Pippo Delbono

Performances from Italian theatre-maker Pippo Delbono are exuberant, carnivalesque celebrations of life and death, which he sees as two sides of the same coin.

He creates pieces in his own Italian way, with influences from the Commedia dell’arte and Fellini’s films. It’s theatre that is highly unconventional and which has brought him cult status for years in his own country and far beyond. In France, for example, his work is performed in long series, with viewers fighting for the last few seats. That’s in fairly stark contrast to the Netherlands, where his performances are rarely staged.

Delbono was invited to the Festival d’Avignon three times. He has won a long list of important theatre prizes, including the Europe Prize for New Theatrical Realities. Delbono staged his first performance in 1987. Pina Bausch was at the rehearsals. Later, Delbono would dance in one of her performances. In the early ‘80s, he founded his own company, with which he still creates performances today. He works with a remarkable group of people: professional actors and exeptional people he met during is journey's all over the world. For example Bobò, a deaf and mute man with intellectual disabilities, Gianluca, who has Down’s syndrome, homeless performer Nelson, and Fadel, a refugee.

Together, they function as a theatre family. It is part of Delbono’s art, which lives at the intersection of theatre and real life. That always gives his performances a political charge of their own – he brings the real world into the theatre. Sometimes Delbono’s work is also a direct response to current events. For his film, Vangelo, he went to an Italian refugee camp to record the stories of the refugees.

‘I could never create a performance that wasn’t contaminated by my life.’ – Pippo Delbono