Viewers become creators of theater. From Sept. 28 to Oct. 8, the second edition of “Ragusa Behind the Curtain,” the biennial festival dedicated to art crafts.
Talks, workshops, concerts and performances in the streets and monuments of Ragusa Ibla dressed up to pay homage to the great Italo Calvino on the centenary of his birth. Many guests, from Buttafuoco to Violante, Bergonzoni to Rea.

How is a sound, a word, a movement born? And why does he enchant the audience and take them with him into the magic of the stage? To answer these questions, “Ragusa Behind the Curtain” was born in 2021, the biennial festival of art crafts, conceived by Vicky DiQuattro, which is now relaunching with even more significant challenges: can a show be born, day after day together with the audience, and then make its premiere debut? This is what will happen in the beautiful setting of the Sicilian city to the text “The Bumblebee and the Butterfly,” directed by Walter Manfrè and dramaturgy by Costanza DiQuattro, which will be staged at the Donnafugata Theater, starring Giuseppe Ferlito and Maria Rita Schembari, with music by Mario Incudine.

The entire festival will glorify the crafts of art and theater, that is, those behind the scenes, such as set designers, stagehands, costume designers, and makeup artists, the stars of the event where all those who work to create a show, rather than the show itself, are celebrated. It is no coincidence that the second edition of “Ragusa Behind the Curtain,” which returns Sept. 28 to Oct. 8 next to Ragusa Ibla, reverses every mechanism, making the “off” program just the shows, to give instead behind-the-scenes centrality, opening rehearsals to students and audiences, creating workshops where spectators can try their hand at the concrete creation of performance pieces. Talks, workshops, meetings and precisely many performances with nationally acclaimed artists to turn the spotlight on the world of theater at 360 degrees, that theater that communicates and excites, that fascinates and enraptures audiences.

Promoted by the “Donnafugata 2000” association, curated by artistic directors Vicky DiQuattro and Costanza DiQuattro with cultural advice from Paolo Verri and organizational advice from Danila Confalonieri and with funding from the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the support of the Sicilian Region’s Department of Tourism and Entertainment, the Free Consortium of Ragusa, the City of Ragusa and Siae, and the patronage of the Ministry of Education and the Regional School Office for Sicily merit, the festival takes viewers by the hand and takes them to see what goes on behind the scenes, how stories are constructed, how the ordinariness of daily life can be transformed into theatrical performances, between magic and mystery.

Lots of headliners in this second edition of the festival, prominent personalities and ensembles, such as comedian and playwright Alessandro Bergonzoni, the director Gabriele Vacis, who with the actor Roberto Tarasco will bring “Prometheus Chained” and “Seven at Thebes,” Sicilian singer-songwriter Mario Incudine (touring concert on Oct. 7 together with the Ibla band), pianist Danilo Rea (who will perform on Oct. 8 inside the striking latomie of Cava Gonfalone), writer and journalist Pietrangelo Buttafuoco together with the singer-songwriter Lello Analfino and to the actor and storyteller Salvo Piparo all present with a wonderful theatrical and musical transposition of “The Wolf and the Moon” by Valentino Picone (staged Oct. 1). There will be moments of dance theater with the Cirko Vertigo Foundation who will keep spectators with bated breath and noses in the air in exciting and surprising performances with the shows “Vertigine di Giulietta” (blucinQue production staged at the opening of the festival, Sept. 28) and Fili Invisibili (6tu collective production). Actors Blas Roca Rey and Monica Rogledi accompanied on the piano by Chika Nagata with Calvino’s “Tales” and actor Mario Perrotta with “Like a Kind of Vertigo The Dwarf, Calvino, Freedom.”

Also on the program are meetings on issues of cultural and social relevance, from the role of democracy to cultural programming for cities, from theater education to contemporaneity, with the participation of Luciano Violante, Paolo Verri, Fulvia Toscano, Michele Romano, Ester Bonafede, Fabio Granata, Gabriele Vacis, Vicky DiQuattro and Paolo Stratta.

“Once again, Sicily proves to be an ideal place to host events of great culture capable of captivating even the tourists who have chosen to visit the beauty that our island is able to offer,” stresses regional councillor Elvira Amata adding that “with this event, a cultural path is created that is capable of initiating new connections and making viewers interact.”

This edition of “Ragusa Behind the Curtain” will pay tribute to writer Italo Calvino, one of the most important Italian storytellers of the second half of the 20th century and whose birth centenary falls this year. The city will also be “dressed up” for the festival as explained by Ragusa Mayor Peppe Cassì: “Urban spaces touched by the festival will be occupied by an installation of “artist lights” inspired by one of Italo Calvino’s most beloved books, “Invisible Cities.” It will be wonderful to see many places in our Ragusa light up in a new way and create a great shared celebration.” The luminescent banners were designed by Sicilian birorealist artist Paolo Amico, who has been working successfully for years in the country and beyond, known for his ability to fool the viewer with his neon lights drawn with ballpoint pens. They come from the “The Secret City” project promoted by the city of Ivrea and curated in 2022-2023 by lawyer Costanza Casali, who, as alderman, oversaw the “Ivrea Italian Book Capital” events. For “Ragusa Behind the Curtain,” the installation was redesigned and adapted to urban spaces with the idea of representing a moment of further appeal along with the show “Invisible Threads – Calvin 100” scheduled for Sept. 29. For artistic directors Vicky and Costanza DiQuattro, “the festival in this second edition calls on spectator-citizens for an active role, that of ‘co-creation’ together with the artists. The goal is to create not for, but with the public, broadening the audience not with easier but more shared projects.” The program will involve some leading national institutions in the cultural sector such as the Fondazione Istituto Dramma Antico, Cirko Vertigo Foundation, NaxosLegge, and the company PEM – Potenziali Evocati Multimediali. Space is also given to young students from secondary schools in the province of Ragusa to whom specific moments are dedicated. Dedicated especially to young and very young audiences, and with close cooperation with local schools, the festival program is available online at and on all social channels. Also supporting the festival are various private supporters: Banca Agricola Popolare di Ragusa, Villa San Giorgio, Randstad, Regran, ST Sergio Tumino, Marina Iblea, Cappello and Battaglia Insurance, Reale Mutua agency of Ragusa, Argo Software and Rosso di Sicilia, Coop Gruppo Radenza.

September 1, 2023

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