Motus was born in 1991 as an independent nomadic theatre company, in constant movement between countries, historical moments and disciplines. The founders Enrico Casagrande and Daniela Nicolò, animated by the necessity to deal with themes, conflicts and wounds of the present time, blend art and civic engagement crossing imageries that have reactivated the visions of some amongst the most controversial “poets” of contemporaneity.
The group, who burst onto the scene in the Nineties with productions wielding great physical and emotional impact, has always anticipated and portrayed some of the harshest contradictions of the present day. It has experienced and created hyper-contemporary theatre trends, performing authors such as Camus, Beckett, DeLillo, Rilke or their beloved Pasolini, leading to Shakespeare’s The Tempest, interpolated by Aimé Césaire, which powerfully evoked the tragedy of migration and created instant communities around the world. The themes of the border – physical, geographical, mental – and of the freedom to cross it, remain central in the most recent works, most remarkably in the internationally acclaimed MDLSX or in Panorama, produced in collaboration with La MaMa ETC in New York. After their radical reinterpretation of Antigone in the light of the Greek crisis, the digging down into the most controversial female figures of the Tragic continues with the creation of Tutto Brucia and the two spin off You Were Nothing but Wind and Of The Nightingale I Envy The Fate, which pose the highly political question of what bodies are worthy of mourning. The latest production, Frankenstein (a love story), the first part of the diptych project named after Mary Shelley’s famous novel, interweaves the author’s restless, complex, and often painful biography with recent gender studies, posthuman philosophy, and theories of interspeciesism.
The artistic work of the company is interweaved with an intense training programme of public meetings, lectures and masterclasses at Italian and international universities: from IUAV university in Venice, to La Manufacture – Haute école de théâtre de la Suisse Romande in Lausanne and the Master DAS Theatre of the Academy of Theatre and Dance in Amsterdam.
The company received numerous acknowledgements, including three UBU Prizes and prestigious special awards for their work.
Freethinkers, Motus has performed all over the world, from Under the Radar (NYC) to Trans Amériques and PuSh Festival (Canada), from Santiago a Mil (Chile) to Fiba Festival (Argentina), from Adelaide Festival (Australia) to MITsp (Brazil), from Taipei Arts Festival (Taiwan) to Hong Kong International Black Box Festival, as well as all over Europe.
In 2010 Enrico Casagrande, on behalf of the whole group, is artistic director of the 40th edition of Santarcangelo Festival. In 2020, the company is newly invited to curate its artistic direction, for the extraordinary edition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Festival. The outburst of the Covid-19 pandemic dictates a re-design of the project, which expands in a 12 months journey divided into three acts, with an emergency prelude in July 2020, a winter online interlude and a grand final in July 2021.
The year 2023 sees the creation of the first edition of Supernova, a project for Contemporary Arts in Rimini created in collaboration Santarcangelo dei Teatri, Motus and the Municipality of Rimini. In this project, for the first time in their city, the two directors fill the role of artistic curators and welcome within Supernova an eclectic community of national and international performers who inhabit Rimini with proposals of hybrid languages.