Commedia dell’Arte

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Commedia dell’Arte

Commedia dell’Arte: A Travelling Theatre Across Time and Place

Explore stories of how the genre of theatre known as Commedia dell’Arte migrated from 16th century Italy to 21st century Adelaide. Follow the journey from its emergence in Italy, its adaptation in Britain, to some performances created here in our state.

Learn about the core characteristics of Commedia dell’Arte that define the genre and allow it to be adapted over time and place. The core characteristics in use from 1560 to 1730 – masks, archetypes or stock characters, improvisation, and multilingualism – define the genre and have allowed it to be adapted to suit new audiences for over five centuries.

The exhibition will showcase items from the collection of the Festival Centre and the private collection of Dr Corinna Di Niro. Traditional and contemporary Commedia dell’Arte masks will be on display as well as costumes, performance props and ephemera.

Photographs curtesy of Aia Burke Photography

About the Author

Dr Corinna Di Niro

Dr Corinna Di Niro is an international performer, director, teacher, author and researcher of Commedia dell’Arte. She is considered Australia’s leading expert in the genre. Corinna trained in Commedia in Italy in 2004 and holds a PhD in Commedia for a contemporary Australian context. She has published widely in the field including her most recent work as lead editor and contributing author for the text, Commedia dell’Arte for the 21st Century: Practice and Performance in the Asia-Pacific (Routledge 2022).  This is the first book that discusses the evolution of Commedia dell’Arte in the Asia-Pacific where it has emerged as a variety of hybrids and praxes, all in some way faithful to the recreated European genre.

Corinna’s mission is to return Commedia as the key training tool for performance studies in TAFE and tertiary institutions across Australia. She is an invited guest lecturer of Commedia at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, Sydney, NSW. Through her company, Stage Secrets, she teaches Commedia both nationally and internationally to various schools, universities and theatre groups showcasing the relevance and importance of this genre in a contemporary time and place.

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