The “Paolo Grassi” School has been founded in 1951 by Paolo Grassi and Giorgio Strehler. In the very beginning it was a school for actors, directly linked with the activities of the Piccolo Theatre of Milan. In 1957 – according to Paolo Grassi’s ideas of involving public institutions into culture – it started to be managed by the town council of Milan. At that time imposed itself as an independent training structure and enriched its academic offer. In 2000 it became part of the Polytechnic for Culture, Arts and Languages a foundation which trains performing arts and communication professionals through its four departments: music, theatre, cinema and languages. The Foundation’s offer of almost 170 courses ranges from preparatory to specialization courses. Paolo Grassi School constitutes the theatre department of the Polytechnic.
All along its history the School has developed an identity of house of theatre innovation. Being the second main Italian theatre pedagogical Institution opposed to the state Accademia of Roma, the Paolo Grassi is well known as the house of a non academic pedagogy that looks forward, open to the research of new languages. It doesn’t profess a strict pedagogic line but it is open to witness all thoughts about theatre of the main innovative masters of the XXth century: in its pedagogy it is easy to recognize the contributes of Stanislavskij, Brecht, Strehler and Lecoq. The Paolo Grassi school of performing arts is the only one in Italy that offers training courses for all main professional types in the field of theatre and live performance. In the school future actors, directors, playwrights, dancers, choreographers, organizers and technicians study and work together. Their experience is very concrete and practical. As a result, students can develop their capability to work in a team and they learn to share all steps of creative process: from conceiving to staging a project, with their tomorrow’s colleagues in the same working conditions they will experience in the future. Besides attending the courses, students have the chance to carry out internship programs in other institutes and production structures of acknowledged value. So they can have their first contact with the world of work and immediately test what they have learnt. The aim is for an institution opened to the town. The spectator has an important part in the pedagogic experience. Many performances are organized and they are open to the public. Each year the school cooperates with theatres and festivals of international importance where
students, ex-students and teachers present their works. The main goal of the institution for the next years will be to become more and more the space for a permanent training attending the “never ending learning” of theatre. The school offers to graduated students the possibility of using its structures for rehearsal and projects developed inside it. Many young companies have started their career from Paolo Grassi School in the last years.
The actual rector of Paolo Grassi School is Giampiero Solari.