Lampedusa Mirrors

The Project

Lampedusa Mirrors
Workshops and artistic exchanges between Tunisia and Italy
in partnership with Eclosion d’Artistes (Tunisia)
in collaboration with Institut Supérieur D'Art Dramatique and Association L'Art Vivant, Tunis in the frame of programme Tandem/Shaml – Cultural Managers Exchange, an initiative of European Cultural Foundation (Amsterdam), MitOst (Berlin), Al Mawred Al Thaqafy (Cairo) and Anadolu Kültür (Istanbul), with support from Robert Bosch Stiftung (Germany), DOEN Foundation (Netherlands) and Mimeta (Norway)
June 2014 - March 2015
An island: Lampedusa. Lampedusa the symbol, Lampedusa the mirage, Lampedusa the nightmare. Lampedusa mirrors dreams and frustrations, hopes and stereotypes of two lands, Tunisia and Italy, united and divided by the Mediterranean Sea, with the small island of Sicily in the very middle.
Two workshops with theatre professionals and teenagers in the two countries, to sound out the effectiveness of theatre as a tool for dialogue among ages, cultures, generations, skills.
Two exchange workshops on artistic, cultural and organizational methodologies, experiences and working tools among European and Arab artists and cultural workers.
Two communities mirroring one another through the Mediterranean and dialoguing through their artists at the time of crisis and springs.
An investigation performed with theatre tools inside different communities – Lampedusa citizens, teens of Tunisian suburbs and Bolognese schools, professional artists at different levels – to understand what “Lampedusa” means outside mass-media oversimplification and from two perspectives facing one another.
A documentary about this investigation and the whole journey, collecting images of the rehearsals and performances in the two Countries and words of the protagonists: teenagers, artists, educators on the two shores of the Mediterranean, and young people aged 11 to 30, who have gone personally through the experience of sea crossing, or dream to do it.
The journal of the whole path, first published online on in the section Diari dall’estero (Journals from Abroad), now available in Italian and English in the book Lampedusa Mirrors, freely downloadable here.


The project intends at the same time to build and break, build competences and break prejudices: exchange techniques and methodologies with professionals from the cultural field, but also interview territories and their communities about their contradictions and frustrations, dreams and needs; target specific beneficiaries to work with, but also let the activities have an influence and an impact on communities, in order to lighten isolation of certain suburbs or social tension, now extremely high even in the wealthier areas of European cities.
  • Micaela Casalboni and Giulia Franzaresi from TdA lead a 10-days workshop at the Maison de Jeunes de Khaznadar, a popular neighborhood in Tunis (October-November 2014). In the first stage of the workshop, they worked with 5 young professional actors, coming from the Institut Supérieur d’Art Dramatique in Tunis, and 10 educational workers, in order to pass over to them methodologies and practical tools to practice theatre with teens of most disadvantaged city areas. In the second stage, the workshop also involved boys and girls from different popular neighborhoods; with them, professionals had the opportunity to practice what they learned. This was also a unique opportunity to listen to desires and frustrations of the young Tunisians, those who often decide to go out to sea towards Lampedusa, having in their eyes a certain image of Italy, an image which almost always reveals to be fake and disappointing. On October 31st 2014, the group of 45 among professionals and teens gave a final performance open to the audience in two popular areas: at the Maison de Jeunes in Hraria and at Mass’Art Theatre.
  • Moez Mrabet (director of Institut Supérieur d’Art Dramatique in Tunis) and Monem Chouayet (actor and expert of integration theatre) lead a 10-days workshop in San Lazzaro di Savena (January 17th to 25th). In the first stage, Tunisian artists teach their own techniques to some actors from TdA; in the second stage, a group of Italian teens is involved in the work. Working with boys and girls is important also to sound out what their perception of migrants is, of all those boys and girls, often their same age, who decided to come to Italy (or whose parents decided to do so), and now are sharing with them same school desks. What reasons are pushing them? What desires do they chase? Are we sure we know? The interviewing and listening work started in Tunisia is precious in this step, of course. This workshop has a final performance open to the audience on January 25th 2015.
In the same workshops days, meetings of workers from Eclosion d’Artistes and TdA are organized, to exchange artistic, cultural and organizational methodologies, experiences and working tools. The placement of each partner in the partner’s country is also the occasion to visit the hosting organization and getting a clearer idea of cultural life and artistic opportunities of the partners’ city and country.
Interviews and meetings are organized all along the project period.
First interviews are made to Lampedusa citizens, association members, tourists, migrants, children and teens, to let the island come out of its abnormal condition of being only “a news on television” (Ascanio Celestini). Listening and giving voice to its inhabitants means trying to take the island back to reality, a complex and problematic reality as many others and, as such, irreducible to the most common labels. In particular, Sabir Festival (organized by ARCI in Lampedusa from October 2nd to 5th 2014), hosting two shows by TdA, was the occasion to better know this reality and get useful contacts and information. Artists and teens in the two countries are interviewed as well, to get a double perspective on the main issues, from the two shores of the Mediterranean.
Video documentary
All project steps – workshops, performances, exchanges and interviews – are filmed and edited in a documentary, that will be shown in the final event in San Lazzaro di Savena in March 2015. The film will be shown also in Tunis, Bologna and hopefully Lampedusa and in many more cities, with the aim of raising awareness among participants and their communities on the project issues.
In March 2015, Teatro dell’Argine hosts the Final Event of international programme Tandem/Shaml.
From March 19th to 23rd, more than 50 partners from 12 cities of 7 different European and Arab countries meet in San Lazzaro to conclude their projects with discussions, exhibitions and performances. ITC Studio will be the hub of representatives of artistic and cultural organizations from Alexandria, Athens, Beirut, Berlin, Bonn, Cairo, Istanbul, Marseille, Perdaxius, Tblisi, Tunis and of course San Lazzaro.
In this occasion, the project Lampedusa Mirrors is also having its final stage: Tunisian and Italian artists, together with Italian teens, will give life to a short performance mixing results of Tunisian and Italian workshops in one show. The video documentary is also shown, together with other films and documentaries on March 21st 2015.
Tandem Meetings
In the Tandem programme, an important role is played by meetings involving all 8 partner Tandems, e.g. the representatives of 16 artistic and cultural organizations from Europe and the Arab world. Meetings are occasions for discussion, working on projects and training for cultural managers.
First meeting was in Tunis in March 2014; kick-off meeting of single projects was in Berlin in June 2014; interim meeting was in Beirut in November 2014. Final meeting is in San Lazzaro di Savena (Italy) in March 2015, 19th to 23rd.

Issues and contents

The project’s main challenge is facing the issue of migration starting from memories, witnesses, opinions and emotions of local communities – especially teenagers and young – in the country of departure (Tunisia) and in the country of arrival (Italy). From the Tunisian side, Lampedusa represents the dream, or mirage, of a better life and a more satisfying future, and this perspective is so strong it even challenges death in the Mediterranean. From the Italian side, the migrating person is perceived more and more as a social problem, when not as a danger, and the idea of crowds arriving in waves, invading Italy and worsening the already tough crisis, is dominant. From both sides, it’s necessary to start breaking stereotypes and prejudices about “The Other”, to relieve social tension and foster mutual understanding.
The concept at the basis of the whole project is using theatre as such a tool towards knowledge and mutual respect, as an effective means of free expression and communication and also as a possible professional future. And to use it especially with teenagers and young, exactly those who dream of emigrating and those who are suspicious towards immigrants. Those young, having better professional tools in the culture field, can later help conveying this new perception working directly on their communities. The video documentary will also be a long-term output in this direction.


Eclosion d’Artistes (“incubator of artists”) is an organization based in Tunis, whose objective is creating occasions for training young Tunisian artists and, moreover, provide them know-how and technical support to pass over logistic, bureaucratic and funding obstacles to their projects. Seen the activities to be implemented in Lampedusa Mirrors, Eclosion d’Artistes decided to involve ISAD, Institut Supérieur d’Art Dramatique (National Academy for Dramatic Arts) and the association L'Art Vivant, gathering together actors and directors to realize shows and workshops, both from Tunis.


From October 20th to November 2nd 2014 | Training, exchange and theatre workshop with young actors, educators, experts, young people from popular neighborhoods of the city.
Lead by Teatro dell’Argine.
San Lazzaro di Savena (BO)
From January 17th to 25th 2015 at ITC Studio | Workshop with actors and teachers from Teatro dell'Argine.
From January 21st to 25th 2015 at ITC Studio | Workshop with actors and teachers from Teatro dell'Argine and teens and young aged 15 to 21.
January 25th 2015 at ITC Teatro h. 21.00 | Final workshop performance open to the audience.
Lead by Eclosion d'Artistes – Association L’Art Vivant.
From March 19th to 23rd 2015 at ITC Studio and Intercultural Centre “Massimo Zonarelli” | Final Event of programme Tandem/Shaml and Lampedusa Mirrors.


TdA and Eclosion d’Artistes had the opportunity to meet in the frame of programme Tandem/Shaml, an initiative of European Cultural Foundation (Amsterdam), MitOst (Berlin), Al Mawred Al Thaqafy (Cairo) and Anadolu Kültür (Istanbul), with support from Robert Bosch Stiftung (Germany), DOEN Foundation (The Netherlands) and Mimeta (Norway).
The programme fosters training for cultural managers and the creation of tandems, i.e. partnerships between two cultural or artistic organizations, one based in Europe and one in the Arab region. Each tandem applies for a common project, which is evaluated and eventually selected to receive a grant for its implementation. Lampedusa Mirrors by TdA and Eclosion d’Artistes was selected along with other 7 projects, conceived and realized by organizations based in Egypt, Greece, Georgia, Turkey, France, Germany, Lebanon, Syria and Italy.
Know more about Tandem/Shaml here.
Know more about other Tandem projects here.


  • 2 partner organizations, Teatro dell’Argine and Eclosion d’Artistes, with their artists and organizers, in collaboration with Institut Supérieur d’Art Dramatique and Association L’Art Vivant in Tunis and schools and youth centres in Bologna and Tunis.
  • 15 professionals from Tunisia and 10 professionals from Italy, trained with specific theatre tools in order to make them able to work with teenagers, to get more working opportunities, to help their own communities grow in the cultural sector.
  • 1 group of Tunisian teenagers and 1 group of Italian teenagers, interviewed to better know their life conditions and their perception of project issues, and practically involved in theatre workshops and final performances.
  • Lampedusa inhabitants, be them citizens, tourists or migrants living on the island and interviewed on the project issues.
  • Local communities of the young participating to the project in Italy and Tunisia, involved to foster knowledge and discussion on the project issues, with the aim of fighting prejudices and stereotypes and of working on cultural inclusion of territories through their young inhabitants.


Project Journal

The journal of the whole path, first published online on in the section Diari dall’estero (Journals from Abroad), now available in Italian and English in the book Lampedusa Mirrors, freely downloadable here.


Lampedusa Mirrors project gave birth to the installation Lampedusa Mirrors: theatre, sounds, images.
Lampedusa: an island.
Lampedusa is the symbol, the mirage, the nightmare, the mirror of dreams, frustrations, hopes and stereotypes of two lands: Tunisia and Italy. Lampedusa Mirrors is an investigation An investigation performed with theatre tools in different communities that brought to:

a documentary illustrating the project journey through images of rehearsals and shows realised in both countries, and through the words of teenagers, artists, educators and youngster from 10 to 30 who experienced sea crossing from Tunisia to Italy or dream to
a photo exhibition showing hands, eyes, emotions, cooperation and exchange work
a theatre performance with teenagers, youngsters and professional actors, in front of and among the audience, involving it actively
a journal in Italian and English published on Il Girovago, telling the story of this exchange
an installation composed by music and an acting voice for spreading data about migration flows between Italy and Tunisia.
Lampedusa Mirrors: theatre, sounds, images is one of the twelve project selected for the European project AMITIECODE, through a call for selection with the aim of finding and enhancing art best practices and experiences about migration and development. All selected projects have been presented in the frame of Terra di Tutti Art Festival, including art works (films, shows, installations) on social issues coming from the south of the world. In order to celebrate the European Year for Development, this ninth edition of the Festival (traditionally a movie festival) became multidisciplinary and took place in Bologna from October 7th to 11th 2015.

Lampedusa Mirrors was included in the Festival as a performance and a multimedia installation on October 11th in Palazzo d’Accursio courtyard, and the Lampedusa Mirrors documentary was screened on October 11th at 2.30 p.m. at Cinema Lumière.
Project financed in the frame of the European project AMITIE CODE – Capitalizing On DEvelopment


Teatro dell’Argine
Micaela Casalboni
Eclosion d’Artistes
Cyrine Gannoun
Institut Supérieur d’Art Dramatique Tunis
Moez Mrabet
Association L'Art Vivant
Moez Mrabet
Hatem Hassan Salama

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