Pathological Theater's Dario D'Ambrosi Honored with Robert F. Kennedy Award in Florence
On November 6, 2017 Dario D'Ambrosi, founder and president of the Pathological Theater Association, received the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Italia Award at a gala ceremony attended by dignitaries at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, presented the award.
D'Ambrosi was recognized for his work in founding "The Integrated Theatre of the Emotions," an accredited college program in theater for students with mental and physical disabilities, which he developed in collaboration with the University of Rome "Tor Vergata" and MIUR (the Italian Ministry of University and Research).
The Robert F. Kennedy for Human Rights is committed to the defense of human rights and its meeting in Florence presented the foundation's 50th Anniversary initiatives, to be undertaken in 2018. Kerry Kennedy, a human rights activist and lawyer, is President of the organization.
The other awardees at this ceremony were Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence, and Staffan De Mistura, United Nations special envoy for the Syria crisis.
Mr. D'Ambrosi, one of Italy's most distinguished theater artists, has made a career of plays and films that are with and about people with psychiatric disabilities, creating productions that portray their unique perspective on life. He has written, "In many countries these people are still confined to cage beds or straightjackets. We offer them a university course, The Integrated Theatre of the Emotions. We are already the Future." At the ceremony, D'Ambrosi said: "When a person with a disability feels well, thousands other people are well too: parents, relatives, neighbors, the town, the entire country. That is why I can say with certainty that in Italy, in Rome, we have initiated a true revolution in the field of disabilities."
From November 30 to December 9, 2017 New York's La MaMa Theater, 66 East 4th Street, Manhattan, will present "Follies in Titus," devised and directed by Dario D'Ambrosi. In this new work, Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus" is re-told by patients of a psychiatric hospital. The piece will be performed by actors from The Integrated Theatre of the Emotions. For more information, visit www.jsnyc.com/season/dario_titus.htm.
On December 4, 2017 at 6:30 PM at the United Nations Headquarters in New York (ECOSOS Chamber), to celebrate the International Day of People with Disabilities, Dario D'Ambrosi will offer a presentation on The Integrated Theatre of the Emotions together with a performance of his award-winning adaptation of Euripides' "Medea," in which a chorus of 14 actors with differing abilities from The Integrated Theatre of the Emotions perform in Attic Greek. This production, which premiered at La MaMa, was presented in 2012 at Wilton's Music Hall in London and won the Wilton Prize 2012/13 as the best show of the season. Learn more at www.jsnyc.com/season/ECOSOS.htm.
The Integrated Theatre of the Emotions now serves more than 60 students each year. Its mission is to stimulate the students' creative freedom by giving them theoretical and practical means to express themselves on the stage. Its curriculum (and its final project at the end of the academic year) isn't so much a form of therapy as it is a chance for students to be and feel themselves as principal actors, to manifest themselves artistically and emotionally, and to socialize and form important life skills.
The program includes a compendium of theater-related courses: acting, playwriting, directing, set design, costume design, music therapy, singing and dance. Fifteen teaching artists instruct sixty students, including people of all ages who are schizophrenic, catatonic, manic depressive, autistic, and born with Down Syndrome. The students acquire tools to help them approach the professional world and recover an often denied dignity. Many have broken through their isolation, found self-knowledge and made themselves understood through theater.
Pictured: Kerry Kennedy, Dario D'Ambrosi, Staffan De Mistura. Photo by Teatro Patologico.