Argentina - Don Bosco and the theater

04 April 2018

(ANS - Córdoba) - A space for communion and the widespread sharing of art and culture: this is the theater. But for the Salesian Family, theater is much more: it is one of the pillars of education, especially during leisure time.

The first theater representation in a Salesian oratorian environments of which there are documents dates back to June 29, 1847, according to the "Biographical Memoirs of Don Giovanni Bosco."

The Father and Teacher of Youth had founded the oratory to teach his children trade and work skills and to keep them away from criminal activities, poverty and a feeling of discouragement. When they began to offer regular courses in subjects such as Languages or Mathematics, there was a transition from oratories to schools, later also transformed into boarding schools.

It was then that Don Bosco considered it appropriate to introduce theater as an educational tool, a means by which to transmit good values and to ensure that children remained active during their leisure time, once their tasks were completed.

Subsequently, the founder of the oratory took another step forward and wrote the "Rules for theater", a set of 19 rules that still today remain an example of profound understanding of the world of education and to the peculiar needs of the theater itself.

To summarize their content, it is enough to state the objectives Don Bosco intended to achieve through theatrical representations (which must have an educational character): "to enlighten the young, educate and instruct them, especially morally."

In the 19 Rules, Don Bosco was able to combine recommendations of a religious-educational nature, such as to "remove expressions, un-Christian-like, and those words that said elsewhere would be uncivilized, rude and too blatant", but also observations of an acute drama teacher: "recommend to actors that they have a vocal bearing that is unaffected, a clear pronunciation, a relaxed, decisive gesture."

Always with a view that theater can indeed be a valid instrument for the transmission of principles, plays must be "pleasant and suitable, made to enjoy and entertain, but must always be instructive, moral, and brief."


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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