Être, a project for resident theaters

Inspired by the example of other European countries and other Italian regions, this project was designed to ‘give a home’ to Lombardy’s emergent companies specializing in theater production, with special emphasis on the new languages of contemporary theater.

Making room for theater production

Être leverages the model of theaters in residence, an innovative way to give stable residence to  theatre companies in different manners and forms. Being recommended in a Ministry regulation, the most widespread model in our country is a multi-year agreement between a company and a municipal government or a civic theater. Under this type of agreement, the local administration or other organization that owns the theater lets the theatre space, entirely or partly, to a company at advantageous terms and provides endowment funds. In turn, the tenant company engages in a number of activities, including theater production, thus ensuring the rented theater space is put to good use.  A Lombard system for resident theaters not framed into a set of strict rules is making life easier for many theater companies  (see 2008 and 2009 results), giving them the opportunity to develop a consistent policy to settle in the area and grow professionally on the artistic as well as on the organizational level. In Italy there are other similar resident theater experiences in Piedmont, Tuscany and Apulia.

Project steps

The project included three phases:

  1. 22 projects for resident theaters proposed by Lombard theater companies were selected (9 were the Lombard provinces directly involved with the provision of theatre spaces) under a call for proposals that was repeated for three years in a row (2007-2009). The proposed projects were assessed directly by Fondazione Cariplo with the assistance of a committee made up of authoritative sector representatives;
  2. a coordination office and service center was set up to coordinate the network of resident theaters and provide a number of common services to them, e.g. virtual warehouse, education, spectators services, public relations and communications domestically and internationally. Associazione Etre (www.etreassociazione.it) is the association of Lombard resident theatre companies that was formed in 2008. Etre highlights in 2009 were: four Italian resident theatre companies under the name Espresso! Teatro Italiano (Espresso! Italian Theatre) staging their performance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and Luoghi Comuni (Common Places) the festival of Etre resident theatres that in 2010 began to host also international participants.
  3. a system for resident theater productions was created to promote and protect the artistic production of Lombardy’s emerging companies