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Clara Vannucci April 28, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Italy.

Theatrical production at Prison Volterra in Tuscany Italy 2012

Clara Vannucci (b.1985, Italy) studied graphic design at the University of Architecture of  Florence. In New York after an Internship with Magnum Photos, she had access for a two years to work on a project in the battered women’s section at Rikers Island prison. Her clients and publications include Repubblica, L’Espresso, Touring Club, Private, La stampa, The New York Times, Le journal de la photographie, Le Courrier International and Vogue Italy among others. She is currently participating in a year long residency at Fabrica, the communication research center of Benetton group in Treviso, Italy.

About the Photograph:

“This picture was shot during the show Mercuzio non vuole morire in the corridor of  the Volterra Maximum Security Prison. Both subjects in the picture are prisoners and actors. Every year, the inmates at Prison Volterra in Tuscany put on a show. They are directed by Armando Punzo, who established the Compagnia della Fortezza in 1988. About a third of the 170 men imprisoned participate. Many are dangerous felons who are in prison for life. Most of them come from criminal gangs.”

“Prison theater is about redemption. It teaches prisoners to work collaboratively. They become actors, not only prisoners. They take their show around the country. For one week they were on tour performing in a small town close to the border. During the day they were free to walk around the square without being guarded. Afterward, they were driven to the local prison where they slept in cells. I asked a prisoner why no one tried to escape. He said, ‘Why should I run away’? Where would I go? I’ve lived in prison 20 years. Now I have something to live for. Life has meaning.’ ”