The annual Hands Across the Sea celebration at the Santa Monica Playhouse, featuring the Italian-American Theatre Festival, will include the world premiere of the bilingual play Poco a Poco, Friday through Sunday, September 25th through 27th.

Performances are scheduled at 8 p.m. September 25th and 26th, with special matinees scheduled at 3 p.m. September 26th and 27th, at the Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St.

The festival is presented by the Santa Monica Playhouse International Theatre Exchange Program. The sister company “Blue in the Face” of Italy is in residence for the festival through September 28th.

The featured event of this year’s festival is Poco a Poco, a bilingual short-burst play created through the combined efforts of visiting “Blue in the Face” members, Actors’ Repertory Theatre artists and local actors and community members.

The play is directed by Playhouse Co-Artistic Director Chris DeCarlo. Audiences can also participate in post-show talk backs with the artists, mini-language lessons, and receive free Italian food-tasting following every show.

The performance combines a feast of movement, dance, music and performance art.

Participating artists include Lara Basso, Simone Damiani, Renato Pepe Davini, Rachel Galper, Ilaria Gori, Andrea Guerini, Linda Kohn, Monique Lukens, Martina Pappalardo, Daniele Petroselli and Berkeley Sanjay. Playhouse Associate Director Serena Dolinsky, Blue in the Face Artistic Director Enrico Maria Falconi, and Italian theatre artist Daniele Reali will act as project consultants.

Tickets to all performances are free. For reservations and information, the Santa Monica Playhouse box office at (310) 394-9779 ext. 1.