a romantic comedy
by Dario Niccodemi

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Scàmpolo is a classic early 20th century tale of a girl on the threshold of womanhood, living on the harsh streets of Rome. Her introduction into the life and social circle of an impoverished engineer – with dreams of having his Libyan railway project accepted by the Italian government – raises quite a few eyebrows and questions regarding the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie.

Poetic Justice is delighted to be staging the centenary and first ever English production of this quirky, poignant and beautifully written Italian romantic comedy, the first of Niccodemi’s works to be translated by Marzia Marani, Diana Korchien & Ashley Gunstock.


Poetic Justice Productions, established in 1999, actually began life as the HANDS drama society, staging Not Quite Jerusalem by Paul Kember, at a student leisure centre in Euston in 1985. Two more transformations followed. As Showcase Theatre, it staged Come Blow Your Horn by Neil Simon, at The Production Village in Cricklewood and Same Time, Next Year by Bernard Slade, at The Theatre Museum in Covent Garden. Newfound then evolved to produce Saul at The Southwark Playhouse, before the present day Poetic Justice production company came into being to stage Hamlet (by public demand) three times! Since those productions of Hamlet – at The Courtyard, Red Lion and Finborough Theatres – Poetic Justice has staged the well-received Children of Darkness by Edwin Justus Mayer at The Leicester Square Studio Theatre (our first venture into the West End) and the critically acclaimed Shylock: The Trial of a Jew, a modern day adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice at The Rosemary Branch Theatre. 2015 brought a new dimension to the company’s theatrical work. Poetic Justice is lucky to have its own in-house translation team, which enabled it to premiere the very first UK airing, at the Leytonstone Festival, of the 1916 romantic comedy Scàmpolo, by Italian playwright Dario Niccodemi. Following on from this highly successful staging of a rehearsed reading, the company is now preparing to stage the play’s centenary production at the superb Rosemary Branch venue in Spring 2016.


Poetic Justice

The Team

Producers / Translators

Ashley Gunstock

Via his theatre company Poetic Justice Productions: Producer/Director of: Not Quite Jerusalem, Same Time, Next Year, Saul, Hamlet, Prime Evil, Labour's Lost Love (his adaptation of Shakespeare’s play), Children of Darkness and Shylock – The Trial of a Jew.

Marzia Marani

Roman-born, London resident for over 16 years. Attended the Diploma in Translation course at the University of Westminster, teaches Italian as a second language, with several ongoing groups of mature students, also giving private lessons.

Diana Korchien

Political press officer and sometime Green politician, whose passion is the precise and economical communication of meaning and mastering new languages. Speaks fluent French, reasonable German, A-Level Latin. Has been studying Italian for 5 years.



Lawrence Lambert

Lawrence is both a Director and an Actor. He is from London and graduated from East 15 Acting School in 1983. He then joined the Manchester Library Theatre company, and working under the Artistic direction of the late Howard Lloyd Lewis, he was able to both act and direct as a company member over a number of seasons. He then went on to join Bristol Express, The Torch and BTC theatre companies until becoming the Artistic Director of the East London Theatre company. He has also appeared in both Television and Film, including playing Eliot Saunders in Eastenders and in Sir Richard Attenborough’s film "Chaplin" as well as the British film comedy "Sixty Six". He currently teaches Acting for Film at the Met Film School, Ealing Studios and is about to direct his second short independent film.



Michelle Oakley | Franca

Michelle studied acting at The Actors Studio in London and LA. There she received training in method acting, TV & film technique, theatre technique, voice coaching and physical acting.  She now continues her training weekly at the Actors Gateway, London, studying the Meisner technique. Her recent work includes a new play at the London Theatre in the role of Francine, a rich, unhappy housewife, whose need for sensuality leads to an affair with her brother-in-law. In the Camden Fringe, she appeared in the sell-out, interactive show “EAT”, as an uptight lawyer with an eating disorder. Incredibly passionate about acting and the arts. Michelle loves to be involved in collaborative projects that allow her to demonstrate her creativity, and being a qualified dance teacher she considers movement to be one of her key skills. As well as acting and dance, Michelle has spent many years writing, recording and performing as lead vocalist with her band Meisha.

Ashley Gunstock | Tito Sacchi

Theatre: Most notably Major Giles Flack in Privates On Parade, Bard in The Hobbit, Marco in A View From The Bridge, Joseph Garcin in Huis Clos and the titles roles of Hamlet and Shylock. Television: Original cast member of The Bill, featured roles in Birds Of A Feather, Shine On Harvey Moon, Inspector Morse and the portrayal of Alistair Campbell in Sky News' reconstruction of The Hutton Inquiry. Film: Title role in Rafferty’s for The End of the Pier International Film Festival and featured roles in Car People for Channel 5, Feedback for Halidom Productions and The Man Who Knew Too Little for Warner Brothers. During 35 years’ experience in the theatrical industry Ashley has also been a Producer/Director of plays including: Not Quite Jerusalem; Same Time, Next Year; Saul; Hamlet; Prime Evil; Labour’s Lost Love (his adaptation of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost); Children of Darkness and The Trial of the Jew Shylock.

Camila Caley | Scàmpolo

My acting career started at school. At the age of 13, I was cast as the lead in various productions including High School Musical. At 17, I was chosen to take part in an exclusive two-week acting course with the National Youth Theatre, where I became a permanent member of the company. Whilst studying at the University of Southampton I starred in further productions, performing in a devised theatre piece titled 'The Knight Who Smells of Sunflowers' at the Annex Theatre. My BA in Modern Languages enabled me to play the lead actress in Ionesco's famous play 'La Cantatrice Chauve'. Training at The Anna Scher Theatre has taught me various theatrical methods and performance skills. As a former member of Theatre Venture, I contributed to the writing and directing of a two-hour play which we performed at a Hoxton theatre venue. My passion for acting lies in theatre, I thrive on the adrenalin of performing in front of a live audience.


Garry Roost | Egisto, Giglioli & Fausto

Garry trained at E15 Acting School and has extensive experience in Television, Theatre, Film. Garry’s Theatre credits include: Theatre Royal Stratford East, The Citizens Theatre Glasgow, Birmingham Rep, West Yorkshire Play House and Hull Truck. Best known for Creepy Guy in Blackbooks, Mickey Doolan Irish Jockey in 'At the Races' sketch with Steve Coogan. Garry’s recent inaugural solo show project directed by Gareth Armstrong at the Edinburgh Festival 2012 ignited his second solo venture directed by Paul Garnault, Pope Head (The Secret Life of Francis Bacon). The play attracted the attention of producers and major festivals globally after a successful Edinburgh Festival 2014 and returned to Summerhall in 2015. His work has taken him throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe, the Middle East and a hit east coast tour of Australia with Pope Head 2015, culminating in conversation with Richard Fidler, ABC Radio in Brisbane. Garry is delighted to be doing Scampolo at The Rosemary Branch Theatre.

Robert Daoust | Giulio

Robert was born in New England, USA. He gained a BA in Film making from Rhode Island School of Design in 1985. He moved to Berlin, Germany where he worked on the Berlin Fringe, notably with Artaud-based Theater 100Fleck, and the Berlin Playactors. Moving to London in 1993, he concentrated on Early Dance and Period re-creation, with groups such as Nonsuch and Consort de Danse Baroque. He returned to full-time acting in 2011, graduating with a Licentiate in Speech and Drama from Trinity College/CityLit. Recently, he played Jude in a rehearsed reading of Hinrich von Haaren's new play, Wallpaper Queen. Theatre: PEST! (Theater 100Fleck), St Joan (Berlin Playactors), Ramona's Headache (FOIO Company), A Dream Play, Jane Eyre (CL Theatre Company), Phaedra's Love (Theatre Collection), Richard II, Twelfth Night (Cambridge Shakespeare Festival). Film: Where We Best Belong (Summer Walker, RUHL Film Festival Society).  Television: Imagine: Shylock's Ghost (BBC).

Nora Silk | Emilia

Nora Silk has studied acting at Brian Timoney’s Actors Studio in London. Her stage work includes Corrie from “Barefoot In The Park” (ADC Theatre, Cambridge), Irene from “Through Blood To Green Pastures” (Howard Theatre, Cambridge), and Prudence from “Beyond Therapy” (Leicester Square Theatre, London). Her film work includes “Out Of Date” (directed by Borja Torres) and “Tooth Fairies” (directed by Steven R. Smith). Nora is also a playwright and co-director of SONAR, a newly started theatre company ( Moreover, Nora has studied music at the School of Music, Theatre, and Art, Örebro University, Sweden, and has released several music albums (

What's Next

  • A comedy set in early 20th century Rome, recounts the adventures of a vivacious, streetwise beggar on the threshold of adulthood.

    In this lighthearted offering our heroine navigates her way through a series of revealing encounters with a small coterie of the Italian bourgeoisie.
    Scàmpolo is the title of a play written by Dario Niccodemi at the beginning of the twentieth century. Scàmpolo, however, is not merely the play’s title but also the name given by Niccodemi to his central character, a street urchin, in what unfolds to be a mystical romantic comedy. Scàmpolo is in fact an Italian dressmaking term, used for the final length of material at the end of a roll of fabric, being too small to make another dress in the line, but too big for a blouse. The closest English translations of the word are: ‘remnant’, ‘off-cut’, ‘cabbage’ or perhaps ‘snip’. Nevertheless, Niccodemi’s heroine – who is said to be too old to be a girl and too young to be considered a woman (hence the title she has been bestowed, which the simplistic English definitions could not possibly conjure up) – is introduced to us as a Roman scamp, if you will, who is simply delivering laundry to the impoverished railway engineer, Tito. Awaiting the Italian government’s approval of his railway project for Libya, Tito shares a room in a rundown hotel with Franca, his volatile cabaret artiste lover. Tito unwittingly becomes Scàmpolo’s mentor, innocently introducing her to womanhood and life in his corner of Italian bourgeois society. This she turns on its head, all the while turning quite a few heads, minds and hearts. With her bright-minded, straight-talking street attitude she irrevocably changes the lives of all those with whom she comes into contact, exposing their pretentious middle-class mores, which Niccodemi recognised in his era - and which still exist today. The exotic and enchanting story of Scàmpolo – with, on the one hand, a vivacious, streetwise, yet strangely innocent young beggar and on the other, a cross-section of ostentatious, yet ‘tired & bored’ nouveaux riches – was written in the same era as Pygmalion, although much less of a fairy-tale. We have in Scàmpolo a tale of sexual intrigue, which serves as a back-drop to simple and unconditional love...
  • Early 20th century Italian dramatist Dario Niccodemi devised several comedies, portraying the peccadillos of the upper middle-class of his time.

    Dario Niccodemi (born Livorno 1874 – died Rome 1934) was an Italian dramatist and theatre director. He founded his own theatre company in 1921. In May of the same year he staged the very first production of Pirandello’s avant-garde drama ‘Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore’ at Rome’s Valle Teatro. The public uproar generated by this production could not have been wholly unexpected. Niccodemi’s own comedies portray the bourgeoisie in an ironic and sentimental way, with characters drawing inspiration from early 20thcentury society. Although Niccodemi’s works are regularly performed in Italy, his oeuvre is scarcely known in the UK. To our knowledge none of it has been previously translated into English.
  • Where & When

    Rosemary Branch Theatre
    April 19th | May 1st 2016
    Tuesday - Saturday 7.30pm | Sunday 6pm
    (Monday no performance)

    2 Shepperton Road, London, N1 3DT
    Tel: 020 7704 6665
  • Book now

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    Reserve by phone:
    020 7704 6665



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