Festival of Schools

The Project

a project by Theatre dell'Argine
institutional partners: San Lazzaro di Savena Municipality, Metropolitan City of Bologna, Emilia-Romagna Region
media partners: bolognateatro.it, Ciao Radio
in twinning with Centre Etoile of Reggio Emilia
Festival of Schools is a kaleidoscopic theater festival dedicated to children and teenagers 3 to 18 years old, who are the protagonists of ITC Teatro during the whole month of May. Particularly impressive is the number of children coming from preschools and primary schools, where sensitivity towards the arts is growing more and more.
But Festival of Schools has many different faces. It is also a contest dedicated to high schools: shows enter a competition in which the young participants are both actors and jurors, voting the best performance and bestowing it with a cash prize of 1,500 euro. The winning school has to spend them in cultural activities dedicated to students in the following year.
The core of this festival, registering every year record numbers in participation, is made by the issues and themes the young care about: Pirandello and Shakespeare, Aeschylus and Baricco, great poets and musical, racism, violence and peace, but, above all, their inner worlds and keywords, like adolescence, play, relationships with parents and institutions, friendship, love.

Winners 2016

1st prize
Liceo Scientifico Antonelli di Novara
Aulularia Yack
2nd prize
I.I.S. Trissino di Valdagno (VI)
3rd prize
I.I.S. Mattei di San Lazzaro di Savena (BO)
Manuale per vivere la morte
Special Award Fabio Trentini
I.P.S.S.C.T.P. Aldrovandi-Rubbiani di Bologna
Arrivo a Belleville
For dealing with the delicate issue of migration with great courage, charge, energy, and e great use of the interpretative technique of gramelot.
Special Award 
I.I.S. Cesaris di Casalpusterlengo (LO)
Semplicemente angolare
To the great originality of a show in which harmoniously interact theater and science, education and entertainment, and that is proposed by the protagonists in the Secondary Schools of First Instance of their territory.
Special Award 
Liceo Rambaldi-Valeriani-Alessandro da Imola di Imola (BO)
Medea – Un travestimento
For the high quality of the acting, for having succeded in making accessible and engaging a very complex dramaturgy due to the maturity of their interpretation and expression.


Festival history

In 1995, nineteen years ago, the Festival of Schools was born: at the beginning it included just a few performances realized in theatre workshops TdA organized in schools; then, since 2001, it was conceived a real Festival, open to everybody.
Nineteen years marked by milestones and an already open and bright future:
2001 - inauguration of the Theatre Contest;
2007 - the Contest includes a new Special Award dedicated to professor Fabio Trentini;
2009 - inauguration of the Visual Arts Contest, which collects and rewards hundreds of works in four editions;
2011 - inauguration of the International and European section of the Festival, with the project Crossing Paths;
2013 - inauguration of the Writing Contest and development of the international experience through the Euro-Mediterranean project Acting Diversity;
2014 - Teatro dell'Argine celebrates its twentieth anniversary with the project The Words and the City.
Nineteen years to see that little tiny event become the biggest festival of its kind in Italy, in numbers and participation: 155 theatre groups, presenting 127 performances, about 3,000 young actors aged 3 to 18, coming from across the region and, last year, also from Padua, Como, Vicenza, Savona, Brescia, Torino, Rome. More than this, hundreds of teachers and principals and over 13,000 people audience every year to give life to a small theatre in the province, which has become their home.
Nineteen years of celebration, playing, theatre, sharing, encouragement, teaching, nineteen years to challenge the world with a new way of watching and making culture inside and outside school.

The Theatre Contest

Since May 2001
The Festival of Schools is a Theatre Contest admitting, upon application, theatre groups of High Schools boys and girls. Registration is free. Participating groups will perform before a jury made up entirely of boys and girls, chosen among all schools in the competition. They will evaluate text and acting, difficulty and originality, costumes, sets and music of the competing shows. The jury is certainly one of the most beautiful things as well as the symbol of this festival dedicated to youngsters. At the end, the 1st award winning school will get a cash prize of € 1,500, as well as the right to participate in the 2015 Teatro Lab Festival, organized by Centro Teatrale Europeo Etoile in the Reggio Emilia Province: the school has to spend the money in cultural activities for its students.

The Theatre Contest Jury

Boys and girls aged 15 to 18. Sixty, more or less. May is the time for them to meet, rather than at the café or outside school, in front of a crumbling theatre in the suburbs. To watch other guys performing. To talk about theatre, for a long time. To reflect, evaluate, excite. Even for hours, sometimes. Why? Who or what compels them? Fourteen years ago, when we imagined a jury of teens should decide the winner of a Theatre Contest for young, we wondered, deep down, if we could make it. But young people always amaze you. Luckily.
How does the jury work?
The jury is composed of at least one juror from each school admitted to the contest. Each performance is evaluated by a quintet of jurors.
Immediately after the conclusion of each show, jurors must complete an evaluation form containing eight categories of judgment.
The vote takes place in two stages: first, each juror fills in the evaluation form immediately after the end of the show without any contact with the others. Second, all forms are shared with the other jurors and a discussion starts, in order to clarify or specify single evaluations.
After the discussion, a second vote is made: each juror can confirm or correct his/her previous judgment. Final score of each show is given by the arithmetic mean between the jurors’ evaluations.
Maximum score for each show – both prose and musicals – is 540.
For the purpose of the classification only the second vote is valid. The Festival winner, decreed by the jury of students, will be awarded a cash prize of € 1,500 plus a certificate and a plaque and the possibility of participating to Teatro Lab Festival in Reggio Emilia.
Second and third awarded schools will get a certificate and a plaque.
Finally, every year TdA’s Direction is awarding some special prizes for specific categories and/or with particular motivations.

The Writing Contest

editions 2013 and 2014
Teatro dell’Argine also challenges young talents on that very interesting field of art, which is writing. Writing as a manifestation of self, as an authentic staging of our own creativity and imagination, as a means to get in touch with the other on the crucial core of the word, today too often neglected and misunderstood. The Writing Contest is open to children and teens in Primary, Secondary and High Schools. You can enter the contest by writing a work of any kind, verse or prose: poetry and rhyme, little thoughts and theatrical compositions (just one scene or a short play), journals and songs, fairy tales and letters, novels and so on. Only constraint, the theme, which changes from year to year.
Big prizes are assigned by a panel of experts to winners in the three age categories: computers, games consoles, theatre workshops, mobile phones, iPods, books, CDs, DVDs and even journeys abroad!

The Visual Arts Contest

editions 2009-2012
The Visual Arts Contest had four editions in the Festival of Schools, all with huge success. Open to children and teens in Primary, Secondary and High Schools, it had its only constraint in the theme, which changed from year to year. The works could be realized by individuals or groups with any technique (drawing, painting, graffiti, collage, photography, video, comics...) and were judged by a panel of experts who awarded the winners, in the three age categories, big prizes: computers, games consoles, theatre workshops, mobile phones, iPods, books, CDs, DVDs and even journeys abroad!

The Twinning

The partnership with the Centre Etoile in Reggio Emilia goes on since years: the Festival of Schools hosts the show which won the last edition of Teatro Lab International Festival in Reggio Emilia; and the winners of our Theatre Contest win, among other things, the right to participate to Teatro Lab Festival!



Winners Archive

Festival of Schools is not only a moment of common celebration for young: since 2001 it is also a Theatre Contest for High Schools, which, year after year, assigned the winning school a prize of € 1,500, to be used for cultural activities for boys and girls.
From 2009 to 2012 the Festival also hosted a Visual Arts Contest, and then, in 2013 and 2014 a Writing Contest, open to children and teens in Primary, Secondary and High Schools.

Teatro dell'Argine Società Cooperativa Sociale | Sede legale via dei Gelsi, 17 | 40068 San Lazzaro di Savena - BOLOGNA | P.I. 02522171202