Interview with Mattia Berto, a young multi-talented Venetian director
Mattia Berto graduated from the University of Ca’ Foscari in Venice in Performing Arts and Media Studies and has been the Artistic Director of Teatro di Villa Groggia in Venice since 2011. He has worked with many directors, including Maurizio Scaparro, and has been involved in training children, adults and the older generation for quite some time. His transgenerational approach aims at bringing together a city such as Venice that always seems to be facing an identity crisis.
“I’ve worked in theatre ever since I was a little boy. I am an only child and was born in Venice. My father Aldo Berto has always worked in the restaurant business while my mother Claudia Cadorin was brought up in a family of artists and passed on her love of art to me.”
What’s your relationship with your city?
“I am madly in love with Venice. To me, it is one big home where the calli are corridors. It is the perfect lover, an open-air set… Venice is closed-minded and provincial while being international at the same time. Lately, our Venice is in need of people who experience it for real, day after day.”
Could you tell us more about the Teatro in bottega project?
“This project was developed after meeting Venetian photographer Giorgia Chinellato ‘a careful investigator of the human soul.’ The project’s tagline is ‘Mi incarta un etto di poesia?’ (Could you wrap me an ounce of poetry?) and its aim is to bring performances to historic shops so that craft and skill is combined and artists and customer spectators meet.”
Teatro in bottega is part of the extraordinary and unconventional research into the city of Venice and its everyday life that Mattia Berto has been conducting for some time. From a famous butcher’s in Rialto to a just as historic fabric shop near Ca’ d’Oro down to a café like Harry’s Bar, which was declared a national heritage site by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage in 2001. Arrigo Cipriani accepted working as an actor for one day with the aim of promoting the city’s commercial activities, traditions and culture. One of the latest performances involved two historic workshops which are very different yet a point of reference for the sestiere where they are located: Vetrina del Volontariato e della Solidarietà in Campo Santa Margherita and Atelier di Costumi Stefano Nicolao in Cannaregio. The protagonists of the “Venezia-Learning from Las Vegas” performances involved an extraordinary group of 80-year-old locals.
And what about Teatrino Groggia?
Teatrino Groccia is located in Sant’Alvise, in the Cannaregio sestiere, nestling like a precious gem in a large Romantic park with gentle hills, paths, trees and rocks, and was once used as a target-shooting range in the 1500s but was reopened in 2012 after being abandoned for a long time.
“The idea of reopening a forgotten cultural space like Teatrino Groggia occurred to me after talking to a lovely 80-year-old lady daughter of the first Mayor of Venice after the Liberation. We had just been to see 6 Venezia by Mazzacurati and, on our way back, Anna told me: “Groggia is closed, we need to do something about that!” And that is how, in a moment when theatre venues are actually closing down, Mattia Berto acting as artistic director of mpg.cultura, turned Teatrino Groggia into the “theatre of Venetians”. It can be a magical place such as the Balera Groggia workshop as well as a place where families can go on Sundays for a show and tea or even a venue to see the work of exceptional people such as director Emma Dante.
Collaborations with Casa Goldoni and Teatro Stabile Carlo Goldoni (Follow Carlo Goldoni was one of the latest shows) conducted with passion and farsightedness and with actors and actresses such as Nora Fuser. In addition, participation in projects such as Ad Alta Voce, Festival dei Matti, theatre and disability, theatre outside theatres… all these and much more…
This interview is dedicated to those visitors curious to know all about the soul of the lagoon city and of the Venetians who still have a genuine love for it. To the young and less young from all backgrounds who might wish to take part in unique artistic/theatrical initiatives during their stay as “theatre is life and, thanks to Mattia Berto, Venice is alive without a shadow of a doubt! And I, who have always been passionate about theatre, will have the pleasure of taking you around the city with a specially-programmed itinerary.”