The TePoTraTos Museum (Scenes from Traditional Popular Tuscan Theatre) of Monticchiello springs from more than forty years of experience in Teatro Povero (Poor Theatre) created by the community of inhabitants in 1967, using the contadina farming culture as the central theme of its theatrical output.
Rich in the background of traditional popular theatre (handed on from generation to generation, and closely tied to the yearly cycle of seasons), the entire structure sets itself apart from more usual museum layouts. Indeed, the TePoTraTos is suspended halfway between a museum and a theatrical performance. In true theatre style, visits there are open to spontaneous microvariations, making each visitor’s experience a little different, just as no two theatre shows are ever exactly the same.
The exhibition, housed within an ancient 18th-century granary inside the village, lets visitor-spectators perceive various emotions while immersed in a universe of communication made up of sounds, voices, fragments of dialogue, objects, and images that recall the contandino world.
Symbolically, the choice of the exhibition space, too, is the reappropriation of a legacy tied to the community: the granary, a place where once the landowners stored the fruits of collective labour, returns to the collectivity and today stores the legacy of memory.
It is a museum not about the Teatro Povero, but a museum belonging to the Teatro Povero. Through scenes and images of traditional Tuscan theatre, if pays homage to the culture of the contadini and the sharecroppers, to their entertainment, to the world of popular poetry, pure and simple.