Silvia Mercuriali is a British-Italian theatre maker and artist, originally from Milan and based in London since 2000. She is best known as one of the pioneers of the strategy of AUTOTEATRO, which she developed for the show Etiquette in 2007 with her company Rotozaza.
AUTOTEATRO explores a new kind of theatre practice, whereby audience members perform the piece themselves, usually for each other. Participants are given instruction via audio, visual cues or text for what to do or say. By simply following these instructions an event begins to unfold.
Silvia has experimented with this new strategy, applying it, stretching it and moulding it to different technologies and in different contexts constantly inviting audiences to question what is real and what is not.
Her audiences have seen everyday scenarios transformed: Wondermart, an audio tour of a supermarket commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre; The Eye, a short opera choreographed for one eye and commissioned by Fuel Theatre as part of a series of podcasts on the body presented by The Guardian; for Macondo she experimented with Autoteatro on a larger scale. Set on a traditional theatre stage the audience alone delivers the entire performance with neither actors or technicians. Blank, is a short piece for a piece of paper, to be experienced wearing headphones, with a piece of white paper and a pen handy. The piece was commissioned by Gemma Brockis as part of The ODDVENT Calendar a collective digital project released in the lead up to Christmas, in which every day a new virtual door, curated by a different artist, was opened. Her latest piece, SWIMMING HOME, takes the theatre directly into people's homes, broadcasting the show all over the world, via the App Mercurious-NET, National Ear Theatre.
The real and the imagined blur, creating a parallel reality which exists only for the participants, whilst around them, the general public carries on undisturbed. The audience's panoramic view of Silvia's work is a melange of public & private interactions, comprising both the random-unplanned and the controlled-scripted.
She has presented work internationally and has been commissioned by cultural centres and theatres including Brisbane Powerhouse (AUS), Museum of Art of Kochi (JP) as well as UK commissioning bodies such as Wellcome Trust, Fuel Theatres, The Roundhouse, Battersea Arts Centre, and Harrogate Theatre & Yorkshire Festival.