G. Compagno

University of Palermo (ITALY)
In our heterogeneous society diversity has become a focus of debate in the wide context of “diverse dimensions” such as ethnicity, language & culture, gender but also handicap and disability.

The EU Research and Innovation programme Horizons 2020 has therefore pinpointed the urgency to be explicit about what one means when using the term “inclusion” and most of all, about the practical use of this concept in the direction of sustainable growth, high quality of research and human life.

In this view, Special Education has always been committed to the enquiry on educability in diversity, aiming at the socialization of special needs in order to promote individuals’ full integration and inclusion, thanks to the support of specific tools such as Drama. Theater practice is, in fact, both a cultural-historical device (Theatre of the Oppressed , Theatre Education, etc. . ) and a strategy for a sensory and expressive realignment, as well as an instrument of dialogue capable of harmonizing different skills, facilitating relationships and transforming discomfort in communication resource.
The professional and social activity of the Italian company “Teatro Sociale Isole Comprese” is just one an example of the way the theatrical practice gives off its educational potential when the staging is made by subjects carrying - on stage and in life - their special diversity. The theory of the Theatre of the Oppressed by Boal has been crucial to describe this type of performing art that depicts actors-non-actors, theater thanks to the people who have the chance to experience different roles and tell their story.

Starting from the experience of “Teatro Sociale Isole Comprese” the pedagogical reflection moves to the wider context of social theatre and theater education considered as a magnifying glass to get to know each other and to focus on a number of the techniques of "adjustment" to the other. In these terms, theatre/drama becomes the trading platform of different lives, beyond standardized scripts, stereotyped stage directions, and ego-centric representations.