Actor, director, scholar, and theatre educator, Giangiacomo Colli was born in Brescia, Italy to a theatrical family, and received his formal acting and directing training with two of the major figures of post-World War II Italian theatre, Vittorio Gassman and Orazio Costa. An accomplished practitioner of Commedia dell’Arte, he was introduced to this popular form of theatre by his father, a renowned theatre and television director, and then perfected his skills under Carlo Boso and Marcello Bartoli. His theatre formation also includes workshops with Jerzy Grotowski, Joseph Chaikin, Shiro Nomura, Chuck Mike, and Tadashi Suzuki, among others.
As an actor and director, Giangiacomo has been involved in more than fifty productions, making regular appearances in television and film. In Italy, he directed an acting studio in Rome, served as Artistic Director for Attori in Corso, a theatre company with which he toured extensively in Northern and Central Italy, and founded IL TRUCCO E L’ANIMA, a theatre group created to introduce young audiences to the acting techniques of Commedia dell’Arte and Orazio Costa’s holistic acting training in particular.
Alongside his professional acting career, Giangiacomo was graduated from the University of Rome in Theatre History, received an M.F.A. in Directing from the University of Hawaii, and a Ph.D. in Drama from the University of Toronto. Since 1999, he has been living, studying, and working in North America. He has taught in Canada at the University of Toronto, Sheridan College, Brock University, and other institutions, and in the US, at Franklin & Marshall College, Texas State University-San Marcos, and Middlebury College.
His publications include a book, ORAZIO COSTA: UNA PEDAGOGIA DELL’ATTORE [Bulzoni, 1996, 2nd ed.], the article “Shakespeare in a Fountain: The First Italian Production of ‘The Tempest’ Directed by Giorgio Strehler in 1948” in THEATRE RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL [29.2, 2004], and the chapter “Commedia dell’Arte’s Techniques: Theater Research and Italian Language Interplay” in the volume SET THE STAGE! TEACHING ITALIAN THROUGH THEATER: THEORIES, METHODS, AND PRACTICES [Yale UP, 2009].
Giangiacomo has directed numerous productions, including: “The Virtuous Burglar” by Dario Fo, “The Love of Don Perlimplin and Belisa in the Garden” by Federico Garcia Lorca, his own adaptation of “The Servant of Two Masters” by Carlo Goldoni, “The Rover” by Aphra Behn, “Circus Chekhov” (four one-act plays by Anton Chekhov), “Mary Stuart” by Dacia Maraini, “Aminta” by Torquato Tasso, “Casina” by Plautus, “The Trial of Jesus” by Diego Fabbri, “Six Characters in Search of an Author” and “The Man with the Flower in His Mouth," both by Luigi Pirandello, an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s short story "Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime," and his own educational play "The World of Harlequin, Then & Now.”
At the 1997 International Drama Festival held in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Giangiacomo was acclaimed the Best Supporting Actor for his role in Mark Ceolin’s “The Cabot Voyages.” He received the Certificate of Merit as Director (KCACTF Region II) for his Franklin & Marshall productions of “Harlequin: The Servant of Two Masters” by Carlo Goldoni (2011) and “Six Characters in Search of an Author” by Luigi Pirandello (2009).
In 2001, he founded HEARTFELTRICKS, a theatre organization intended to continue and expand the mission of IL TRUCCO E L’ANIMA: disseminating a greater understanding of Commedia dell’Arte among young audiences, promoting Orazio Costa’s holistic acting training in theatre schools of any level, and introducing little known European scripts to North American audiences. HEARTFELTRICKS offers workshops, lecture-performances, and educational plays on Commedia dell’Arte for K-12 or collegiate audiences, in addition to training for theatrical organizations. Giangiacomo also offers lectures on various topics relating to Italian theatrical tradition, Carlo Goldoni, Luigi Pirandello, and Giorgio Strehler’s productions of “The Tempest.”