Italy's Mittelfest announce International Theatre Trilogy To Celebrate First Cross-Border European Capital of Culture 2025

24 January 2024

  • Inabili alla Morte (Unable to die) consists of three productions in Italian and Slovenian that will be performed in both countries between May 2024 and September 2025. 
  • The trilogy explores the themes of how war has affected the division and formation of parts of Europe’s borders.
  • Bordering cities Nova Gorica in Slovenia and Gorizia in Italy presented a joint bid to win European Capital of Culture 2025 to mark their shared history as one town in Western Slovenia.
  • The project is a production from Italian Arts organisation Mittelfest with the Slovene National Theatre Nova Gorica (SNG Nova Gorica) to mark the first cross-border winners, in a commission by Friuli Venezia Giulia Region.
  • All three plays will be performed at GO!2025, a yearlong programme of film, theatre, dance, art and music which will take place in Nova Gorica.

The three plays that make up the Inabili all Morte (Unable to Die) trilogy created to mark areas in Italy and Slovenia being awarded the European Capital of Culture 2025 have been announced. Spanning sixty years of European history, themes of war and conflict and its repercussions on Central and Eastern Europe’s borders link the three productions. The first part of the trilogy will open this May in Italy and is an adaptation of Austrian author Joseph Roth’s 1930’s novel The Emperor’s Tomb, which follows the Trotta family’s struggle in post First World War Vienna to the rise of the Nazi Party. The second and third plays are new works from Italian and Slovenian writers who imagine how the novels’ themes would have progressed, first in 1960s Yugoslavia with the fear surrounding the building of the Berlin Wall and ending in the 1990s and the mood of optimism following the fall of the Wall. The final two parts of the trilogy will open in November in Slovenia and September 2025 in Italy respectively.

The project was devised by Giacomo Pedini, the Artistic Director of Mittelfest and director of two of the productions, who has brought together organisations and artists from both countries and chose works that reflect the area’s fascinating heritage and experience of the historical and geographical upheavals of Europe. Gorizia was once the only city in the Italian-Slovenian area under Austrian government until the end of World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It then fell under Italian sovereignty and jurisdiction until 1945 when it was split into two with one part in Italy (Gorizia) and one in Yugoslavia (Nova Gorica). Today, people can walk unchecked over the border from one country to the other.

The first of the three productions La Cripta dei Cappuccini (The Emperor’s Tomb) will premiere on 11th May at Teatro Comunale Giuseppe Verdi in Gorizia, Italy. This will be followed by Cercando la lingua perduta (In the search of the lost language) in November 2024 at the SNG Nova Gorica in Nova Gorica, Slovenia and finally L'alba dopo la fine della storia (Dawn after the end of history) which will open in September 2025 at Teatro Comunale Giuseppe Verdi in Gorizia, Italy.

La Cripta dei Cappuccini (The Emperor’s Tomb) conceived and directed by Giacomo Pedini is an adaptation by Jacopo Giacomoni of Joseph Roth’s 1938 novel of the same name. The novel was a sequel to his masterpiece The Radetzky March which explored the Trotta family experiencing the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 1850s with the Second War of Italian Independence and culminating with World War I. The Emperor’s Tomb focuses on the youngest and most reckless member of the Trotta family, Francesco, who struggles to find purpose in a decaying Vienna society coming to terms with the devastating aftermath of the First World War, alongside the looming threat of the Nazi Party. Actor, comedian, director and author Natalino Balasso will play Francesco and the production will feature original music commissioned by composer Cristian Carrara performed and recorded by the FVG Orchestra.

Cercando la lingua perduta (In the search of the lost language) is a new work by Slovenian writer and director Goran Vojnović. Set in the 1960s, the play explores the post Second World War Iron Curtain dividing Europe amidst desires for escape and revolt. 

Finally, L'alba dopo la fine della storia (Dawn after the end of history), an original text by Paolo Di Paolo, is set in the 1990s in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The play interrogates the illusion of perpetual peace and prosperity, with the opening of new international relations and seemingly unlimited access to wealth and success.

In September 2025, the full trilogy of plays will be staged as part of GO!2025, a cross-border cultural and artistic programme designed to overcome the physical and cultural barriers between Nova Gorica, Slovenia and Gorizia, Italy. The three plays will also be developed into three radio dramas in Italian and Slovenian co-produced by Rai Friuli Venezia Giulia for Rai Radio3 and Radio Slovenija broadcast between May 2024 and September 2025. Additionally, the music commissioned by Cristian Carrara for all three productions will be available to stream on Spotify in conjunction with each performance and the three text will be curated into an anthology book published in Italian and Slovenian.

Giacomo Pedini, Artistic Director of Mittelfest and creator of the project who will also direct the two Italian productions said "Nova Gorica and Gorizia’s appointment as joint European’s Capital of Culture has presented us an incredible opportunity for cross border collaboration to show our history and heritage. The trilogy will reflect the overall aim of GO! 2025 of giving voice to the area’s combined heritage and overcoming physical and cultural barriers and working towards a positive future."

Mittelfest produces international and multidisciplinary festivals of theatre, music, dance and circus, operating as a showcase for live entertainment in Italy and a cultural organization rooted in the territory of Cividale del Friuli, in Friuli Venezia Giulia region. Created in 1991, in a time of renewed dialogue between East and West Europe, the association acts as a bridge between Italy and Central Europe. Today, with theatre, music and dance, Mittelfest promotes dialogue between 27 European countries: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine and Hungary.

The Slovene National Theatre Nova Gorica is a subsidised national theatre located in Slovenia and is a member of the European Theatre Convention. The theatre organised the Gorica Meeting of Small Stages festival (later the Alpe Adria Theatre Meeting), which importantly influenced the development of the theatre and its affirmation in Slovenia and internationally. The position of Nova Gorica has significantly influenced the repertoire and artistic orientation of the theatre. The theatre’s repertoire consists of contemporary and classic plays and values openness to new research and experimentation. In 2004, the theatre was declared an institution of national importance.

More info: @Mittelfest | #mittelfest |