Marco Martinelli

He was born in Reggio Emilia, Italy, on 14th August 1956.

In 1977 he married Ermanna Montanari and together they began their theatre apprenticeship working in various groups until 1983, putting on stage plays by Beckett, Buchner and Campanile.

In 1983, with Ermanna Montanari, Luigi Dadina and Marcella Nonni, he founded the Teatro delle Albe in where he operates as dramatist and director. Among Martinelli’s early works for Teatro delle Albe we point out Ruh, Romagna Più Africa Uguale, Siamo asini o pedanti?, I Refrattari and I 22 infortuni di Mor Arlecchino, the last being  a Goldonian re-writing which had great success in Italy and Europe, and has been translated into different languages. It focuses around the singular figure of an African Harlequin.

Specialised critics and scholars have emphasised “the talent of a director who is among the most intelligent and original” (Palazzi), seeing in the dramatist-director’s expressive power and in the Albe’s vitality “a hyper-realist theatre-man and a collective of irreducible individualities” (Meldolesi); the experience of “theatrical crossbreeding” between Italian and Senegalese actors (the latter have been a permanent part of the company for years) has been defined as the “latest reproof that the factory of African theatre is in Europe, as Genet and Brook had already admonished us” (Quadri).

In 1991 he was appointed artistic director of Ravenna Teatro, first “Teatro Stabile di Innovazione”, now "Centro di produzione teatrale".

In 1995 he won the University of Urbino Drammaturgia In/Finita Prize with the text Incantati, a parable on football in the Romagna suburbs. In 1996, as artistic director, he collected the Ubu Prize on behalf of Ravenna Teatro “for commitment and linguistic research”, while in 1997 he won the same prize for the dramaturgy of All’inferno!, an original fresco from Aristophanes. Lastly, in June 1999, he took the Hystrio Prize for directors.

In May 2000 Ubulibri published the book “Jarry 2000” which tells the story of the Teatro delle Albe’s productions, Perhindérion and I Polacchi, inspired by Alfred Jarry’s work, which led the Albe to the top of Italian theatre. I Polacchi received three nominations at the 1999 Ubu Prize (“best performance”, “best director”, “best under 30 actor”), the 2002 jury prize at the Fadjir International Festival in Teheran, the 2003 Golden Laurel (“best director” to Marco Martinelli and “best actress” to Ermanna Montanari) at International Festival "Mess" in Sarajevo.

In 1999, with Ermanna Montanari, he invented the Cantiere Orlando, a research through the Renaissance’s chivalry poems: for this project, he directed L’isola di Alcina, by Nevio Spadoni, music by Luigi Ceccarelli, produced by Ravenna Festival and La Biennale di Venezia (that received a nomination as “best performance” and Premio Ubu to Montanari as “best actress” 2000), Baldus, from the poem by Teofilo Folengo, Sogno di una notte di mezza estate (2002), from Shakespeare’s masterpiece.
In the Opera field, Martinelli directed La locandiera by Pietro Auletta (1997), produced by Ravenna Festival, and Lucrezia Borgia by Gaetano Donizetti (2001), a production of Teatro Comunale of Bologna.

In 2003-2004 he directed a nine-month course Epidemie-percorso per la crescita professionale dell’attore (Epidemic-path for a professional developement of actors) organized by Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione and Ravenna Teatro (financed by the European Social Fund, Regione Emilia Romagna and Ministero del lavoro); from this course 15 actors were chosen and took part in Salmagundi, written and directed by Martinelli himself, which made its debut at Mittelfest 2004.

In February 2005 he directs the performance La Mano. De Profundis Rock, taken from the novel of the same title by Luca Doninelli and co-produced by the Belgian institution le manège.mons and by Italian festivals Ravenna Festival and Festival delle colline torinesi.

Between May and June 2005 Marco Martinelli, with Ermanna Montanari, Mandiaye N’Diaye and Maurizio Lupinelli, worked for five weeks in Chicago, with an intense programme of shows and workshops. The heart of the project was a new version of I Polacchi, that opened at Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, with a group of African students from Senn High School whose home countries were Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Cameroon and Haiti. The project was backed by both Italian and American public and private bodies.

In October 2005 he directed a “public reading” of Elsa Morante’s text La Canzone degli F.P. e degli I.M., which featured the four young actors of Teatro delle Albe.

In 2006 Marco Martinelli stages two shows: LEBEN (dramaturgy by himself) and Sterminio (which won him the 2007 Ubu Prize for “best direction”), by Werner Schwab, which form a diptych on the unavoidability and universality of evil.

In January 2007, with Ermanna Montanari and Mandiaye N’Diaye, he worked in Senegal on a new  “bringing to life” of I Polacchi, in the wake of the Chicago experience. The show, called Ubu buur, debuted in the village of Diol Kadd, with a chorus of Senegalese adolescents. Ubu buur had its European première at the Festival des Francophonies in Limousin (France), which also co-produced the play, and its national première at the Teatro Festival Italia in Naples, then subsequently at VIE Scena Contemporanea Festival of Modena in autumn 2007.

June  2008 he directs Rosvita, a reading-concert in which Ermanna Montanari, after seventeen years, returns to tackle the work of the 10th century Saxon nun-playwright in the twofold role of actress (together with Cinzia Dezi, Michela Marangoni and Laura Redaelli) and author of the text.

In 2008 he stages Stranieri by Antonio Tarantino, marking a new attainment for Teatro delle Albe’s contemporary dramaturgy.
In 2009 he directs and designs the lights for Ouverture Alcina, a vocal performance by Ermanna Montanari based on a text by Nevio Spadoni and with music by Luigi Ceccarelli. The show had a great success among both the general public and the critics on the occasion of the numerous shows in various cities of the world: from New York in collaboration with Coil Festival and Under the Radar Festival, to Moscow as part of the international “Stanislavskij Season” festival, from Tunis at the “Journées Théâtrales de Carthage” festival to Berlin at the Theater/Teatro festival, to Limoges at Festival des Francophonies en Limousin.
In 2010 the Teatro delle Albe completed its in-depth inquiry into the work of Molière with a project devised by Martinelli and Montanari, subdivided in two different works. detto Molière, written by Marco Martinelli, debuted in Mons in February with a “chorus” of forty actors and musicians plus a group of adolescents from the outer city areas of France and Belgium. It is an unusual show, a real theatre party which involves the city and the theatre that hosts it, and during the tour has seen a joint co-production between le manège.mons, the Maison de Culture in Tournai (Belgium) and La Rose des Vents Scène Nationale Lille Métropole (France). L’Avaro, the second part of the Molierian diptych, debuts in April 2010, produced by Ravenna Teatro in collaboration with AMAT (Associazione Marchigiana Attività Teatrali) and ERT (Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione). Here the whole company is on stage, directed by Marco Martinelli, around the figure of Harpagon, ghost-puppet of Power grabbed like a weapon by Ermanna Montanari.

Also in 2010 Rumore di acque, written and directed by Marco Martinelli, debuts. It is an intense monologue capable of transfiguring into grotesque and melancholy poetry the tragic stories of boats adrift in the Mediterranean Sea. The show gets the patronage of Amnesty International, and the text Rumore di acque (published in Italy by Editoria & Spettacolo) arouses great interest also abroad: in 2011 it is translated into English by Tom Simpson  and published in the “California Italian Studies” journal; in 2012 it is translated by Jean-Paul Manganaro and staged by Theatre Alibi from Bastia. The text is chosen by the project FACE À FACE, and several “mises en lecture” are performed in the national theatres of Nancy and Marseille.
2012 sees the debut of PANTANI, a show written and directed by Marco Martinelli, and co-produced by le manège.mons, on the life and tragic end of cyclist Marco Pantani. The whole company is on stage.

Vita agli arresti di Aung San Suu Kyi was first performed in 2014, inspired by the life of the Burmese leader and Nobel peace prize laureate. In 2015 he received the Enriquez Prize – in the section Directors of social and civic commitment – “for the splendid direction of the play Vita agli arresti di Aung San Suu Kyi, for his skill, through recounting the life of this extraordinary woman, in eliciting reflection on the contents of our world, on the social and civic ethical values that constitute the foundations of a society, giving us a true hymn to life”.

In 2015 he directed LUS, a concert-play with Ermanna Montanari, Luigi Ceccarelli and Daniele Roccato, produced by Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione with the Teatro delle Albe. He wrote and staged Slot Machine the same year.

Still in 2015 he was selected to represent theatrical excellence in the context of events for Mons “European capital of culture” together with Joel Pommerat, Wim Vandekeibus, Wadji Mowad and Denis Marleau. On this occasion, over and above a singular choral staging of Bruits d’eaux, he directed a “mise en lecture” of one of his texts from the eighties, Bonifica, translated into French by Laurence Van Goethem with the title La plage de Daura.

In 2016 he directs his first movie, Aung San Suu Kyi's life under arrest, inspired to the performance created in 2014, starring Ermanna Montanari.

In 2017 he directs, together with Ermanna Montanari, Maryam, text by Luca Doninelli, music by Luigi Ceccarelli, a new theatre-in-music work.

In 1991 Marco Martinelli was the founder, along with Maurizio Lupinelli, of Teatro delle Albe’s non-school, a still ongoing theatre experience which takes place in Ravenna’s upper-schools, involving over 400 students every year, thus becoming an observation point for many scholars and experts.

In 2006 non-school is transferred to Naples, where it is renamed ARREVUOTO – a three-year initiative of Teatro Mercadante directed by Marco Martinelli and curated by Roberta Carlotto, for which in 2006 he receives the prize of the Theatre Critics National Association and the Special Ubu Prize. In 2007 PUNTA CORSARA is created, once again under the artistic direction of Martinelli, and with the support of Fondazione Campania Festival, putting into effect the challenge of a theatre in Scampia. In January 2011 the project CAPUSUTTA is started. It is promoted by the Culture Committee of the Municipality of Lamezia Terme, of which Martinelli is artistic director, and involves teatro delle Albe and Punta Corsara in a series of thatre workshops with the local youths.  

In July 2011, as part of Santarcangelo 41 festival, Teatro delle Albe presented ERESIA DELLA FELICITÀ, an outdoor performance in the tradition of non-school, consisting of a joyous platoon of two hundred youths coming from disparate cities and countries of the world, who shouldered Vladimir Majakovskij’s crackling verses, which were written when the author was a youth himself and sensed the storm in the air.

Since 1986, Martinelli has authored his theatre writings for numerous publishing houses: Ravenna africana, Essegi, Ravenna, 1988; Teatro impuro, Danilo Montanari Editore, Ravenna, 1997; Jarry 2000, Ubulibri, Milan, 2000; Ravenna viso-in-aria, Longo Editore, Ravenna, 2003; Suburbia, molti Ubu in giro per il pianeta, book+DVD, Ubulibri, Milan, 2008; LEBEN, operina in valigia, Editoria & Spettacolo, 2009; Rumore di acque, Editoria & Spettacolo, 2010.

In 2014 there will be an intense publishing activity: Luca Sossella publishes PANTANI, by Marco Martinelli, the text of the show that inaugurates a new series dedicated to theatrical writing by Jacopo Gassman. Titivillus edizioni publishes Primavera eretica. Scritti e interviste: 1983-2013 by Marco Martinelli and Ermanna Montanari, a breviary that spans thirty years of activity of the company, with seven afterwords by Massimo Marino, and finally, at the same time as the debut of the show, Luca Sossella publishes Vita agli arresti di Aung San Suu Kyi. In the same year, the text Rumore di acque met with great success abroad and was translated and published in various languages: in the U.S.A. under the title Noise in the waters (Bordighera, 2014); in Belgium Bruits d'eaux (together with the text La plage de Daura, Lansman editeur, 2015); in Romania under the title Rumoare în ape (in the anthology Dramaturgie italianâ contemporanâ, published by Fundatia Culturala "Camil Petrescu", 2015).

In 2016 was published Aristofane a Scampia. Come far amare i classici agli adolescenti con la non-scuola, published by Ponte alle Grazie, in which Martinelli tells of the experience of non-school, born in Ravenna in the nineties and since then has become a "contagious" phenomenon exported throughout Italy and the world.

In 2017 Ponte alle Grazie published Nel nome di Dante, diventare grandi con la Divina Commedia.

Martinelli has also published texts and articles on a number of periodicals: Teatro e Storia (edited by Mirella Schino), Prove di Drammaturgia (edited by Gerardo Guccini), Riga (edited by Marco Belpoliti and Elio Grazioli), Lo Straniero (edited byGoffredo Fofi), (edited by Marco Belpoliti e Stefano Chiodi).