Italian Language and Poetry workshop
with migrants studying Italian at CPIA
-Centro per l'Istruzione degli adulti -
(Centre for Adult Education) 
Colleferro - Rome, Italy
22 May - 1 June 2016

For two weeks we worked with the students of the Centre of Adult learning of Colleferro, where migrants of different origin, linguistic level and legal status are taught Italian in order to gain legal documents to stay in Europe or to be able to access professional qualifications. Students were on average 20-25 coming from all parts of the world, namely West and Central Africa, Bangladesh, Latin and Central America, Asia and Eastern Europe.


The purpose of the workshop was to help students with their pronunciation and articulation of Italian through the use of poetry. We decided to work with poetry because of the musicality and rhythmical score inherent to verses, which would have helped us in the work on pronunciation and intonation. Indeed the project did not focus on the teaching of the meanings of words or poetry but it was rather a journey within the sounds of Italian, and particularly the sounds of complex and at times archaic Italian. By focusing on sound and rhythm as opposed to meaning we were able to offer students the opportunity to experience and owe a very high and refine register of the language, which is otherwise unaccessible to them; the aim of this was to make them part of the most beautiful linguistic heritage of Italy. 

As in all our workshop much of the daily routine was also focused on giving participants elements to improve their body-voice connection, offering them time and space to free their own vocal and verbal expression, through which then engage in compositional interactions with the rest of the group. This aspect of the workshop resulted in a much increased interaction and communication across linguistic, geographical and gender groups, with a visible increased sense of community amongst the participants, who until then had interacted and socialised with great divisions and mistrust. 

The experience was extremely important for MEDEBER TEATRO as it allowed us to engage directly with the physical and psychological component of migration which has been our topic of investigation for the last two years. 


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