The Societas Raffaello Sanzio, abbreviated as SRS, is an experiential theater company in Italy that was founded back in 1981. The development of this company was initially meant to be part of Italian theater movement that was not inspired by theater performance itself. Rather, it was influenced primarily by television, comics, poetry, and rock music among others. The work created by this group had triggered a variety of new groups by the end of the 1990s, which then continued on to win some awards for several works. The company’s performances are predominantly defiance of narrative that is conventional and coherent. Instead, they focus more on impact of visual and auditory. As such, it is not rare to encounter works by the group that involve silence, fragments of word, and machines or animals performing on stage. The company is headquartered in Cesena, a city near Bologna. It owns its theater but the company has traveled to a variety of venues around Europe and Mexico to perform their productions. The theater company was founded by Claudia Castellucci, Romeo Castellucci, and
Chiara Guidi along with Barbara Bertozzi, Letizia Biondi, Raffaele Wassen, and Gabriele Gosti as their production director. Paolo Guidi joined in 1982.
Some members of the would-be company were in attendance of a performance by Magazzini Criminali in 1979. Following the show, they were inspired to form a theater company that is not like the conventional one, whose performance they deemed being of museum-like quality and lacked movement. They performed their first play in November 1980 at an apartment in Rome. The company was first named Gruppo Espressione and changed into Esploraztione Teatro. The Gesamtkunstwerk esthetic was embraced by the group and all productions were written by members involved originally. Its current name traces back to the last iteration of name change, Societa Raffaello Sanzio. The first part was then turned into a Latin word, Societas. The last two words of the name refer to artist Raffaello Sanzio.
The work they did in their first 20 years are grouped into 3 phases that appeared in three media: Teatro Iconoclasta, Teatro della Super-Icona, and Epopea della polvere. Their interest during the first 10 years was in experimenting with several different devices and techniques of theater. Ideas, rather than dramatic texts, become the basis of their work. In one case, specifically for one of the characters, a new language called La Generalissima was invented.