Inhabiting the world poetically

The challenge of a theatre as a practise of knowledge and relationship.
Perfecting a practise of vision, in which the actor’s body and gesture, the sound of the spoken word take place poetically, bringing the viewers’ gaze into themselves. The constant quest for “other” places to set the scene, in the certainty that never so much as in this case has the theatre been a way of both investigating and of revealing the genius loci, by incessantly establishing and re-establishing communities.
A theatre company formed in Lecce in 1981, Astràgali Teatro has, since its birth, combined production, training, and theatrical experimentation, while broadening its sphere of action over time with a segment specifically oriented towards designing and producing services for the theatre and culture.

In a constant relationship with a network of international bodies in the area of the performing arts, cooperation, and intercultural dialogue, Astràgali Teatro has for years been a presence in the Mediterranean and the Near East, with theatre production and cultural cooperation projects.
In this path, the relationship with the “language of others” has become an essential, bedrock part of its artistic experimentation – an element that has been the mark of its productions in recent years.
From Ali- questo corpo questo fuoco a La Betissa, Nos-l’architettura degli amanti, Q Il cantico dei cantici per lingua madre, Le vie dei canti, Antigone- anatomia delle resistenza dell’amore, Doni di guerra, Persae, and Lysistrata- Primo studio sull’oscenità del potere, to the more recent Divenire animale, Veli, and Metamorfosi, the work on the shows has been both a constant investigation of the present and a search for the origins of theatre, considered a bottomless reservoir of images and suggestions.
Through its investigation of tragedy and ancient comedy, Astràgali Teatro has brought to centre stage crucial questions connected with conflicts, violence, migrations, and the political boundaries that forcibly divide peoples and cultures.

It is a philosophy that has at the same time been the mark of Astràgali Teatro’s artistic residence in Lecce’s Teatro Paisiello, with a project embarked on in 2010 and still in progress.

Albania, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Cyprus, Turkey, Tunisia, Brazil. Doing theatre in places of conflict has been characteristic of most of the international projects and productions in recent years – efforts that have brought Astràgali to about 30 countries around the world. Supported by the European Union, these efforts have been marked by the need to comprehend – in aesthetic practise – the relationship between tradition and contemporaneity: Il corpo dell’arte; Teatri di guerra – pratiche di pace; War gifts; Persae; Le rotte di Ulisse – per una critica della violenza; Front/frontier- dynamics of inclusion of the other; Roads and desires-theatre overcomes conflict; H.O.S.T. – Hospitality, Otherness, Society, Theatre; Stories of stars and acrobats; Walls- Separate Worlds; Theatrum Mundi.


The cultural association Abusuan was created in Bari in 1998, with the aim of giving rise to a new society and language capable of expressing, constructing, and giving significance to new and different forms of coexistence and inter-ethnicity.
It is an intercultural centre, a meeting place between cultures and traditions of different countries, and a cultural enterprise.

Producing shows, festivals, concerts, literary and film encounters, and teaching and training activities, Abusuan has acquired a strong central importance on Puglia’s cultural landscape. It has done so by promoting the intercultural encounter with the peoples of the Mediterranean, and by dealing – through culture, music, cinema, and the visual arts – with the issues of conflict, migration, human rights, and plural cultures, in a perspective of mutual recognition and peace.
Abusuan has thus always moved in two directions: on the one hand, there is its work in the area of knowledge and information, through the promotion of cultures in the form of inter-ethnic music, cinema, and theatre festivals; on the other hand, there is its commitment to the area of training, school, and the university, through the organization of refresher courses for teachers and cultural operators, school education and awareness-raising activities, and mass media analysis and criticism workshops.

The Association has to its credit the production and organization of 10 editions of the international festival Bari in Jazz, 23 editions of Festival di Cinema Africano e dei Paesi della diaspora nera BALAFON, 6 editions of Tre volte Dio, a dialogue among three monotheistic religions, and 9 editions of Festa dei Popoli organized with the Combonian Missionaries. Overall, more than 650 artists were involved, along with 300 musical productions and performances, and numerous institutional activities in which ABUSUAN collaborated actively with the leading local institutions (police headquarters, Prefecture, Municipality of Bari, the Province, the Region of Puglia) on advocating for, welcoming, and integrating migrants in Puglia.

Over the years, Abusuan has gradually broadened its horizon of cultural output towards other scenic forms, such as theatre for example (included in Balafon’s reviews starting from 1995 and Soul Makossa_Festival interetnico di musica e teatro) and dance. Examples include Bala-Teatro: L’Arte ancestrale della parola, staged by Congrès de Griots à Kankan (Balafon review, 1996); Nessuno può coprire l’ombra, an Albe Ravenna Teatro production with an ensemble of Senegalese actors, its text a collaborative effort by Marco Martinelli and SaidouMoussaBa (a Senegalese writer); Cantà by Enzo Moscato, written, directed, and conceived for the stage by Moscato himself, musical direction and design by Pasquale Scialò; Fiesta en Granada, the history of flamenco recounted in poetry, dance, and song; Voce dei Canti, with Lucilla Morlacchi, a selected itinerary between Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven according to Dante Alighieri; Soffio di donna. Percorsi nella poesia al femminile, with Piera degli Esposti; and World Jazz Project, Afrique, Jazz et Malice- Progetto speciale, an homage to Francis Bebey Beyond.
Bala-Danza has seen the significant presence of the National Ballet of Ivory Coast with Marahouet at Balafon 1995; the Group Awa from Sangha (Mali) with Dogon artists; and Lamia Safiedine & Ensemble Assil – music and traditional dances from the Maghreb.


Headquartered in Lecce, ITI Italia is the Italian Centre of International Theatre Institute (ITI) UNESCO. It belongs to the Executive Committee of ITI UNESCO, and is coordinator of Europe’s ITI centres. It presides over the ITI International Committee “Theatre and Conflict.”

Founded in 1948 by UNESCO in Paris, the International Theatre Institute (ITI) is the largest and most important worldwide organization for the performing arts, created with the aim of promotion and of intercultural dialogue. The network extends to more than 100 countries.

The ITI fosters the development of practises of exchange between artists and theatre institutions on an international level, in order to consolidate processes of knowledge and interaction between cultural operators. Internationalization of the theatrical arts and international partnerships are the key words. The ITI supports and promotes the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. It supports activities with artistic, educational, and humanitarian objectives in conflict zones and in developing regions, in order to foster peace and mutual understanding. The most well-known initiatives promoted by the ITI include World Theatre Day (27 March), International Dance Day (29 April), and the Theatre of Nations. Over the years, the message of World Theatre Day has been crafted by Jean Cocteau, Arthur Miller, Luchino Visconti, Eugène Ionesco, Wole Soyinka, Maurice Béjart, Peter Brook, Ariane Mnouchkine, Dario Fo, and Anatoly Vasiliev.

Founded in 2012, ITI Italia’s partners include: Teatro Vascello (Roma), Accademia Amiata Mutamenti (Grosseto), La Mama Umbria International (Spoleto), Teatro Aenigma (Pesaro), Astràgali Teatro- Eufonia società cooperativa (Lecce),

along with sociologists, philosophers experts in management and cultural communication.
The Italian Centre’s objectives include: internationalizing the stage and building international partnerships for research, exchange, and co-production projects, aimed at fostering intercultural dialogue and peace, with work highly oriented towards relationship and exchange with the global network of National Centres.

ITI Italia is part of the Working Table promoted by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR), aimed at defining strategies and practises to promote theatre, music, and dance in Italian schools. Along with MIUR and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MIBACT), it promotes the “Scrivere il Teatro” theatrical writing competition, open to all Italian schools at every level.
In Italy, it organizes the activities for World Theatre Day (27 March) and International Dance Day (29 April), coordinating all the activities carried out on the occasion of these celebrations, and is responsible for the Italian translation of the messages, and their dissemination. The initiatives spearheaded by the Centre include Giornata Nazionale di Teatro in Carcere (national day of theatre in prison), organized by Associazione Aenigma with support from the Ministry of Justice, held throughout Italy to coincide with World Theatre Day.