Prison Outreach Project
Case Circondariali is a pilot community arts project aimed at addressing the problems of maladjustment, deviance and crime. Initiated by CSS Teatro stabile di innovazione del FVG, it is just one example of the organization’s 20 year commitment to serving the community and playing an active role in combating the problems associated with social exclusion and discontent.
The multifaceted approach of Css‘s initiatives in this area, combines education, socialization, entertainment, support and experimentation although the boundaries between these different approaches inevitably become blurred and tend towards integration. It is thanks to CSS’s commitment to serving the community that led to the implementation of a pilot educational and socialization project targeted at the region’s prison population. Implemented with the support of the Friuli Venzia Giulia Regional Council, acting on its obligations under article 22 subsection IV of Regional Directive no. 33 of 19 May 1988, the project continued, with the agreement of the Regional Council’s Social Services Department, to be adopted on a regional scale until 1995 as part of an integrated plan which involved all five of the region’s prisons and detention centres. Launched by CSS in the region’s Udine prison in 1986, the project operated in conjunction with existing programme initiatives established by the prison management and staff. Following its success in Udine, the project was subsequently piloted in the region’s other prisons six years later with the involvement of other regional cooperatives. The detention centre of Trieste joined the project in 1992, Tolmezzo prison in 1993, the detention centre of Gorizia in 1994 and finally that of Pordenone in 1995. Since December 1998 CSS has been involved in a number of initiatives and events in the detention centres and prisons of Udine, Tolmezzo and Pordenone, while two cooperatives from Trieste - Accademia della Follia and Cooperativa 55 - now undertake work in the detention centres of Gorizia and Trieste. During its ten years of working in the field, an undertaking which has required considerable flexibility in what have often been complex circumstances, CSS has constantly sought to enrich its work with new proposals for prison projects, new experiences, new methods and new strategies. What is more, CSS has, over the past few years, been able to guarantee a constant presence of artists, professional experts and assistants in the three prisons and in addition to providing a rich variety of creative workshops, has continued to put on theatrical shows, concerts and concert-workshops for detainees. Theatre and music artists who have contributed to CSS’s prison work include: Fabrizio De Andrè, Alessandro Bergonzoni, Paolo Rossi, Claudio Bisio, David Riondino, Elio De Capitani, Alessandro Marinuzzi, Anna Meacci, Daniele Trambusti, Claudio Madia, as well as members of la Banda Osiris, the Teatro dell'Elfo of Milan and the Teatro dell'Archivolto of Genova. As for CSS’s own artists and those collaborating with them, there are the actors Rita Maffei and Fabiano Fantini, members of Laboratorio d'Arte Akademeia, and musicians such as U.T. Gandhi, Daniele D'Agaro, Glauco Venier, Andrea Del Favero and Giulio Venier. All those involved have continued to play an ongoing and active role in organizing and undertaking the project’s workshops, which have led to the establishment of new and important relationship between detainees, entertainers, educators and the prison management. To document CSS’s work over the period, raise public awareness of life inside prisons and enhance the educational value of the workshops, two CD’s have been produced: Dentro la musica / Inside the Music in 1998 and La musica dentro / The Music Inside in 1999, both recorded at the conclusion of the percussion workshops conducted by U.T. Gandhi. In addition, in 1998, as part of the theatre series x il teatro, edited by CSS, a new work was published entitled Dentro il teatro, il teatro dentro / Inside the theatre, The Theatre inside. This collection of radio dramas, theatre plays and poems represented a selection of the work written by detainees attending the theatre workshops run by the Accademia della Follia in the detention centres of Trieste and Gorizia. In the spring of 1999, the Pordenone detention centre held an exhibition of paintings and sketches produced by detainees attending the painting workshop run by Raffaella Anzolin and Milothes Komadina of the Laboratorio d'Arte Akademeia. In 2000, a video production was made of La storia di Simone che salvò due regine in un solo inverno / The Story of Simon who Saved two Queens in a Single Winter a play written by detainees from Udine prison and staged at the town’s Theatre Zanon on 1 April of the same year.