The cycles of classical plays in Siracusa have their essence forged by the words of the great playwrights of the past, and by the faces, voices, and gestures of artists who have left their mark on history, not just the theatre. The Greek theatre has seen artistes like Annibale Ninchi, Elena Zareschi, Vittorio Gassman, Valeria Moriconi, Salvo Randone, Glauco Mauri, Elisabetta Pozzi, Lucilla Morlacchi, Giorgio Albertazzi, Ugo Pagliai e Piera Degli Esposti; directors of the calibre of Irene Papas, Krzysztof Zanussi, Mario Martone, Orazio Costa, Antonio Calenda, Luca Ronconi, Peter Stein; and translators and ‘re-writers’, scholars and artists like Pier Paolo Pasolini, Edoardo Sanguineti, Salvatore Quasimodo, Vincenzo Consolo, Dario Del Corno, Guido Paduano, Maria Grazia Ciani, Umberto Albini e Giovanni Cerri.
The art of the theatre and the emotions offered every year by the classical plays “in the most important classical theatre in Europe” are made possible by more than 400 people who are the backbone of the INDA; the craftsmen who make the scenery and costumes in the workshops of the INDA and who look after the theatre every year.
THE EYES OF THE YOUNG
The INDA is over 100 years old but it has a particular interest in young people, thanks to the Academy of ancient drama that trains children and students from 5 years up, and to the International Festival of classical theatre for young people at Palazzolo Acreide, that hosts thousands of students from all over the world every year on the steps of the Greek theatre of Akrai for a festival of youthful ideas and enthusiasm.
A timeless festival in a unique theatre in which the show has been going on for over a hundred years: an event to make Siracusa the focus for bringing ancient drama back to life and giving it continually new points of view: this was the brainchild of Count Mario Tommaso Gargallo who in 1913 founded the INDA, the National Institute of Ancient Drama. A meeting of aristocrats and wealthy people invited by the local nobleman gave rise to a gamble that on the 16th of April, 2,400 years after the Polis, saw ancient drama return to the Greek theatre of Siracusa. Since then it has seen the best actors on the national and international scene performing in front of thousands of spectators from May to July. Agamemnon by Aeschylus was the first work to be staged with the artistic direction, translation and music by Ettore Romagnoli, stage-design by Duilio Cambellotti and costumes by Bruno Puozzo. Although the play by Aeschylus was the first step, the trail blazed by the INDA over a century has included mythical figures like Medea, Oedipus and Antigone, and also saw the introduction of comedy in 1927 with The Clouds by Aristophanes.
CUSTODIANS OF MEMORY;
PROMOTERS OF CULTURE
While the classical plays in the Greek theatre of Siracusa are reinvented every year, the memory of the event that accompanies thousands of spectators from all over the world is preserved in the archives of the INDA. The archive was declared of particular historical importance and interest in Decree n°7/2013 of the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activites and contains a vast collection of papers, images, sketches and other material. In Palazzo Greco, the historic seat of the INDA, you can consult its patrimony, whether documents, books or art. This is an important resource for the study of the history of theatrical production in open-air theatre, the great themes of the classical tradition, and the basis for a dialogue to begin to reflect on the inheritance of the ancient world in our contemporary one. The activity of the INDA which was previously a public institution and became a Foundation in 1998, isn’t limited simply to the classical plays at the Greek theatre of Siracusa, the International Festival of classical theatre for young people at Palazzolo Acreide and the Academy for ancient drama, but also extends to an intense activity of events, conferences and debates all over Italy. Since 1931, it has published the periodical “Dioniso”, a journal of studies on ancient drama, today directed by Guido Paduano. Linked to the scientific approach of the periodical is the publication of the “Quaderni di Dioniso”, containing the acts of the conferences organised by the INDA Foundation and monographs on themes concerned with classical theatre and its rebirth in the modern age.