Liberate Rame: An Archival and Practice-based Revival of the Creative and Political Labour of the Actress, Theatre-maker, and Activist Franca Rame

Lead Research Organisation: Royal Central Sch of Speech and Drama
Department Name: Postgraduate School


Franca Rame (1929-2013) was an Italian actress, writer, theatre-maker, archivist, and political activist. She is best known today as the principal collaborator of her Nobel Prize-winning husband, playwright, and performer Dario Fo (1926-2016), with the consequence that her crucial contributions to their theatre work have been persistently overlooked. This research reassesses Rame's multi-faceted career and life through the lens of social reproduction theory, reflecting almost sixty years of Italian culture and politics, and her multiple collaborative relationships with Fo, as forms of feminist practice. It does so principally by exploring materials held by the 'Fondazione Fo Rame' in Gubbio and the 'MusaLab Archive of Rame and Fo' in Verona, which Rame herself established. The translation of key autobiographical and theatre texts, including unpublished monologues held by the Archive, and the creation of oral histories through the testimonies of collaborators, friends, and family, elevate Rame's marginalised work. Following the development of each chapter, a series of practice-based interventions will be made available online as podcasts, web pages, videos, and in the form of new texts, workshops, and performances. The interventions will also contribute to the development and promotion of the Rame's Archive, together with exchange activities, including dedicated symposiums and public events exploring Rame's work, organised with the Archive Rame Fo, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, the Italian Cultural Institute in London and other cultural partners. To date there is very limited literature dedicated to the figure of Franca Rame independently from Dario Fo, and this project represents a feminist reassessment of the politics of collaborative practice in the theatre, and a feminist intervention into the politics of the archive, liberating Rame's silenced voice within theatre history and memory.


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