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Monday, March 5, 2018

Verona's Fondazione Aida Introducing Italian Maestros to a New Generation

Pasolini on the set of his 1961 film Accattone in the
Gordiani zone of Rome

To mark the 96th anniversary of Pier Paolo Pasolini's birth, we're revisiting our interview with members of Fondazione Aida, an organization bridging Italy with the world and educating new generations about the maestros of Italian cinema and beyond. 

Based in Verona, Italy, home of Romeo and Juliet, Fondazione at introduces the great Italian authors and illustrators to youngsters in a way that is both entertaining and informative. Aida`s hands-on approach directly involves children by bringing theatre productions right into schools. The members of Aida also reach beyond the borders of Italy and take their productions on the road.

Members of Aida participated in a New York City tribute to Pier Paolo Pasolini by bringing their production of Trash to the Big Apple. I sat down with Roberto Terribile, one of the foundation’s artistic directors and Cecilia Cinelli, the former head of international relations. They told me what Fondazione Aida is all about at how its homage to the great Pasolini keeps his spirit alive and his work relevant.

What is the mission of Fondazione Aida?
Our foundation is a professional theatre company for young audiences. It's been around for more than 20 years. Its mission is to promote, among the new generation, the classic writers and masters of Italy, to keep alive the importance of the masters' personalities and work. They weren't just filmmakers or poets, but intellectuals, complete artists.

Tell me about Trash.
Every year, we have at least five or six new productions. A performance of Trash was orginally performed in Italy a couple of years ago when we organized an exhibition dedicated to Pasolini. There was a theatre performance that was presented to university students but it was just with one actor. So this performance in New York is not only with English text, but there are two actors; Rhonda Moore, who is an American actress and Lorenzo Bassotto, an Italian actor and director. 

Where did the name, Trash, come from?
The performance is made up of several poems by Pasolini. The poems were written about the lives of young people living in the rough suburbs of the big cities. He had a very special eye for the most humble people. He compared those neighborhoods to trash because of the violence and poverty that was taking place. It wasn't just a chronicle that he made of society. His way was always poetic with his gentle eye towards these poor people. So this performance highlighted the way he expressed what he saw.

How do children find out about your foundation?
Our headquarters is in Verona. We are known for our weekly performances, which students attend and on Sunday afternoons. We have a special family day in which students come with their families. We organize workshops and we tour Italy, performing at schools, theatres and festivals. Our company has also toured Mexico and Guatemala, participating in the Festival International Cervantino. We travel all over the world and have done many productions in the United States with different authors and illustrators.

Is your foundation open to American children?
Yes, we are always looking for co-productions where we can work with American actors and dancers like we're doing with this Trash performance. So, we're very open to meeting people, meeting actors. 

Can you tell me about other interesting projects?
Well, we're working on many projects, but one of our most important is an exhibition on Gianni Rodari, a famous children's author in Italy. He's also very well known all over the world. He died in 1980. He just loved children and had a great relationship with them. He knew how to relate to them. The exhibition consists of videos of him interacting with children and a performance of one of his novels, Grammatica della Fantasia (The Fantasy of Grammar).  

For more information about Fondazione Aida, visit them online at

- Jeannine Guilyard

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