Communication of Cultural Heritage Through Performing Art: Theatre and Memories of Former Mental Asylums


Traditional theatre performances contain many other arts such as singing, acting, and dancing, consisting of diverse design processes including masks, costumes, people, stories, and place settings. They are perfect examples of synthesis of arts that create a perfect dialogue between space and body helping people to feel, empathize, and experience the culture, history, and the place for themselves and others. This paper discusses the power of theatre as a 'total art' to communicate difficult memories and tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The former mental hospitals and mental illness in history are problematic heritage contents in terms of valorization and communication, and they become a challenge requiring new and creative strategies to share with citizens. Besides, most of these huge heritage complexes have become completely or partially abandoned and stigmatized due to their recent past. Starting with the power of theater performances in communication, the paper focuses on research-based theatre as an artistic methodology in heritage communication and its appropriateness to be applied in marginal unspoken memories. ‘Chille de la Balanza', an Italian Florence-based theatre collective, and their performances dedicated to Italian former lunatic hospitals as the places of human marginalization and containment, and their works related to mental illness as unsettling parts of history with a varied number of individual testimonies and unspoken difficult memories, will be discussed to show the success of theatre in heritage communication.

Author Information
Gozde Yildiz, University of Siena, Italy
Francesca Bianchi, University of Siena, Italy

Paper Information
Conference: BAMC2023
Stream: Communication

This paper is part of the BAMC2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Yildiz G., & Bianchi F. (2023) Communication of Cultural Heritage Through Performing Art: Theatre and Memories of Former Mental Asylums ISSN: 2435-9475 – The Barcelona Conference on Arts, Media & Culture 2023: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon