Italian Christmas Stories 2020

Racconti italiani di Natale 2020

An Italian – New Zealand Collaboration

In Association with the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Sydney and Brickworks Drama School

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There’s no doubt Covid-19, and Aotearoa’s 2020 lockdowns were challenging for Brickworks Drama School. We all had to adapt and learn to “Droom” (drama classes on Zoom)! This new use of technology opened the door to a new creative opportunity, when we received an invitation from Italian theatre director Gianluca Barbadori to collaborate online.

Here’s the story of Brickworks’ first international collaboration, with links to the final work…

Dino Buzzati
Dino Buzzati

By November 2020 we had much of our day-to-day freedom here in New Zealand. Yet, Gianluca was still in lockdown in Ancona, Italy. Brickworks’ students and tutors would log into Zoom sessions with Gianluca after school here in Aotearoa, which was about 5am Italian time for poor Gianluca! Four pairs of students worked with Gianluca once a week throughout the month of November on Christmas-themed stories by renowned Italian writers Dino Buzzati, Italo Calvino, and Gianni Rodari.

Italo Calvino (Author of If on a Winter's Night a Traveler)
Italo Calvino

The texts were often challenging, and the context of the stories was unfamiliar to our Kiwi kids, who associate Christmas with the beach and barbecues, as opposed to fields of snow and candle-lit churches. However, the students became fascinated with these new worlds, and enjoyed exploring the deeper meaning of each story. It was lovely to observe Gianluca’s patient and detailed work with each student. Not only did they unlock the stories, but Gianluca worked with each student on their delivery of the tales. He guided them to explore their voices -pace, inflection, tone – and find the humour in each piece.

Archivo:Gianni Rodari anni cinquanta.jpg - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
Gianni Rodari

This project was supported by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Sydney, and shared on its website. Now we are proud to share these stories with you on our own Brickworks channels. Enjoy, and please feel free to remotely applaud the awesome work of Gianluca and our students: Pia, Katie, Eleanor, Grazia, Ezra, Luka, and Zach. We hope this is the first international collaboration of many…   

View the Italian Christmas Stories

The Strange Phenomenon Called Christmas by Dino Buzzati, read by Grazia and Ezra

The Sons of Santa Claus by Italo Calvino, read by Katie and Eleanor

Christmas Tale by Dino Buzzati, read by Pia

The Country With an Un In Front and Apollonia the Jam Maker by Gianni Rodari, read by Zach and Pia

Apollonia the Jam Maker by Gianni Rodari, read by Luka and Zach

The Director – Gianluca Barbadori

Gianluca is a professional actor and director with more than 26 years of experience. He has worked around the world in creative projects, applied theatre, and educational drama initiatives. As a director, Gianluca has coordinated more than 125 plays in Arab, Chinese, English, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese, Serbian, and Spanish. His plays have been presented in different cities of Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Peru, San Salvador, Serbia, UK, Uruguay and US.

He currently directs the group “El Hormiguero Teatro” of Bogota, and “Ponte tra Culture Colombia” in Colombia. In 2015 he co-founded the Serbian social and theatre group “Open Circle Novi Sad”, which continues to collaborate today. Gianluca also collaborates with artists, groups and institutions of different countries such as: “Djokaju Generacion Afro” and “Fundaciòn Arte sin Fronteras” (Bogota, Colombia), “La Coperacha” (Guadalajara, Mexico), and “Teatro dei Venti” (Modena, Italy).

Gianluca has been working internationally as a teacher since 1994, working on projects involving civil and/or social communities as well as young actors and professional artists and groups. Since 1998, his projects have explored theatre skills aimed at adolescents and youngsters living in situations of social risk and/or marginal conditions.

In 2005 he began working in Ancona and in the Marche Region, directing theatre projects aimed at violence (particularly gender violence). Gianluca worked with institutional partners and also, in the beginning, Amnesty International. This work continues today, with different groups and projects in different countries.