The space

IL FUNARO: the new home of Studio Blu Theatre

 

 

Our story, which we invite you to share with others, tells of a journey started over ten years ago. It is the story of our passion for the theatre and a coming together of similar minded individuals all working toward the same goal: the establishment of a new home for our theatre company, Teatro Studio Blu

 

For over a year we searched for a space suited to our activities. Finding nothing that seemed quite right, we settled in a former dance school. And it was there, from 2003 to 2009, that we held our workshops (nine a year), intensive seminars and acting courses… all taking place in a single room, thanks to some very creative scheduling. And everything went as well as could be.

 

Yet right under our noses, just a few hundred yards from our cramped studio, sat the building that would later become il Funaro. It was a run-down but historic building hosting qualified arts and crafts workers, used lately as a wood-working shop and partly as a warehouse.

The building was laid out along the townwall in a typical warehouse fashion. There were cracked walls, old wooden doors, dirty windows protected with rusted iron bars revealing a gloomy interior and a weathered gate leading to a deserted courtyard.

 

It is as if it has always been there waiting for us, but we only noticed it and considered its potential when a “for sale” sign suddenly appeared on it. Our dream of a spacious new headquarters took its first step with our signature on the closing contract.

We immediately proposed to the architect Gianluca Mora and to the Studio Associato Giandebiaggi e Mora in Parma to handle the restauration project .

 

Our fortuitous meeting with Andres Neumann, well known international theatre producer and promoter, allowed us to have influential personalities view our new project .

As a result, Enrique Vargas, founder of the Teatro de los Sentidos based in Barcelona, and Jean-Guy Lecat a close collaborator of Peter Brook for many years, could participate in the development of our endavour.

 

In november 2005, before the beginning of the works on the structure, we held a series of creative workshops with Enrique Vargas designed to explore the possibilities of the venue.

The workshops focused on the building’s past and explored ways to transform the space into our vision of a modern Cultural Center. We did historical research on the structure, listened to memories of the place from people in the neighborhood, we photographed all the details and objects found within the building. Only after we had listened closely to the soul that had taken home under this roof, we were free to examine what our “Funaro” could become.

 

The basic idea that emerged from the workshops was the concept of “preservation”, the desire to maintain il Funaro almost as we found it, changing as little as possible, respecting its history, letting their old walls speak. In other words: adapting ourselves to the place and not vice versa, as usually happens in most restructuring projects of this kind.

 

We then invited Jean-Guy Lecat, a collaborator of Peter Brook, to have his input. Lecat’s thirty years experience of working with Brook opened yet another perspective: if we respect the history of the building, how can we suit it to our needs as a modern working Theatre and Cultural Center with all of the compromises that entails?

 

To our surprise, we found ourselves facing a concept that was the opposite, in a sense, to what emerged from our work with Vargas. Both concepts were valid and useful, it was now our task to find the right balance between “poetry” and practicality. Through extensive meetings and revised plans, architect Gianluca Mora, was able to reach a happy balance.

 

And so in September 2009, il Funaro Centro Culturale¬†was born, a building complex of 900 square meters comprising a theatre, two rehearsal rooms, a cafeteria, a library / archive centre, an apartment for guests, centre’s offices, as well as an out door courtyard for related activities.

 

We believe that il Funaro is the result of valuable experiences we have had the chance to live with these great personalities. We sincerely believe that il Funaro could have only come about by our working closely together with these great men of the arts. Their wisdom and willingness was the key in creating and defining our new home.