CapoTrave / Kilowatt, through the Kilowatt project, have continued to promote its original design of “active spectatorship”.
The Visionari project was launched in 2007.
The Visionari are a group of spectators, guided by a strong passion, but who are not experts or theatre professionals – among them there are a supermarket cashier, a postman, a high school teacher, a hairdresser, a college student, a bartender. According to the project, they meet once a week, watching young European companies’ videos, for nine months a year, from November to July.
The immediate purpose of their work is to make a selection, in order to invite nine companies in Sansepolcro, where these groups will present their live shows.
More or less the group of Visionari is composed each year of 30 persons.
Every year, some people came out from Visionari group and new ones join it. The festival director does not make any kind of selection or exclusions on new entries. Participation is left to a natural mechanism of co-optation and to people’ voluntary request to join the group, often after following the shows presented in summer at the festival.
Every year about 300 videos arrive. In this way Kilowatt has become one of the main Italian festivals for scouting new companies of contemporary European scene.
During the selection process Visionari met about sixty times, for a total of 180 hours of collective work.
In addition to this, each of the Visionari dedicated time to watching videos at home, before meeting with the others for collective discussion.
The deepest objective of this activity is that Visionari every week meet and talk about contemporary theatre and dance, discussing, arguing, and thus activating a virtuous process of reflection on the present, individual responsibility and creation of community spaces.
The artistic director of Kilowatt, during this process, simply suggests to Visionari some questions: What are we looking for when we look at a show? What separates theatre from entertainment? Can performances talk about life?
The objection made by some outside observers is the following: does not the public choose the simplest things, according to current tastes and influenced by television culture?
After several years spent with Visionari, the feeling is quite the opposite: they have been able to take risks that few artistic directors would have taken.
Visionari often discovered unknown groups, drawing national and international attention on them.
How does practically work the Visionari’s process of selection?
In the first phase, the material of each performance is seen by at least three Visionari: they fill out a “vision form” which is sent to all companies at the end of the selection, thus creating an additional opportunity for dialogue between spectators and artists.
If at least two out of three Visionari think that the performance is interesting, the whole group watches it: it is the second phase of selection.
Considering that about 300 companies are involved in the selection, nearly 60-80 videos are discussed collectively in the second phase of selection.
At the end of the year, between the first and second phase, each of the Visionari examines more or less 120 performances.
About 20-25 shows, achieving widespread success among Visionari, reach the third stage of selection.
The videos of these 20- 25 shows are reviewed by all Visionari in a final meeting, and after a long discussion, the nine shows to be invited to the festival are chosen by the group.
The nine shows are presented at the festival in July, three for every evening.
The next morning Visionari coordinate a public meeting with the participation of the artists who presented their performances the day before, and a group of about fifteen theatre and dance Italian famous critics.
In this regard, Renato Palazzi, currently one of the most influential Italian theatre critics, in the newspaper “Il Sole 24 Ore” (Confindustria newspaper), wrote: “Meetings are the most important aspect of Kilowatt. I think that the festival in Sansepolcro is the only one that put at the center of its activities, and I would say of its soul, not a simple calendar of more or less significant shows, but the debate, the exchange of point of views: perhaps an old-fashioned, difficult practice, but it is right to recover it as part of theatrical enjoyment”.
The Visionari’s project is the “core-business” of the European Project Be SpectACTive.
From 2015 the format was exported in 6 Italian cities thanks to the project “L’Italia dei Visionari”.