Firenza Guidi

Firenza Guidi is a writer-director and performance creator whose experience spans the globe. Born in Milan, Firenza left Italy in 1980 after graduating in Modern Languages from the University of Milan. She lived in Belfast until 1987 and then moved to Cardiff, Wales her current home base. Firenza has extensive training as a performer and singer from many international masters including Dario Fo, Philippe Gaulier, Ludwig Flaszen, Enrique Pardo, and Ida Kelarova. She also trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff where she has now been a guest teacher/director since 1995. Firenza has a PhD in 16th century tragedy from Queen's University (Belfast) and has been invited to give papers on her scholarly work in various Universities including Cardiff, Belfast, Liverpool, Indianapolis, Calcutta, Phoenix and Chicago. In 2003 Firenza completed an MA in Film at the international Film School Newport and won the NAHEMI prize as Creative Director of the Year with her short film If There Was Water, inspired by true events in WW2.

Currently Firenza is Artistic Director of ELAN Wales (European Live Arts Network) founded with David Murray in 1989. Since 2004 she has also directed the Frantoio, ELAN's sister organization and Centre for Performative Arts located in an ex-olive press in Fucecchio, Italy. From 1995 to 2000 she taught Writing for Performance at Cardiff University and has been holding regular workshops in Creative Writing in different parts of Europe, often as an integral part of her work as a performance creator. She has been Director in Residence for both the National Youth Theatre of Wales and NoFit State Circus, a Wales-based circus performance company. With NoFit State she directed ImMortal–coming out alive, winner of the 2004 Theatre in Wales Award for Best English Language production, and three different productions of Tabú. For years Firenza has collaborated as a teacher and director with international performance training centres including the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the University of Aberystwyth in Wales; the School of Stage Arts in Denmark and Butler University in Indianapolis, USA.

Firenza has created scores of performances in Wales, Europe, India, USA and Cuba. In Italy she has established her International Performance School promoted first by the Festival La Lune è Azzurra in San Miniato, Pisa and then, since 1996, by Fucecchio City Council, Florence. In the last few years her work as a writer, director, and performance creator has been developing through international seasons of work inspired by a specific theme or author. Recent seasons include: Hybrids (2000), 3 X Hamlet (2001), wwWoyzeck (2002), The Machine–when is a man/woman free? (2003), Out-of-place, inspired by the writings of José Saramago (2004), Borders, inspired by Kurt Vonnegut's novels (2005–2006), and Tabú, inspired by the writings of Gabriel Garcìa Márquez (2006–2010).

Firenza has spent the last fifteen years creating theatre and researching and developing her own performance style and training method. The creation of the "performance-montage", a presentation constructed under the eyes of the audience, and her unique, site-specific productions have won her an international reputation. The power and strength of her methods lie in uncovering the mechanisms that make meaning inside a text. Her work creates an exhilarating and provoking experience in which the creative process is itself performance and the audience become eye-witness to a constantly evolving product.

photo P. Motisi