An inclusive space for cultural, social and artistic practices on via dei Macci, the GADA Playhouse from Gli Amici di Aurora (GADA) was founded by volunteers of the Aurora ONLUS, an association previously dedicated to providing assistance to those in difficulty that has evolved into a creative hub organizing a multitude of cultural endeavours aimed at outreach in the community.
The deconsecrated church (formerly the Church of San Francesco Dé Macci, or San Francesco al Tempio) provides a fascinating backdrop for their varied activities, with the Baroque church having once housed the Madonna delle Arpie by Andrea del Sarto, now on display in the Uffizi Gallery. The site’s rich history plays a key role in its current heritage, having at various points served as a centre for the socially marginalized, a food bank, a psychological listening point, a place for social reintegration, a theatre and a gym, through to its current occupation that maintains hospitality as a main objective, acted out through cultural and creative means.
Speaking to GADA’s Angela Burico and Marco Bartolini, we learned about the group of creatives that comes together to work towards community inclusion. “We are a varied group of artists that decided to generate a site of cultural assistance, which we started last December. Our mission is to be open to the area, with accessible prices and always experimenting with ideas, reflecting on how to live together, how to create a shared space, and how to communicate with individuality”.
Current activities include ballroom dancing for the elderly on Sundays, music therapy for children, and theatre, contemporary dance and voguing for all. Workshops on transfeminism proved a fundamental offering for participants, with a local feminist collective also hosting meetings on site. Courses take place on Mondays and Tuesdays, with Wednesdays through to Saturdays left open to residencies, rentals and a site for gathering, with passersby welcome to call in whenever they see the door open. One Saturday a month, a party is held to raise funds for their activities, with participants requested to sign up to the association (5 euro annually), and make a donation, allowing them to join the 700 existing members of the centre that seeks to generate ideas and use culture to make change.