27110 - History of Directing

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Giacomo Pedini

  • Credits 12

  • SSD L-ART/05

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Drama, Art and Music Studies (cod. 0956)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

No poverty Quality education Gender equality Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student: - knows the history of the theories and poetics that have crossed the theatre performance in the twentieth century, with particular attention to the elements that help to define the notion of stage direction and its protagonists; - has skills on historical and theoretical knowledge tools to read and analyze a theatre performance in its set of scenic components.

Course contents

Servants in the limelight. A piece of Giorgio Strehler

One of the leading figures of directing theater in Italy, in the strong and for a long time dominant form of the so-called "regia critica", the figure of Giorgio Strehler went through much of the second half of the 20th century, with great media hype - and with an influence on widespread imagery - and with as many criticisms. One hundred years after his birth, retracing a part of his life as a director, from his wartime beginnings, to the foundation of the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, to his temporary and unsuccessful leaving during the 1968 protest, becomes an opportunity to focus on a certain way of the Italian direction of the last century. In fact, in our country the direction appeared late, it quickly crystallized in the young republican theatrical institutions and quickly became the object of criticism and a source of discussion with the aim of its articulated overcoming.
With the title of Servants in the limelight. A piece of Giorgio Strehler, this year's course, in addition to addressing the historiographical and theoretical fundamentals of the direction in the West, will focus on Strehlerian staging linked to the "slums" and "servants", or to the theatrical story that Strehler made of servants and proletarians. Naturally, an in-depth study of Strehler's various staging will then give the opportunity to develop comparisons and openings to coeval and contemporary directors.

First module: during the first thirty hours, the main historiographical and technical questions will be addressed, with particular attention to the birth of the direction between the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries and its progressive success in the first half of the twentieth century. Analysis of specifical stagings (with images, texts and videos) and theoretical, historical and stylistic reflections will be conducted, naturally focused for the development of the discourse in the second module.

Second module: in the second thirty hours, it will be held most of the seminar work with the students, who, divided into several groups, will deepen some aspects and works of Giorgio Strehler, presented by the teacher with the use of texts, videos and images, as well as comparisons to other contemporary staging.

Non-attending students are required to agree on a program with the teacher (they are considered not attending students present at less than 80% of lessons).


A) Compulsory reading list both for students who attend the lessons and for those who do not (attending the lessons means attending at least 80% of them):

  • L. Mango, Il Novecento del teatro. Una storia, Roma, Carocci, 2019.

  • M. Schino, La nascita della regia teatrale, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2003.

  • A. Bentoglio, Venti lezioni su Giorgio Strehler, Imola (BO), Cuepress, 2020 (capp. 1-11).

  • C. Meldolesi,I fondamenti del teatro italiano, Bulzoni, Roma, 2008 (pp. 259-298).

  • C. Goldoni, Il servitore di due padroni, a cura di V. Gallo, Venezia, Marsilio, 2011.

  • M. Gor'kij,Bassifondi, traduzione e cura di A. Farina, Firenze, Clichy, 2016.

  • B. Brecht,L'anima buona del Sezuan, a cura di E. Castellani, Torino, Einaudi, 2007.

  • P. Weiss, Cantata del fantoccio lusitano, Torino, Einaudi, 1973.

Some changes in this bibliography will be possible after the beginning of lessons.


B) Students who attend less than 80% of the lessons are furthermore required to study a second text of their choice among the list above:

  • R. Alonge, Il teatro dei registi. Scopritori di enigmi e poeti della scena, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2006.

  • Il teatro di regia. Genesi ed evoluzione 1870-1950 [2004], a cura di U. Artioli, Roma, Carocci, 2018.

  • F. Perrelli, La seconda creazione. Fondamenti della regia teatrale, Torino, Utet, 2005.

  • L. Squarzina, Il romanzo della regia. Duecento anni di trionfi e sconfitte, Ospedaletto di Pisa (PI), Pacini, 2005.


NOTE: Any changes to this program must be agreed with the teacher.


Some possible other writings will be available as an attachment on these pages after the start of the course.



Teaching methods

The course will start on Tuesday 21st September and it will end on Wednesday 15th December.

Lectures will be scheduled on Monday (5-7pm), Tuesday (3pm-5pm) and Wednesday (3pm-5pm).

The week 1st-8th November will be a teaching pause, according to the calendar.

Compatibly with the health situation, it is also possible to attend at theatrical performances scheduled during the lessons.
Finally, as possible, directors/playwrights/actors will be invited for short testimony speeches.




Assessment methods

The final examination will consist of:

1) an oral discussion that will focus on the topics covered in class and on the volumes indicated in the bibliography;

2) a presentation of a written essay that starts from one of the topics discussed in class, with a length of about 10,000 characters (including spaces) to be delivered to the teacher by e-mail at least two days before the final examination. For both attending and non-attending students, the subject of the essay must be agreed in advance with the teacher.

The oral discussion is aimed to evaluate the critical and methodological abilities developed by the student, who will be invited to confront with the texts read with during the course. Particularly the candidate's abilities valued will be: 1) safely discussing of the various contributions indicated in the bibliography, 2) interpreting with pertinence the different moments of development of the language of stage direction, understood in its unfolding in time, 3) analyzing a show with coherence.

The evaluation of the written essay is aimed to verify the student's ability to elaborate an independent investigation in the context of the history of stage direction and to set the results in writing.

The oral discussion and the written essay will be evaluated jointly as expressions of different ways and skills of the same knowledge of the history of stage direction.
If one or more plagiarisms are found inside the written essay, the final examination cannot take place.

NOTE: the ascertainment of the fact that any of the texts included in the bibliography has not been studied by the student (without prior agreement with the teacher) determines the immediate cancellation of the examination.

Teaching tools

Iconographic and video materials will be screened during the lessons. Additional text materials will always be read during the course of lessons. Shows and similar will be proposed to the students, as well as the relative calendar and the modalities of participation, during the lesson period.
It is obvious that the attendance to shows and performances will be considered in relation to the present health alarm.

Office hours

See the website of Giacomo Pedini