The Accademia Teatro Dimitri is a professional theater conservatory located in Verscio, near Locarno. Close to Monte Verità in Ascona, which became famous worldwide for the experiences of avant-garde artists of the early twentieth century, the region of the Terre di Pedemonte provides a context and an unparalleled atmosphere, a fountain of inspiration and beauty. This is a place in which the students are totally immersed in their practice and artistic research, inspired by the international ambiance which unites students and teachers from twenty different countries.
The training with a specialization in Physical Theatre offers a unique path for students, with the goal of developing their creativity and their personality, as well as the acquisition and deepening of artistic techniques. The pedagogy of the Academy has established itself over the years, and takes its inspiration from the great masters and innovators of the twentieth century, among others: Rudolf Laban, Michael Chekhov, and Peter Brook, all the way through to the present, contemporary art scene.
The campus of the Accademia Teatro Dimitri, surrounded by stimulating natural beauty, stands out both for the intimacy of its environment and the international scope of its student body. It is characterized by the intensity of exchange of experiences and opinions, and by a very personal and direct relationship with the teachers. The intercultural component, including linguistic pluralism, is very present, and creates an enriching environment for study and work.
The Accademia Teatro Dimitri is affiliated with SUPSI (University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland), and offers Bachelor and Master degree programs as well as courses for continuing education, each of which is internationally recognized. All courses are part of the formative education of contemporary theater based on the expression of the body.
The Department of Research documents the development of multiple forms of physical theater, placing them in their historical contexts, and offers innovative approaches for training and professional practice. The Accademia also offers numerous theatrical activities for the local community and external collaborators, courses and workshops for schools, organizations, companies and individuals, and assistance in professional employment for graduates.
In 1975 Dimitri, the “Clown of Ascona”, together with his wife Gunda and the actor and pedagogue Richard Weber, founded the theatre school in Verscio, specializing in the training of physical theatre. The idea of the founders was to bring together an unprecedented approach to different theater and circus traditions: from the Commedia dell’Arte to the comedic numbers of the clown, from pantomime to modern dance. This approach reflected the trend that began in the 60s in theater practice, of breaking down the barriers separating two fields, the first related to theater of prose and the second, performing arts focusing on movement. The training consisted in the beginning of a three-year course of study in which they were given gymnastic lessons specifically for the actor, theatrical improvisation, dance, mask construction and acting, makeup artistry and clowning. Later, they added courses in pantomime, rhythm, choral singing, theory and history of theater.
Since 2006 the school became university affiliated, and is now part of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI), offering a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, a Master of Arts in Theater / Physical Theatre since 2008, and courses in Advanced Studies since 2014.