19 Oct 2023
Festival Press

The 18th SEGNI Festival is ready to start

SEGNI New Generations Festival is back, the international art and theatre review – in its 18th edition – organised by the Associazione Segni d’infanzia, to enliven Mantua from 29 October to 5 November with more than 150 appointments dedicated to the ‘new generations’: shows, workshops, masterclasses for cultural operators, special events for schools, families, adolescents, and fans of all ages.

The event – promoted and supported by the Municipality of Mantua, MIC – Ministry of Culture, Fonds Podium Kunsten Performing Arts Fund (The Netherlands), Fondazione Cariplo, Fondazione Comunità Mantovana Onlus, Fondazione Banca Agricola Mantovana, Assitej Sweden (Sweden), Assitej Italy, and sponsored by the Unicef Italy Committee, the Lombardy Region, the Province of Mantua, Confindustria and the Mantua Chamber of Commerce, with the support of Gruppo Tea as one of its long-standing sponsors – has this year’s symbolic animal, the Flamingo. Pink, regal and powerful, as Artistic Director Cristina Cazzola writes, it embodies all four elements of nature and the essence of sustainability: symbol of balance, rebirth, altruism, charm.

The image was drawn by Iris Lidia Accini, class of 2010, a young Mantua Farm School student who took part in the Artists Open Call organised by Segni d’infanzia association this summer to create the drawing from which – in collaboration with SIGLA Comunicazione – the visual for SEGNI 2023 New Generations Festival would be made.

A large number of people took part, submitting different and very creative entries, among which the jury, composed of the Artistic Director and the adolescents and young adults of the ForesTEEN project, chose “Magro Magrino” by the Mantua student.

A creative competition with prizes is linked to the symbolic animal, with prizes for schools, a trip to the Mincio Valleys thanks to Parco del Mincio, and a selection of books from the Flamingo Bibliography, realised in collaboration with the Gino Baratta Media Library in Mantua. For participating families or groups, on the other hand, a stay and excursions to the Island of Giglio thanks to Maregiglio.

After last year’s success, the pavilion structure is confirmed in 2023, to allow a new way of participating, enjoying and experiencing the spaces in relation to the festival’s guest countries: the Netherlands, Sweden, France and Italy to exchange skills and projects from all over the world between artists, professionals and young spectators.

There are many international shows, from Belgium – such as Lovni (from 3 years), which offers a dreamlike journey for young passengers – and Pourquoi Pas! by Tof Théâtre (from 4 years), Spain, in Nella Tana (from 3 years) by the Farrés Brothers, from Sweden with Claire Parsons Co. in collaboration with the Royal Dramatic Theatre – in a reinterpretation of the ballet Swan Lake for young and old from 4 years of age – and again the Netherlands with the safari parade of the Meneer Monster entitled The Big 5 (from 3 years of age), but also Spoon Spoon (from 4 years of age) full of acrobatics and mattresses that the De Dansers use to inspire courage.

Together with the best of Italian tout public productions including Progetto GG with the new production Streghe and with Naso d’Argento (both from 3 years) at the Teatro Ariston, La Baracca – Testoni Ragazzi with Abaco (from 18 months) and Antigone (from 12 years) and ABC – Allegra Brigata Cinematica with the new production PLAY JAM (from 18 months) realised in the sphere of Bergamo Brescia Capitale della Cultura 2023 and Che Spettacolo il 2023.

This year’s programme dedicated to young adults and adults themselves offers a great show at the Ariston Theatre, for the evening of 31 October: not to be missed is Hold Your Horses, a ‘dance concert’ by the Dutch De Dansers that focuses on the need to hold on to something or someone, in a world that is becoming increasingly elusive. The theme of emotions emerges in this production, which is the protagonist of the Have a Breath initiative, a series of workshops on emotions aimed at high schools and parents, developed as part of the ForesTEEN project by Segni d’infanzia together with Hike ScS onlus. ForesTEEN is a project dedicated to operators carrying out cultural and social activities aimed at the 15-25 age group, supported by Fondazione Cariplo and with the collaboration of the Municipality of Mantua, led by Segni d’infanzia Associazione in partnership with Hike ScS onlus, Cooperativa Alce Nero and Fondazione Palazzo Te.

Novelty 2023. Also as part of the ForesTEEN project, in addition to the shows, the programme includes Luna Calante, a real Urban Game, developed in collaboration with Strongvilla, which will bring different teams dedicated to 4 different themes to solve puzzles scattered around the historical centre of Mantua, ending the treasure hunt in Spazio Te with a DJ set.

Another great novelty dedicated to Mantuan families is the Sensory Playroom. Created thanks to the precious contribution of Gruppo Tea, SEGNI Festival has created a place with free access where children, families and citizens can experience a welcoming space with aromatic plants to stimulate the sense of smell, sensory paths to stimulate touch, and much more (Wednesday 1, Thursday 2, Saturday 4, Sunday 5 November, Loggia del Grano).


The festival will open with a whole day of free events, between Parco Te and the splendid Exedra of Palazzo Te. It starts on Sunday 29 October at 10 am with the last appointment of the Flamingo Atelier to decorate the shapes of the Fantastic Animals: essential for the inaugural parade because they will make children and adults protagonists in the big afternoon event. At 2 p.m. in fact, the meeting is at Parco Te to start the colourful Dance of the Fantastic Animals that from 3 p.m. will parade the public equipped with decorated silhouettes along the park paths, accompanied by the “Alessio Artoni” Musical Band and the majorettes of A.S.D. Majorettes Accademy VR EST. Thanks to the valuable collaboration with ConfoCity, sponsor of the festival, the public is offered a new special opportunity to take part in the Inauguration: from Monday 23 to Sunday 29 October, at the Confocity point of sale in Corso Garibaldi no. 123-125, it will be possible to pick up one’s pink Flamingo ribbon and be a protagonist in the La Danza degli Animali Fantastici parade, by presenting oneself at 2 p.m. at Parco Te.

The arrival of the parade is as per tradition directly at the Exedra of Palazzo Te for free workshops related to the Animal Symbol, more music with the students of the Nuova Scuola di Musica, and a delicious Antoniazzi snack.


Among this edition’s performances for the very young (from 18 months) Ho un punto fra le mani by TAM Teatromusica, a sensorial journey performed by playing with video projections designed to arouse different emotions and perceptions (Tuesday 31 October, Sala delle Capriate). And again, a session of improvised dance, open to all and everyone from 0 to 99 years old, led by professional dancers is PLAY JAM, the performance by the Bergamo-based ABC – Allegra Brigata Cinematica (Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 November, Sala delle Capriate).

Also for very young children, using numbers for a game aimed at discovering the world, ABACO, by La Baracca – Testoni Ragazzi, where two characters meet, experiment, and live new experiences in order to reach bigger and bigger goals (Friday 3 and Saturday 4 November, Palazzo Te – Tinelli).

From the age of three, the festival proposes the lively The Big 5, by the Dutch company Meneer Monster, present at the festival thanks to the Futuro Presente initiative: a special programme of the Embassy and Consulate General of the Netherlands in Italy and four major Dutch cultural institutions (Performing Arts Fund NL, Dutch Foundation for Literature, Cultural Participation Fund, SeeNL). The show will be a parade of the ‘mythical five’ with rather special costumes and props (Friday 3, Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 November, Sala delle Capriate). With LOVNI, Compagnie de la Casquette from Belgium will take children in a special spaceship (Tuesday 31 October and Wednesday 1 November, Spazio Studio Sant’Orsola). And again, for children and families, the programme includes a special double date at the Ariston Theatre: Streghe and Naso d’argento, are the two titles by the Emilian artists of Progetto GG, in the Accademia Perduta/ Romagna Teatri production, in which immersive and impressionistic experiences will make people dream and discover the beauty of going to the theatre together. Lastly, an intimate show to be enjoyed inside a small tent: the tender Nella Tana, by the Spanish Farrés Brothers, will take young spectators and spectators into the home of a little rabbit who will conquer his independence (Tuesday 31 October, Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 November, Sala delle Capriate).

A very special version of Swan Lake opens the collection for ages 4 and up: it is Little Swan Lake by the acclaimed Claire Parsons Company and The Royal Dramatic Theatre, in cooperation with Assitej Sverige (Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 November, Spazio Gradaro).

From the Netherlands, again for the Futuro Presente initiative, the De Dansers bring to the festival a show for young people in which everything is possible: Spoon Spoon. Playful energy, acrobatics and music brought to the stage by three dancers and a musician to talk about freedom, safety and courage (Thursday 2, Friday 3 and Saturday 4 November, Spazio Gradaro). Moving on the map, from Belgium Tof Theatre makes us reflect on the division of roles between mum and dad with its Pourquoi Pas!: can a man carry a baby? Why not? An endlessly tender experience of the parent-child relationship gently shakes off existing preconceptions (Thursday 2 and Friday 3 November, Sala delle Capriate).

Primary school boys and girls (aged 6 and up) will be treated to the works of Lucania’s Compagnia teatrale Petra and Scarlattine Teatro – Campsirago Residenze with the adventurous Humana Foresta to explore the connection between the human being and nature (Monday 30, Tuesday 31 October and Wednesday 1 November, Esedra di Palazzo Te and Parco Te). Creativity becomes master in CartaSìa by Milanese Drogheria Rebelot/BIBOteatro: a confrontation between the human being and the material, paper, which comes to life and becomes more and more independent (Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 November, Sala delle Capriate). Another journey is offered by Pandemonium Teatro, which will take us into the world of pirates, tackling the theme of growing up with Jim e il Pirata. In search of the treasure of the fearsome Flint, young Jim starts out as a child and becomes a man again (Thursday 2 November, Friday 3 November, Teatro Bibiena).

And again the always eagerly awaited cooking workshops with Gianfranco Allari, Dolce ad arte (6 – 10 years), where the art of pastry making is made child-friendly with the balanced and healthy FARMO products, and Cucinare è un gioco da Ragazz* (from 12 years) with the tasty SAN MARTINO products.

A special one dedicated to young people, the “Teen”, again this year, thanks to the support of Fondazione Cariplo with the ForesTEEN project: from the age of 12, the festival hosts the La Baracca – Testoni Ragazzi company with Antigone, un guscio di noce, where Matteo Bergonzoni in stand-up style evokes the great myth by addressing the themes of change, courage and making choices. (Spazio Studio Sant’Orsola, 2 November).

Don’t miss Hold Your Horses, where six performers enliven the show with their passion and musicality. Hold Your Horses is characterised by a spectacular and acrobatic language of movement that never loses its human sensibility. Like a single body, the dancers move in a continuous flow, propelled by the live music of Guy Corneille and his guitar. (Ariston Theatre, 31 October).

And again the Teen Kitchen Table and the Spuntini critici, which see teenagers as the protagonists of a real theatrical critique.

Fuochi di Musica returns after four years: young aspiring musicians with a great passion light up the music in one of Mantua’s most evocative squares. They are the students of the Nuova Scuola di Musica who, on four dates, will enliven the historic centre of Mantua with their music (Wednesday 1, Saturday 4, Sunday 5 November, Piazza Mantegna).

The great novelty this year aimed at the adolescent and young adult target audience is the Urban Game co-designed by Strongvilla and its partners ForesTEEN: several teams dedicated to the four areas Theatre, Music, Dance, Art will challenge each other to solve the enigmas linked to a secret society born at the beginning of the 20th century, precisely in Mantua. The treasure hunt, Luna Calante (Saturday 4 November, L.B Alberti), will then lead participants to various establishments and shops in the historic centre and end at Spazio Te, where a DJ set will be waiting for them from aperitif time.

Comparison between generations is the hallmark of SEGNI New Generations Festival, which as every year animates the Spunti(ni) critici, critical discussion of the shows in the programme led by the ForesTEEN group (Tuesday 31 October and Wednesday 1 November, Loggia del Grano).

Also highly anticipated this year is the Teen Kitchen Table (Friday 3 November, Loggia del Grano) – organised in collaboration with the European Parliament’s Milan Office, a working table for “first voters”, a crossroads between the visionary gaze of the new generations and the experience of MEPs, professionals and experts. The discussion is led by the ForesTEEN project’s group of teenagers. The boys and girls of the ForesTEEN group are already preparing the Teen Kitchen Table event as early as September, through interviews conducted with the MEPs involved thanks to the collaboration with the Milan Office of the European Parliament, with which Segni is realising the project “SEGNI New Generations festival and the first voters”, whose main objective is to strengthen participation as a fundamental artistic and political principle to reactivate civic sense and interest in voting, in view of the 2024 EuroParliamentary elections.

The Teen Kitchen Table and all the activities aimed at adolescents are realised as part of the ForesTEEN. project, supported by the and Fondazione Cariplo and the Municipality of Mantua – YOUTH Youth Policies.

The festival also once again hosts the MZ Pavilion (from Millennials and Generation Z) a project curated by Monica Colella, General Manager of Segni d’infanzia associazione, dedicated to new languages and their dissemination. This year’s MZ event will be held at Parco Te and will feature a concert performed by Esecutori di Metallo su Carta, one of the most popular ensembles on the contemporary scene. MOTHER EARTH PLANTASIA is the name of the composition that will be performed in full from the 1970s work of the same name composed by electronic music pioneer Mort Garson. The event is realised thanks to the collaboration with Mysound srl.

SEGNI has a constant dialogue with its public and in recent years has intercepted a need on the part of Mantuan mothers and fathers: to have a space in the city centre in which to share free, but stimulating and quality time with their boys and girls away from electronic devices. La Palestra di creatività – DISCONNESSI AD ARTE, is a “disconnection” project that proposes activities and workshops aimed at stimulating listening and sensitivity in both the new generations and adults. The project is realised thanks to the contribution of Fondazione Comunità Mantovana Onlus and Fondazione Banca Agricola Mantovana.

Experiences of live exchange and transmission of knowledge also thanks to the PASTA MADRE Masterclasses for artists, professionals, operators and cultural workers that include experiences such as the Dance of the 5 Rhythms with Marcella Panseri, – a kind of meditation that takes place by freeing the body in a group dance – and networking with representatives of the Swedish children’s theatre scene of Assitej Sweden and an interactive workshop aimed at performing arts for young audiences curated by Bobby Lo Produktion, a Swedish dance company.

This year, as part of the activities and events aimed at professionals and teachers (such as the PASTA MADRE Masterclasses), Segni in collaboration with ArteVox Teatro has scheduled for Monday 30 October at the MACA San Sebastiano the International Conference on Accessible Theatre “ACCESSIBLE THEATRE. Between necessity and sustainability. The state of the art between Italy and Europe on the road to accessible children’s theatre”. All organisations linked and related to the theme of accessibility for the new generations, not just theatre therefore, are invited to participate by contacting the festival staff at festivalsegni@gmail.com or by contacting the office on 0375.752417.

Reservations and ticket purchase at the festival box office

in Via L.C. Volta 9/B, Valletta Valsecchi Mantova

and from 26 October in Piazza L.B Alberti, Sala Colonna.



Programme available at segninonda.orgsegnidinfanzia.org