Visual, emotional and immersive theatre. Space is the protagonist in TPO’s shows with its images, colours and sounds. Thanks to the use of interactive technologies every show is transformed into a ‘sensitive’ environment where the thin border between art and play can be experienced. Dancers, performers and the audience itself interact with each other exploring new expressive forms that go beyond language and cultural barriers. TPO shows are renowned for using big visual sceneries which transform into interactive theatrical spaces, thanks to the use of sensors and digital technologies; this is what makes these shows accessible to a vast international audience.
TPO and interactive theatre
TPO company’s shows are ideated by a varied team of authors, able to use different languages (mainly theatre, dance and visual arts) and are characterized by the use of images projected onto big surfaces, but especially by their sets of interactive technologies. The stage space is conceived as a dynamic and reactive environnment able to involve the audience in individual or group actions: it is provided with sensors (infrared video cameras, lights and microphones) which allow performers and young audiences to modulate sounds or interact with images through movement and voice. Thanks to these technologies ‘sensitive’ theatrical environments are created where children can explore the stage space and in this way discover that this ‘responds’ to their actions ‘in a certain way’; an active relationship is created between them and the environment, a form of dialogue with space, forms and sounds, which becomes an artistic experience. Also the role of performers in TPO’s shows takes on a particular meaning: our dancers ‘paint’ and ‘play music’ on stage using their bodies or movements thanks to the interactive effects, but especially they invite kids to enter in touch with space and explore it, with a theatrical approach which privileges the use of body and of the sense of looking.
Francesco Gandi, Davide Venturini (artistic direction)
Elsa Mersi (digital design) Spartaco Cortesi (sound design)
Rossano Monti (engineering)
TPO is based in Prato (Italy) at Teatro Fabbrichino and works as a company in residence at Teatro Metastasio Stabile della Toscana. The company’s directors are Davide Venturini and Francesco Gandi , and they work together with Elsa Mersi (digital design), Spartaco Cortesi (sound design), Rossano Monti and Martin Von Gunten (engineering) with their distinctive visual and sound contributions.
Between 2002 and 2007, TPO devised the ‘CCC [children’s cheering carpet]’ concept: a large dance mat, ‘able’ to animate sounds and images through pressure sensors. A ‘magic’ carpet where, through movement and touch, it is possibile to explore imaginary gardens devised to create access places in the world of art.
On this basis three virtual gardens have been created (Japanese, Oriental and Italian). Thanks to the success of this trilogy, TPO has taken part in numerous prestigious festivals worldwide extending its collaborations as far as Australia, where in 2009 ‘Saltbush’ was created, with Italian and aboriginal artists.
Between 2008 and 2009 the group continued its research developing new technologies through the use of motion-tracking and the building of interactive props able to make the theatrical relationship between the body, the stage and images more sophisticated and material. Hence two shows were created, ‘Butterflies’ and ‘Barocco’, in which the audience is immersed in a refined tactile, and fairytale-like landscape.
In 2010 the group devoted its attention to the world of music, creating the atelier called ‘Play Please!’. In this project the stage is composed of light beams and luminous props which, with the use of sensors, act as imaginary musical instruments, designed to arouse the curiosity of children to explore, play and create.
Between 2010 and 2011 the company realized ‘Kindur, the adventurous life of sheep in Iceland’, a project in which also spectators from the audience can interact on stage. Three dancers interpret the saga of the seasonal journey of sheep in Iceland while kids, wearing a ‘magic’ woollen heart, take part in a more direct and immersive way in this charming adventure in nature.
In 2013, the show “Babayaga” debuts, with scenes inspired by the eponymous character illustrations created by the french artist Rébecca Dautremer. In the same year TPO Company presents BLEU!, a coproduction with Teatro Metastasio Stabile della Toscana in collaboration with Marseille-Provence 2013 European Capital of Culture.