The Italian Almanac

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Takeaway Theatre

Italy has launched the world's first 'takeaway theatre' in which people 'order' an actor just like pizza to perform anything ranging from Dante to street theatre. The actors, all professionals, come to people's homes and put on one-man shows and recitals. All customers have to do is put the actor up overnight and give him dinner and breakfast. Houses must be big enough to accommodate audiences of at least 12, said organisers at the Ligurian Riviera resort of Porto Venere.

The performances are free of charge. "Large houses with gardens are ideal, of course, but any place will do at a pinch," said organiser Marisa Sergi. "The only condition is being able to get the audience in". Oreste Valente, the art director of Porto Venere's summer arts festival, pointed out that "putting up performers has never been a problem". "One actor ended up happily in a hammock on a terrace".

Valente came up with the idea along with a drama association in the nearby port of La Spezia. The aim is to spread interest in the theatre and get audiences involved in shows. After five 'test runs' last year, organisers decided to expand the project this summer. Performers are on call until the end of September throughout the province of La Spezia.