One of the first poems in Friulian dates back to the 16th century. It is a two-voice poem (male-female), a love dialogue between the characters and, for its structure, it could be considered as the first attempt at a performance script. The Commedia dell’arte, which originated in Italy between 1500 and 1600, represents its time with vices and virtues bringing on stage allegoric performances inspired by the daily life of those times. In Friuli, Commedia dell’arte performances were not staged by local groups but by passing groups of Venetian performers. And the very lack of cultural foundations proposed by the Commedia will be the cause of the failed development of the theatre in our language until the 19th century.
The very first theatrical script in Friulian, in fact, dates back to 1847, when Pietro Zorutti signed the comedy Il trovatore Antonio Tamburo.
Many dramatic groups sprouted in the 19th century, followed by several writers, authors of light comedies, that characterise the Friulian theatre with simple and entertaining texts that were very appreciated by the general public.
Only in the last decades of the 19th century does the Friulian theatre succeed in partly free itself from traditional contents to approach modern narrative languages in the attempt to create its own cultural identity. And it is in these years that the first theatrical teaching initiatives are established and will later lead to the establishment of some professional theatrical groups.
In 2011 a three-year collaboration agreement was signed gathering 14 subjects, including institutions and theatrical entities, to promote theatre in Friulian: the “Farie Teatrâl Furlane“.