HISTORY

By now 45 years ago, a cultural initiative was born in the Terre di Pedemonte that would prove fundamental for the artistic scene of the Canton Ticino, and whose fame quickly surpassed local borders.

It was 1971 when “Ascona’s clown” Dimitri founded the theatre in Verscio, which still bears his name today. In 1974 a School specializing in Movement Theatre was added to the latter, founded alongside his wife Gunda and the Czech actor and pedagogue Richard Weber. The idea of the founders was to bring together, in a new way, different traditions of theatre and circus art, from commedia dell’ arte to the comic acts of the clown, from pantomime to dance… This approach responded to a new trend that began in the 1960s and aimed at overcoming the dichotomy between the so-called prose theatre and movement theatre, which until then had prevailed.

The talent, imagination and tenacity of the clown Dimitri and his collaborators allowed to give life to a place where both artistic maturation and personal growth are still cared for today – a unique experience for artists, students, and spectators.

 

 

This very year, with the recent death of Gunda Dimitri, all the founders of the Accademia Dimitri have now left us. However, the gratitude we feel towards them remains inextinguishable, for all that they have been able to conceive, build and develop during their lifetime.

 

To this day, the Accademia Dimitri has not lost the avant-garde and stimulating character that the founders had conveyed to it; in fact, it remains an environment that fosters lively confrontations and exchanges, attentive to the expansion and evolution of its formative offer as well as the development of numerous applied research projects. The theatrical tradition therefore lives alongside innovative contemporary practices, always in the conviction that the strength of the theatre lies in its immediacy and its ability to cancel any distance, creating a real communion between actor and spectator, between stage and audience.

1975

It was 1971 when the “Ascona clown” Dimitri founded the theatre in Verscio that still bears his name. In 1974 a School specialising in Movement Theatre was added to the latter, founded alongside by his wife Gunda and the Czech actor and pedagogue Richard Weber. The idea of the founders was to bring together in a new way different traditions of theatre and circus art, from commedia dell’arte to the comic numbers of the clown, from pantomime to dance… This approach responded to a new trend that began in the Sixties and aimed at overcoming the dichotomy between the so-called theatre of prose and theatre of movement, which until then had prevailed.

The talent, imagination and tenacity of the clown Dimitri and his collaborators allowed to give life to a place where both artistic maturation and personal growth – a unique experience for artists, students and spectators alike – are still maintained today.

2006

31 years later, in 2006, the Scuola Teatro Dimitri is recognized as a University School affiliated to the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI). In addition to the teaching offer of a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, in 2008 a Master of Arts in Theatre was added; in 2010 the establishment of a Research Department was made official and from 2014 the first course in Advanced Studies was implemented, while in 2015 the School changed its name, becoming the Accademia Dimitri.

In 2018 the first book on the Academy’s pedagogy Richard Weber “My 40 Years in Verscio” was being published, from which the following passage is taken:

  • “… talent and study often influence each other during the working process. Indeed, they inspire each other. For those who want to learn the profession of the actor, it is necessary to possess a particular talent, the ability to enter a theatrical reality, to adapt not only to the situation but also to the character one has to play, otherwise I don’t think it is possible to be an actor. On the other hand, in order to be able to transform oneself in a conscious way, I am convinced that a study is necessary. Inspiration and spontaneity alone are not enough, because they do not give you the confidence on how to create the form and interpretation you want. In other words, an actor must know what he is doing, he must be master of his body and his thoughts. It is not possible to do otherwise”.

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