The JULIO CORTAZAR THEATRE stands on the right bank of the Po, the river that marks the boundary between the Emilia and Veneto regions of northern Italy, in a suburb of Ferrara called Pontelagoscuro. The building, dating back to the immediate post-war years, was originally intended as a grain store, but in 1949 was converted a cinema and function hall known as the Astra, later to become CinePo in the mid-80s. In 1989 Ferrara Town Council bought the property and handed it over to the Teatro Nucleo Cooperative for their theatrical productions and intensive teaching activities.
At the end of 1999, renovation works began at the theatre, with funds from Ferrara Town Council and the Emilia Romagna Region (made possible by the fact that the Teatro Nucleo Cooperative was recognised as a Production Centre of regional importance). In 2003, after a laborious building process, Teatro Nucleo resumed its activities in the building, before the works were fully completed. In 2005 the theatre was inaugurated, named after the great Argentinian writer JULIO CORTAZAR, to whom Teatro Nucleo owes its roots; to coincide with the inauguration, a twinning agreement (worked for intensely by Teatro Nucleo) between the cities of Ferrara and Buenos Aires was signed and Argentinian artists Omar Gasparini and Ana Serralta were commissioned to paint the two huge murals that now cover the theatre’s outside walls. The mural on the north wall depicts the history and creative life of the theatre company, while the one on the south-west wall, painted with the active participation of the Pontelagoscuro community, recalls Pontelagoscuro before and after the allied bombing that rased it to the ground in 1944.
In 2008, Ferrara Town Council, drawing on a regional fund for recognised theatre organisations, provided the theatre with fixtures (retractable seating system with 200 seats) and technical equipment (set of lights with two motorised stage lamps, sound system and folding stage of size 6mX8mX0,70m). The building, with offices, dressing rooms and toilets, has a multi-function room for plays (about 25 metres x 18 x 8 in height) on the ground floor and a rehearsal room on the first floor.
The cooperative also bought an additional building with its own funds in Via Isola Bianca, which it uses as a warehouse and garage.
The JULIO CORTAZAR THEATRE is run by the Teatro Nucleo Cooperative and also houses the CETT Drama Therapy Centre and School for Drama Workers in Social Care, the ONLUS VersoSud nonprofit association and the Theatre and Community Association, formed by the Pontelagoscuro Community Theatre Group and Community Women. As well as staging theatrical productions related to the various creative activities of the resident group, the theatre is also hosts an annual theatre event and a number of permanent courses and workshops, including those run by the School for Drama Workers in Social Care, “The Shamanic Actor”, the “Atlas” Workshop, the “Talking Body” Theatre Dance Workshop and the Circus Theatre children’s workshop, run together with the Broken Shoes Company. Theatre events, performances and artist residencies are also organised.