Sotterraneo theatre company began working as a research collective in Florence in 2005. The group is comprised of long-term members as well as a cluster of collaborators whose numbers vary according to the project at hand. The resulting working group aims to investigate the linguistic possibilities of theater – a place characterized by a physical and intellectual time, both old and hopelessly contemporary. Sotterraneo like to experiment with different formats, producing cross-cutting and stratified pieces in search of form and content. These range from front shows to site-specific performances, and tend to focus on today’s contradictions and dark sides. Further, Sotterraneo’s avant-pop approach seeks to narrate our times whilst striking a balance between the collective imagination and the most unconventional thinking. In this context, the stage is a place where citizenship is formed, as well as everyday gestures of culture testing the audience’s critical consciousness. After all, the audience is the company’s main interlocutor and at the heart of all their projects.
Sotterraneo have received some of the most important national and international theatre awards: Lo Straniero Award and Ubu Special Award in 2009, the Hystrio Castel dei Mondi Award in 2010, the Silver Laurel Wreath Award for Dies irae at Sarajevo’s MESS Festival in 2011, the Eolo Award for Best New Artist for Children’s Republic as well as the ACT Festival Prize and BE FESTIVAL 1st Prize for Homo ridens at Birmingham’s BE festival in 2012. Lastly, in 2016 they received the Best of Be Tour Award at Birmingham’s BE festival. Overload wins the Ubu Award as Best Italian Theatre Show 2018.
Sotterraneo gets together while working on their first project, called 11/10 in apnea. Their shows include Post-it (2007), The Thing 1 (2008), The Diptych on the species comprised of Dies irae _5 episodes around the end of the species (2009) and The Origin of species_from Charles Darwin (2010), Homo ridens (2011), a children’s theatre show by the title The Children’s Republic (2011), the Daimon Project comprised of BE LEGEND! (2013) and BE NORMAL! (2013), the show WAR NOW! (2014, co-directed with the Latvian director Valters Silis as part of the European project Shared Space), Around the World in 80 Days (2015), Overload (2017), Shakespearology (2019) and the children’s theatre show I futurnauti (2019). Their performances tour Italy’s main cities as well as abroad – in Spain, Germany, France, UK, Portugal, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Chile.
In this period of time Sotterraneo have also participated in several other projects with different formats, such as short plays, site-specific performances, mise-en-espace, and other commissioned projects. In 2012 the collective were called upon by the prestigious Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro to direct Mr. Bruschino by Gioachino Rossini.
Sotterraneo are also involved in drama training courses, and have organised drama workshops for the Municipality of Florence, Fondazione Toscana Spettacolo, Centrale Fies, Amat, Irigem, Fanny & Alexander, Laboratorio Nove, University of Florence, Pistoia Theatre Association, Theatre of Europe (London), Istituto Italiano di Cultura (London), BE Festival (Birmingham), and Teatro La Abadia (Madrid).
Between 2008 and 2009 the company was supported by the ETI project Nuove Creatività; since 2008, the company has been annually supported by the Region of Tuscany, while from 2015 they have been supported and funded by the Municipality of Florence and the Italian Ministry of Culture.
In 2015, they won the Funder 35 call for tender for young production companies working in the field of culture. Since 2007 they have joined the Fies Factory project promoted by Centrale Fies, and since 2013 they have been a resident company at Pistoia Theatre Association.
In 2017 Sotteraneo enters the European network Apap – Performing Europe 2020 and in 2018 enters the European project SHIFT KEY.