La Ribalta - Centro Studi Enrico Maria Salerno
According to Art. 27, paragraph 3 of the Italian Constitution punishment should aim at rehabilitating the offender while contributing to its reintegration into society. Unfortunately, this objective is not always accomplished. Theatre, however, can be a wonderful experience that paves the way to new worlds and new experiences while in jail: it can bring to known or unknown places, sometimes to a new job. La Ribalta – Centro Studi Enrico Maria Salerno, gave birth to the Teatro Libero di Rebibbia. It all started in 2000, spreading the theatre culture in prisons through the organization of training courses like acting as well as sound and lighting engineer and costume designer.
Yet theory without practice is not enough. Thus, since 2004 the Rebibbia prison opened its doors to actors, writers, composers, artists or ordinary citizens, who may meet the detainees and present their world through shows, performances or debates. The detainees-actors are more than 100; to date 18 shows have been produced with more than 50 replies for approximately 40,000 viewers. Prisoners work have been recognized and awarded with the Golden Bear prize at the Berlin International Film Festival: In fact, movie directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, with the movie "Cesare deve morire", decided to recount Shakespeare's Julius Caesar adventure totally in prison thanks to a cast entirely made up of prisoners. An unusual place for theatre, which aims to reduce the anguish and emptiness of life in jail, showing interesting job opportunities to detainees and bringing civil society within high security walls in order to reiterate once again that those in prison are always human beings.