The Accademia Teatro Dimitri is a professional theater conservatory located in Verscio, near Locarno. This is a place in which the students are totally immersed in their practice and artistic research, inspired by the international ambiance which unites students and teachers from twenty different countries.
In 1975 Dimitri, the “Clown of Ascona”, together with his wife Gunda and the actor and pedagogue Richard Weber, founded the theatre school in Verscio, specializing in the training of physical theatre. The idea of the founders was to bring together an unprecedented approach to different theater and circus traditions: from the Commedia dell’Arte to the comedic numbers of the clown, from pantomime to modern dance. This approach reflected the trend that began in the 60s in theater practice, of breaking down the barriers separating two fields, the first related to theater of prose and the second, performing arts focusing on movement. The training consisted in the beginning of a three-year course of study in which they were given gymnastic lessons specifically for the actor, theatrical improvisation, dance, mask construction and acting, makeup artistry and clowning. Later, they added courses in pantomime, rhythm, choral singing, theory and history of theater.
Since 2006 the school became university affiliated, and is now part of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI), offering a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, a Master of Arts in Theater / Physical Theatre since 2008, and courses in Advanced Studies since 2014.