The Maschere Duemondi Italian Theatre Program of the Department of Language Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) was founded by Professors Guido Pugliese and Salvatore Bancheri in the mid-1980s. The current director of the program is Professor Teresa Lobalsamo. The biennial UTM Italian Play is the final product of a senior course in theatre and performance, recently taught by Professor Lobalsamo and Professor Adriana Grimaldi.
As a co-producer and teaching assistant of the last two plays ("La Mandragola" and "Ciao, Professoressa!"), I have had the privilege of witnessing how powerful a tool theatre can be in both community building and language acquisition. My role has been that of supporting the production of the play in aspects such as diction training, fundraising, and media advertising. With about one thousand attendees each year, this theatrical production is a unique opportunity for students to share their passion for language and culture with their families and communities.
While the dedication required for this program is significant, students have noted that not only is this one of the most memorable experiences of their undergraduate studies, but that they have developed new skills in screenwriting, stage-management, technology (subtitles, lights, sound), and that their Italian vocabulary and pronunciation have improved significantly.
Working with this team of instructors and students has fortified my belief in the power of the humanities to enhance skills in communication, creativity, collaboration, and empathy.