The essay focuses on Dioniso, an Italian theatre group, reconstructing its extreme but not unique path from the neo-avantgarde to the political engagement between the ‘60s and the ‘70s: starting from its participatory projects within the context of the ‘cantine romane’, very important underground spaces that have changed the – not even theatrical – history; then moving to the subsequent, lesser-known activities in the protest movements in Milan and Sardinia between 1969 and 1970; and finally arriving at questioning the clear separation between these two phases and modes, while in the background the revolution of 1968 transcends into the riots of 1977, transmitting itself to the successive waves of artistic and political innovation. The paper is supported not only by traditional critical sources, but also by oral witnesses and by unusual documentation such as the reports produced at the time by the police, considering other potentially performative objects of study (mural paintings above all). The aim, beyond the reconstruction of the history of the group led by Gian Carlo Celli, is to share some historiographical and methodological questions that are arising within the process of research, which can be significant for the whole period and the related phenomena: for example, concerning the reformulation of the ‘theatre’ category between the 1960s and 1970s; the reshaping of the role and figure of actors; the usual critical disjunction between artistic and political activities; the type of sources and documents that can be used in such contexts, as well as the motivations, implications and effects of historical-critical readings, including their subsequent legacies in the field of theatre history.


Roberta Ferraresi è Professoressa Associata in Discipline dello spettacolo presso il Dipartimento di Lettere, Lingue e Beni culturali dell’Università di Cagliari. È membro del Comitato editoriale di «Mimesis» e del Comitato scientifico dell’omonima collana pubblicata dai tipi di Accademia.  Ha insegnato presso le Università Sapienza di Roma, Urbino e Bologna, dove ha svolto attività di ricerca presso il Dipartimento delle Arti dal 2010 al 2020.  È autrice di numerosi saggi ed ha pubblicato La rifondazione degli studi teatrali in Italia dagli anni Sessanta al 1985 (Accademia University Press, 2019) e Leo De Berardinis fra seconda e terza vita. «La strage dei colpevoli». Roma, 1982 (Bonanno, 2019). All’attività accademica affianca da sempre l’operatività nel sistema spettacolo, in campo critico e politico-culturale.


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