Creator and performer
Ennio Marchetto is a world renowned, multi-award-winning comedian who has created his own theatrical language which mixes mime, dance, music and costumes of cardboard and paper. In 18 years Ennio has performed in over 70 countries for more than a million people. His show has received numerous awards and international critical acclaim.
Ennio was born in Venice, Italy, near the home of Carlo Goldoni, the 17th century dramatist. In his teens, Commedia Dell’Arte and the Disney cartoons inspired him to develop costumes for the Venice’s Carnivale. Ennio’s costumes, made with disposable materials like paper and plastic, were a huge hit. During this time, he studied at the Scuola Dell’Arte—the preparatory school for the Accademia Dell’Arte—and worked in his father’s coffee machine repair shop.
Ennio’s show was inspired by a daydream he had while dismantling Espresso machines. In it, Marilyn Monroe—made of paper—came flying into the room. Afterwards, he created a “paper Marilyn,” and studied old records and films to mimic her movements. Over the next few years, he developed his repertoire while he worked at the Teatro Dell’Arte making masks and spent time in France, where he attended a workshop with performing artist Lindsey Kemp. Afterwards, he decided to perform his own work full time.
Ennio and co-director and designer Sosthen Hennekam launched their show of living cartoons at the 1990 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Today, the show boasts over 100 characters, and has been performed on stage and television throughout the world, receiving rave reviews on six continents. His show has been nominated for several prestigious awards, including London’s Olivier Award and New York’s Drama Desk Award.
Co-director / Co-designer
Sosthen Hennekam has worked alongside Ennio Marchetto since 1989. His background is in costume and fashion design, and his training encompasses several years at Studio Berçot, as well as work as a dressmaker in one of the “ateliers” for Christian Dior, and design for Jean Paul Gaultier, Adeline André and Rei Kawakubo. In 1987, he became the principal designer for Thierry Mugler’s menswear division.
He moved to Italy in 1989, saw one of Ennio Marchetto’s early shows and met the paper artist—launching a highly productive and creative collaboration which continues today.
Mr. Hennekam’s fashion background brings a technical facility to the show, developing Ennio’s basic costumes into more durable creations which can morph from one character to another onstage. Since the show’s inception, his input has grown to encompass both artistic and technical aspects of the show. As Ennio’s co-director and designer, he designs the lighting and sound, and works with Ennio to develop new characters and routines.
A native of the Netherlands, Mr. Hennekam now runs a bed and breakfast in the heart of Venice.