Mana Chuma Teatro
Teatro Mana Chuma

Contemporary theatre company managed by Massimo Barilla and Salvatore Arena rooted in Strait of Messina, mainly engaged in social theatre and new dramaturgy and awarded the Premio della Critica 2019. Recognised and funded by the Calabria Region pursuant to law 19/2017 as a theatrical production company.

Since its inception, Mana Chuma chooses to especially address the cultural and historical identity of Southern Italy, trying to converge the use of stories, figures, forms and styles drawn from local and Mediterranean cultural tradition with the use of innovative artistic forms, developing its own approach to dramaturgy linked to the intermingling of different expressive forms with a particular attention given to research on space and the experimentation of “other” spaces for theatre.

Mana Chuma designs and develops its performances as small research projects in collaboration with theatres, festivals but also civil society organisations, schools, university departments, archives, criminal chambers and magistrate organisations.
Furthermore, over the years, Mana Chuma has broadened its research paths striving to build upon the experiences acquired along the way and providing more space to the multidisciplinary skills of its artistic core (music, video, poetry, dramaturgy, cinema, dance, interactive technologies).

Moreover, through its national and international territorial networks, Mana Chuma builds its own artistic path in close connection with educational and social cultural policies, of inclusive civil cultural economy, (multiculturalism, gender, etc.), based on the one hand on the promotion of active citizenship practices, the fight against the mafia, participatory construction of cultural and economic models alternative to deviant ones, and on the other hand the promotion of creative processes open to the comparison between languages and cultures, with an international perspective.

With “Come in granello di sabbia” the theatre company won the 2016 In-box Selection Award and was included in the programme of the Italian Cultural Institutes of Paris and Valletta, of public theatres such as the Biondo Theatre of Palermo and the Vittorio Emanuele Theatre of Messina as well as of important festivals and regional networks.

Mana Chuma represented the Italian narration theatre at the Fête du livre et des cultures italiennes in Paris. Some original works were translated into French and presented in various forms in Paris, Brussels, Cologne and Malta. Other works have been finalists for the Scenario Award, the Ustica Theatre Award, the Riccione Theatre Award and the Dante Cappelletti Award.

Mana Chuma has collaborated with artists such as Maria Maglietta, Luciano Nattino, Lucia Sardo and Marcello Chiarenza and coproduced with important organisations or festivals such as Teatro delle Briciole of Parma, the Casa degli Alfieri ofi Asti, AstiTeatro Festival and the Horcynus Festival.

It is a partner of the Horcynus Orca Foundation in the framework of which it is responsible for theatrical production. In 2005 the theatre company has obtained the moral patronage of the Ente Teatrale Italiana.

• Teatro delle Rane
• Astragali Teatro
• Associazione Soledad
• Circolo del Cinema Charlie Chaplin
• Fondazione Giuseppe Gulotta

•Fondazione Horcynus Orca (partner)
•Latitudini Rete di nuova drammaturgia siciliana (partner)
•International Theatre Institute Italia (ITI)
•IETM – International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts

• Regione Calabria
• Regione Sicilia
• Ente Parco Nazionale d’Aspromonte
• Comune di Bova
• Comune di Reggio Calabria
• Area Metropolitana di Reggio Calabria
• Università degli Studi di Messina
• Università degli Studi di Reggio Calabria
• GAL Area Grecanica

• Maison Antoine Vitez
• Arts Council Malta
• Teatru Malta
• University of Malta
• Istituto italiano di cultura La Valletta
• Istituto italiano di cultura Parigi

• Critics Award 2019 ANCT (National Association of Theatre Critics – Italy)
• Dante Cappelletti Award 2019 – finalists with F-Aìda (studio)
• Selezione In-box Blu Award 2016 with Come un granello di sabbia
• Ustica Theatre Award – finalists with La Cisterna  
• Patronage of the Ente Teatrale Italiana on the entire activity (2005)
• Riccione Theatre Award 2005 – Salvatore Arena finalist with Longa è a jurnata
• Ustica Theatre Award 2003 – finalists with Spine

Massimo Barilla

Massimo Barilla

Playwright, poet, theatre director and producer. He is the director of Mana Chuma Teatro, in the framework of which he has written with Salvatore Arena: Spine (2003, finalist for the Ustica theatre award), Di terra e di sangue (2005, official production for the Centenary of CGIL), ’70voltesud (2007, used for a monographic episode on the Reggio Calabria Revolt of 1970 by Rai Storia), Come un granello di sabbia /Giuseppe Gulotta, storia di un innocente (2016 Blue In-box selection Award), F-Aìda (2019). The French magazine Frictions mentioned Massimo Barilla among the 10 most important Italian authors for his civic engagement.

He wrote and directed the film 26 settembre 1970 / il cielo limpido  inspired from the theatre production ’70voltesud. He has written the story and screenplay of a feature film called Primula Rossa, (released in May 2019). He was also a narrator for the two award-winning Calabrian documentary filmmakers Felice D’Agostino and Arturo Lavorato of Il canto dei nuove emigranti that won best documentary film in the Torino Film Festival ’05 and Bellaria Film Festival ’06.

He is the author of several unpublished short stories and poems in Italian and in the Reggio Calabrian dialect. His first poetry collection entitled Cu l’ossa di crita is published by the publishing house Mesogea – Culture Mediterranee in March 2020. He translated from Maltese with the author and with Virginia Monteforte, the poetry book of Elizabeth Grech, Terre sospese (Capire edizioni – 2019). As a poet and writer, he represented Italy at the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival 2018.
He also directed the Teatro Siracusa of Reggio Calabria and is in charge of cultural events for the Horcynus Orca Foundation of Messina.

Photo: Virginia Monteforte

Salvatore Arena

Born in Calabria in 1965, studied in Barcelona and Messina and currently lives in Reggio Emilia. He is of Sicilian origin and Emilian by adoption.
He is an actor, director and playwright and collaborated with important artists such as Marco Baliani (Giufà, San Francesco di Saramago, Bertoldo, Terra Promessa, Decamerone), Letizia Quintavalla (Fango, Il Pinguino senza frac), Scimone e Sframeli (La busta, Pali, Giù). Since 2002, he is the co-director of Mana Chuma Teatro, developing, with Massimo Barilla, a research path between ‘other’ forms of narration and new dramaturgy (Trilogy: “A sud della memoria”: Il mondo offeso, Di terra e di sangue, ‘70voltesud, L’ultimo Inganno; Terribìlio di mare; Historia du surdatu; Spine; Lunga notte di Medea; Come un granello di sabbia).

He wrote Spine with Massimo Barilla. Directed by himself, the performance was finalist of the 2003 Ustica Award.
He wrote the text Longa è a jurnata with which he was finalist for the Riccione Award in 2005.
As an actor, he won the Eolo Award with the performance Per la strada, in 2006, for the best Italian performance for children.
As an actor, he won the Ubu Award in 2009 with the performance Pali for the best Italian innovative theatre.
He wrote and directed the performance La cisterna with Massimo Zaccaria, finalist of the Ustica Award in 2009.

Photo: Marco Costantino

Luigi Polimeni

Luigi Polimeni

Pianist, arranger and composer. He carried out classical piano studies at the Conservatory of Vibo Valentia specialising in composition and arrangement at the CPM (Centro Professione Musica) in Milan and developed his skills through training courses with Dino D ‘Autorio, Marty Robertson and Maestro Gianpiero Reverberi.
In the early 90’s, he was one of the founders (keyboardist and author) of the progressive rock group “LuToDo” and winner of the orchestral conducting of the International Composition Competition “Orchestra Giovanile di Spoleto”.

He is mainly a composer and author of original music for theatre and collaborates with theatre directors and actors such as: Marco Baliani, Salvatore Arena, Maria Maglietta, Nicolaj Karpov e Massimo Barilla.
For the film industry, in addition to a structured collaboration with Columbia Pictures for the production of soundtracks for documentaries, he is also the composer of the original music for feature films such as Primula Rossa by Franco Jannuzzi and Ferdinando il duro by Bloom Kolektiv and Alberto Valtellina.
He was finalist of the International Composition Competition for Orchestra of the Metropolitan of New York in 2015.
He curates the audio design with application of the “binaural” technique and the original music of artistic-technological productions of the interactive immersive room of the Fondazione Horcynus Orca.

Aldo Zucco

Stage Designer. Professor of Stage Design at the Fine Arts Academy of Catania since 1993 after teaching at the Academies of Reggio Calabria and Rome. He is among the founders of the Teatro di figura Le Rane based in Reggio Calabria and constantly collaborates with Mana Chuma Teatro (Premio della Critica ANCT 2019 – National Critics Award).
His artistic research is based on the stage space, dramaturgically inventing and revisiting timeless landscapes and curiosities.

Among his most significant works: “Come un granello di sabbia”, Mana Chuma Teatro, Premio selezione IN-BOX BLU; “Pagliacci” by Leoncavallo, directed by Roberta Cortese, Teatro Rendano, Cosenza (Calabria, Italy); “La bella dormente nel bosco” by Ottorino Respighi, directed by Lisa Ferlazzo Natoli, Teatro Rendano, Cosenza; “Elyssa/Didone. La regina errante”, directed by Renato Nicolini and Marilù Prati, Venice Biennale; “L’ultimo inganno” written and directed by Massimo Barilla and Salvatore Arena, Mana Chuma Teatro; “Patria e Mito”, written by Renato Nicolini, directed by Ugo Gregoretti, Compagnia Mediterranea Teatro/Le Nozze, Festival dei 2 Mondi, Spoleto (Umbria); Compagnia Berardi Casolari “Land Rover viaggio per Amore”, Napoli Teatro Festival.
In the framework of the Teatro delle Rane he designed the stage for: “Perseo”, “L’Acchiappa Pensieri” and “Piccolo Blu e Piccolo Giallo” by Leo Lionni (First Award of the Festival Nuovemani, Amalfi 2000) “Feeria”, “Pierino e il lupo”, “Federico”, “Guizzino”, “Caleidoscopio”, “Verso Betlemme”, “Il figlio della pioggia d’oro” and ”L’isola di Calibano”.
For television, he worked for “Bravo Grazie” Rai 2 and SKY VIVO editions. In the film industry, he worked for “Figlio di una rivoluzione minore”, by Salvatore Romano and “Primula Rossa” by Franco Jannuzzi.

Aldo Zucco
Elizabeth Grech

Elizabeth Grech

Elizabeth GRECH (born in Malta in 1978, lives in France – Paris – since 1999).
Elizabeth is a self-taught translator and works with various NGOs, cultural and artistic organisations. She is a consultant-translator with the CIHEAM where she is charge of the English version of both publications and official documents.
Since October 2018, she in charge of translation, communications, networking and international relations with Mana Chuma Teatro.

She is also a literary translator and has translated the works of several contemporary Maltese poets into French. Many of her translations have been published in book form and in literary journals. Her own poetry has appeared in a number of anthologies and journals in different languages (English, Italian, Spanish, Albanian, Greek, Esperanto, Romanian).

Her first poetry collection “bejn baħar u baħar” was published by Merlin Publishers (Malta, February 2019). The Italian translation “Terre sospese” by Virginia Monteforte and Massimo Barilla was published by Capire Edizioni (Forlì, August 2019). The Greek version “Μετέωρες χώρες” translated by Ioanna Karameli was published by Vakxikon Publications (Athens, March 2021). The Spanish version with the translations of Marisol Bohorquez-Godoy will be soon published by RIL Editores (Barcelona).

Photo: Virginia Monteforte

Rosario Di Benedetto

Rosario Di Benedetto

Born in Paternò in the province of Catania in 1990
He began his artistic training at the Istituto Statale Arte of Catania in photography and advertising graphic design. He then studied scenography for cinema at the Accademia di Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts) in Catania where he was a pupil of Aldo Giuseppe Zucco.
Henceforth, he participated in several artistic collaborations increasingly revolving around video art in all its forms. In the framework of these collaborations he worked with prestigious festivals such as La Biennale di Venezia Musica e Arte, the Celeste Award, the Farm Film Festival, the Horcynus Festival, Corti in Cortile … In 2017, he co-founded the Centro Studi Arti Visive, a visual research studio aimed at marketing.

Alessio Laganà

Atypical Calabrian with a strong passion for art and music and decades of experience as a cultural promoter. The organisation of cultural events and several years on the road as a tour manager with international artists have forged his temper as a music operator attentive to new trends. For years, he has been implementing a music Selection project, a sort of “listening club” in clubs and festivals, based on black & world music, to promote a conscious listening to good music.

Trained in Entertainment Management at the “Teatro alla Scala” Academy in Milan, he has developed a global vision of the performing arts, combining cultural skills with economic and managerial skills.

With a versatile personality, he has developed his professional career: as a BOOKING AGENT (he has been collaborating for a decade with Kaleidoscope booking for which he was a tour manager for years), as a festival ORGANIZER (artistic direction and other roles in the structural organisation) and as a MUSIC SELECTOR (in festival and clubs).

He has been collaborating since 2011 with the F. Cilea Conservatory of Music in Reggio Calabria.

Mariano Nieddu

Born in Nuoro. Sardinian, Italian and citizen of the world.
He was granted a scholarship and graduated from the Theatre School of Bologna directed by Alessandra Galante Garrone in 1994. He then specialised at the European School for the Art of the Actor of San Miniato (Pisa). He trained with Alessandra Galante Garrone, Renata Palminiello, Vittorio Franceschi, Claudia Busi, Herns Duplan, Francesco Macedonio, Walter Pagliaro, Marco Cavicchioli, Nanni Garella, José Sanchis Sinisterra, Antonio Piovanelli.
On stage he has worked with Thierry Salmon, Marco Baliani, Roberto Castello, Renata Palminiello, Maurizio Bercini, Alfonso Santagata, Luca Vitone, Roberto Rustioni, Milena Costanzo, Maria Maglietta, Walter Pagliaro, Nanni Garella, Ivano Marescotti, Luciano Nattino.
He has been collaborating with Mana Chuma Teatro for years.
He worked in film and television with con Peter Greenaway, Piero Sanna, Claudio Di Biagio, Alessandro Pondi, Domenico Ciolfi, Franco Jannuzzi.
He also collaborated with Rai Radio Tre and Emons audiobooks and dubbed videogames.

Photo: G.M. MesinaH