Cultural heritage, linking the past and future: the case of PICCOLO TEATRO in Siena (Italy)

The “Piccolo Teatro” was the creation of Marga Sergardi Marmoross (1919 – 2011).


Marga Sergardi brought to Siena and Palazzo Sergardi the theatrical experience  she had created in her youth, just outside Siena in the gardens of Villa Catignano, her family homestead.  Built in 1744 for the Sergardi family, the palace was designed by the Sienese architect Paolo Posi. In this period, Siena was particularly open to stylistic influence from Rome.

Before World War II, Marga Sergardi taught the farmworkers’ children  how to act, and wrote and directed plays with the children, being a young little girl herself.

She called the group the “ Company of the Rooster of Catignano” and they performed (not only in Siena but also in Rome  at the Teatro Quirino and in  Florence at the Teatro la Pergola)  fables, myths and stories Marga as a litlle girl composed herself.

With the war, the theatrical experience ceased. But in the early 1950‘s, Marga moved her activity to Palazzo Sergardi and founded the “Piccolo Teatro”, by building a perfectly working and fully equipped 100 seats theatre in the ballroom of her  Siena house.

Together, they studied the programmes so that the new theatre should first of all become a means of education and then a centre for theatrical productions. These two parallel lives of Piccolo Teatro thrived for almost half century.

Besides, the refinement of their personal skills of interpretation, Marga wanted the young actors to acquire a good knowledge of the necessities of a play, so that they might solve their problems both from the point of view of art and of technique.

Many generations of young people have studied and learned the art of  Theatre, theatre design and ballet at Piccolo Teatro and countless theatre productions have taken place on its stage for over 50 years;

Today, Olimpia Bracci Mormoross the granddaughter of Marga Sergardi took over the management of the Piccolo teatro becoming the artistic director of the cultural association “Piccolo Teatro Marga Sergardi” continuing Marga’s dream.

The lessons of CREATIVE DRAMATICS are a way of partially solving the problem of uniting different states in modern times. Boys often have the same fanciful imagination despite their country of origin,” Mrs. Olimpia Bracci Mormoross said during a conference held at the European Parliament, quoting her grandmother.

This is valid also today, and it is my desire and resolve to follow into her footsteps in my capacity. One of the aims of my job is to preserve and promote this tangible and intangible cultural heritage by means of carrying on, developing and spreading these traditional teaching activities, establishing collaborative national and international partnership, and creating new contemporary and innovative theatrical production,” she concluded.