signed by Paolo D’Angelo of Roma Tre University, by Santi Consolo, the Head of the Department of Prison Administration, by Gemma Tuccillo, the Head of the Department for Community and Juvenile Justice and by Vito Minoia, the president of the National Coordination Committee for Theatre in Prison. During this formal event, the participation of the recently established Department for Community and Juvenile Justice has provided practical indications for promoting joint action.
The performances offered at the Palladium Theatre were: Sorveglianza Speciale (Special Surveillance), performed by SineNomine, the theatre company from the Spoleto Prison, and directed by Giorgio Flamini; L’infanzia di alta sicurezza (High security childhood), performed by the TeatroIncontro theatre company of the women’s prison of Vigevano and directed by Mimmo Sorrentino; Fortezza (Fortress), performed by the AdDentro theatre company of the Civitavecchia prison and directed by Ludovica Andò; the concert Fogli Volanti (Flying Paper) by Giovanna Marini with the choir Inni e Canti di Lotta della Scuola Popolare di Musica di Testaccio directed by Sandra Cotronei; Studio per un finale (Studying the ending), performed by the Metropopolare theatre company of the Prato Prison and directed by Livia Gionfrida and La favola bella (The beautiful tale) performed by the Voci Erranti theatre company of the Saluzzo Prison and directed by Grazia Isoardi. The women’s prison of Rebibbia staged Amleta, performed by Le donne del Muro Alto theatre company and directed by Francesca Tricarico.
The video festival was held at DAMS and presented twenty short films divided in three sections documenting the work done all over Italy. The artistic committee, with the coordination of Vito Minoia, selected the videos.
The programme included two workshops: a Pre-performance workshop with the coordination and direction of Ivana Conte together with Paolo Gaspari and Loredana Perissinotto, with the participation of AGITA-National Association for the Research and Promotion of Theatre in Schools and Society, which were also attended by 40 young students of the Giordano Bruno secondary school of Rome; a Theatre Critics Workshop, with the coordination of the critic Vittoria Ottolenghi together with Vito Minoia and the theatre historian Valentina Venturini. This workshop has been included in the training activities of the university students of DAMS, Department of Philosophy, Communication and Performing Arts of the Roma Tre University, in collaboration with the National Association of Theatre Critics and the Theatre of Rome.
With this year’s edition in Rome, the Destini Incrociati three-year project has come to an end with satisfying results for its promoters and for the subjects and institutions involved. It will undoubtedly pave the way for developing a different attitude towards future prison theatre.
The project will be thoroughly documented with videos and pictures and in the Journals Catarsi-Teatri delle diversità and CERCARE-carcere anagramma di (www.edizioninuovecatarsi.org).
In the photo (left to right): Vito Minoia, Valentina Venturini, Santi Consolo, Gemma Tuccillo (ph F. Galli)