A 19 years old Claudio Cinelli joined the "Teatro Limite" theatre company that was directed first by Alberto Pozzolini and later by Coriolano Mandoli. Shows such as "Maneggiare con cura” on the violence of power, "Kaspar" Kaspar Hauser story, "Aushvizaktion" and "Zobeide" were performed.
In the early 80’s he was one of the co-founders of "Laboratorio Popolare di Attività Espressive" and right after that he founded with Alessandro Gigli the "Burattini del Sole" company. Their show "Voli Pindarici" marked formally their debut in the Italian figure theatre.
On this occasion, he met Mariano Dolci, Otello Sarzi and Gimmi Ferrari, who will be important role models for his future art development.
With his "Burattini del Sole" theatre company he created two shows, "Ombrelli" and "Fantasma". Their multidisciplinary techniques set the connotative poetry style of the company.
He achieved a Certificate in Directing and set design at “The Busoni Centre” in Empoli, led by Virginio Puecher.
The “Burattini del Sole” company became affiliated with Centro per la Ricerca e Sperimentazione Teatrale in Pontedera. Giovanna Daddi, Enza Colatutto, Rosalba Videk joined the company so that "Gran Teatro dei Burattini del Sole" was formed. The new company produced "Turandot" by Ferruccio Busoni, a Javanese marionette opera with Juri Saleri as lighting designer and Maurizio Buscarino as scene photographer. Turandot was a great success at Maggio Fiorentino of that year.
In 1985 Claudio performed his first one-man show: "Mani d'Opera - Traviata" that has become one of the historic performances in the international figure theatre.
Together with Sandro Berti (Banda Osiris), he produced "Nerveuse". The show was hosted at various Festivals both in Germany and Holland.
During these years he took part in several editions of Santarcangelo di Romagna Festival. In one of these occasions, he met Mario Bacciottini, a lighting designer. Since then Bacciottini has followed Claudio in his tours as PR and assistant manager.
Later on, he met Roberto Maggioni, a remarkable stand-up comedian, and they worked together and produced shows such as "Animal Musik" and "Mad in Italy". They went together to their first tour in Japan.
At the beginning of 1986, he produced his second one-man show "Scretch" which marked an original transversal journey in the world of figure theatre. He met Dante Cappelletti, journalist, writer, teacher and theatre critic who would be the external relator for his dissertation at the University.
He met Renata Fabbri, Diego Fabbri’s daughter. They have become very good friends, a friendship based on artistic and intellectual complicity.
He has performed on various National Televison shows. He was a participant on Fantastico7 (Pippo Baudo, Lorella Cuccarini, Alessandra Martinez), Jeans and Jeans 2 (Fabio Fazio), Via Teulada 66 (Loretta Goggi e Leopoldo Mastelloni), Pronto chi gioca (Enrica Bonaccorti).
Andrea Anderman, an international events producer, called him on the "La Notte della Musica" live worldwide programme where Claudio Cinelli met and worked with Vittorio Gassman, Zubin Metha, I.S.O. (the American dance company later was known as "Momix") directed by Damiano Damiani.
At the “Gala della Marina” (The Navy Gala) he was one of many guests such as Britney Huston, Lando Buzzanca, etc., directed by Gino Landi, in the presence of the president of Italy Francesco Cossiga.
He was invited to the World Festival of Charleville Mèzièrès and that was the start of his tour in many countries in the world.
In 1987 at the International Festival of the Figure Theatre "Arrivano dal Mare", in Cervia he was given the "Sirena d'Oro" award as the most singular and distinguished puppeteer of 1987.
At the beginning of the 90’s Claudio Cinelli was often on tour in Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Holland and Canada. Then in Japan at the Shizuoka Festival and at the Osaka Festival where he received the “Golden Key” of the town.
The Canadian magazine "Voir" and the English magazine "Animation" (journalist Gillie Robic) had various of his interviews about the relationship between television and puppets as well as about his work on the role of the hand in the Figure Theatre.
He co-produced "Macbeth" with Grazia Bellucci’s theatre company TeatrOmbria for the Comunale Theatre in Florence.
The World Festival of Charleville Mèzièrès considered him, in its book “30 years of the Festival” one of the 30 most significant puppeteers at international level. He founded the Porte Girevoli company.
The Mirepoix Festival in France dedicated a festival on his productions, "Traviata", "Scretch", "Fuoco", "Dreams on the Road" and "Macbeth", the latter was exceptionally performed inside the gothic cathedral of Mirepoix.
Then again he went to Japan where this time he received the"Golden Key" of Shizuoka.
He was invited to Canada in order to lead a workshop on the Figure Theatre and a series of shows in Montreal.
Again together with the TeatrOmbria group, he co-produced "Ivan the Terrible" for the Comunale Theatre in Florence. He was the set and costume designer in "Elegia per Pizia solista" by Alfonso Cipolla.
In 1993 Claudio curated the show "Puccini en sortirà!" co-producing it with Todi Festival, he was the director, the scenographer and costume designer. Script by Paolo Lucchesini and in this occasion the narrating voices were performed by Gianfranco Becherelli, Gianna Giachetti, Anna Montinari, Paola Roman, and Patrizia Tagliagambe. Later on, he was in Naples on the television show hosted by Toto Cutugno and Alba Parietti.
In the mid 90’s he took part in the Montreal Festival "Just pour Rire" and then in New York at the "Village Theatre".
He started his collaboration with the director Luca Valentino as scenographer and costume director ("Orfeo Vedovo" by Savinio and "Im und zuruk" by Hindemith).
Puccini Foundation, in Torre del Lago (director Angelo Cavallaro), offered him the directing as well as the scenography and costumes of "Suor Angelica" by G. Puccini. This was Claudio official debut as director of Opera Theatre.
He worked at the Comunale Theatre in Florence and at Maggio Fiorentino in "Sheerazade" with Carole Hermitage choreography. He built a realistic Bunraku puppet and directed the dancers for its animation as it was the main character in the ballet performance.
The show "Puccini en sortirà!" was a representative of Italy at the Stadsschouwburg Centenary Celebration in Amsterdam.
In Paris La Citè de la Musique called him as director, scene and costume designer of "Le tresor de la nuit" opera by Alain Feron.
Pergolesi Theatre in Jesi assigned him the directing, scenography and costumes of "the Little Sweeps" opera by Benjamin Britten.
In Oporto, Portugal he put on stage the "Sem corpo nem voz"show, script by Paola Presciuttini and later on "Effeitos Especias" with the Theatre Academy.
In 1997 the Belgian magazine "Figuero" published one of his interviews on The Figure Theatre. He put on stage "J.E.F.- Just Easy Fun" at the World Festival of Charleville Mezieres and wrote the first draft of the "Heartbeat" show, which had its final version in 1999.
He worked with Linsey Kemp for the Iris opera, by Mascagni. Later on, he was back to Oporto, as director and scenographer of "L'enfant et les sortileges" opera by Ravel.
Pergolesi Theatre in Jesi assigned him the directing, scenography and costumes of the "Turandot" by G. Puccini. Cast: Maria Dragoni, Dimitra Theodossiou, Ignazio Incinas. The first Italian tour of the "Heartbeat" show started and then it was also performed in Slovenia, Croatia, France, Austria, Germany and Spain.
At Barga, he was the scenographer and costume designer of "Paratajo" by Jommelli and at Anversa of "Les Bavards" by Offenbach, directed by Luca Valentino.
"Puck" magazine published one of his articles on “Counterpoint Theatre” and on his work about the Opera with marionettes. He works for the Slovenian television. He took part in the show "Heartbeat" in the World Festival of Charleville Mezieres. Then he was on tour in Slovenia, Greece, Germany and Poland.
He took part in Evora Festival, in Portugal and met the Company of the famous Russian Maestro Serghej Obraztof. In September 2001 Claudio was invited to Moscow at the Centenary of Serghej Obraztof’s birth Festival.
He set up the exhibition "I Fili della Memoria" at Rivoli on the Piemonte tradition of string marionettes curated by Alfonso Cipolla and Giovanni Moretti.
He gave lectures at DAMS University in Bologna about the figure theatre.
He founded his own Figure Theatre School.
"Heartbeat" was performed at the "Teatro della Gioia" Festival directed by Dacia Maraini. In Polland, Cinelli was given the award for the best director with "Heartbeat" show.
Together with Barbara Nativi (Laboratorio 9 in Sesto Fiorentino) and the Canadian Natalie Claude (choreographer and director) Leni Parker (actor and director) and the musician Marco Baraldi, he led an experimenting workshop on "memories and smell".
In 2004 he put on stage, together with Luca Valentino, "Ciottolino" opera by Ferrari Trecate for Turin Regio Theatre. He curated the scenography and costumes.
He was on tour in Brazil with "Mani d'Opera".
At the Mittelfestival directed by Moni Ovadia in Cividale del Friuli, he worked together with Gennaro Cavanacciuolo actor in "Allegra era la Vedova" as scenographer and costume director.
He worked again with Luca Valentino at Regio Theatre in Turin for the scenography and costumes of "La Nave a tre Piani" opera by C. Boccadoro.
Cinelli was invited at the Salamanca International Culture and Art Festival and then in Quebec to led workshops on “the hands’ theatre”.
In 2006 he made his debut at Wels in Austria with "Atto II". He was the director, scenographer and costume designer of "Il Giardino del Gigante" opera by Clapasson. He was also the scenographer and costume designer of "Lo Scoiattolo in gamba" by Nino Rota and directed by Luca Valentino for Comunale Theatre in Alessandria.
At the beginning of 2007, he was in Sarasota, Florida at the Italian Festival. Later on, he worked on the first part of the Italian project "Transity" at "La Luna è Azzurra" Festival in San Miniato.
In August 2007, at "Meeting" in Rimini, he made his debut with "Nessun Dorma" in which Claudio’s long researched idea of theatre came together. A complex event with opera singers, dancers and live music: there were twenty-five artists on stage but the main characters were the puppets.
He started his collaboration with Ticino Musica in Lugano, curating the scenography, costumes and lighting design of Il Signor Bruschino by Rossigni.
In August/September 2008 he was in Canada taking part in Maniganses Festival and also for the Transity project that came to an end at Jonquires after 3 years and with 4 productions. Here in Canada, at Quebec City Cinelli was invited to the Quebec 400th Anniversary.
In February 2009 he took part in the project "NUOVO TEATRO-LA SCUOLA TOSCANA" at Metastasio Theatre in Prato with "I Testimoni" show by Diego Fabbri.
In December he made his debut with "Dreamers", a show that combines ballet and marionettes.
He curated the exhibition "Nella Bocca dell'Immaginazione" for La Casa dei Teatri di Villa Pamphili in Roma.
His "Heartbeat" show won the Critics Award at "Luglio Bambino" Festival at Campi Bisenzio, and it was on the events schedule of "Giffoni Festival" as well as in various Italian theatre. He started to work on the "Anima" project, a trilogy about the soul, a research on the energy that gives life…on the concept of God… on his materialization .....on "Figure".
He curated the puppets animation of ENI tv advertisement.
He started his tour in Bulgaria, Portugal, Israel and Swisse with his shows "Heartbeat" and "Scretch", and performed short shows at the MEYER Children Hospital in Florence.
He curated the permanent setting of the Gianduia Museum, at Grugliasco, for Beni Marionettistici Institute in Torino.
Nanni Fabbri had the company involved with the project related to the theatre activities for the Centenary of Diego Fabbri’s birth that took place into the Valle Theatre in Rome, on this occasion the show "I Testimoni" was set up again and performed in Rome in April.
For the Regio Theatre in Turin, he curated the scenography of "Pinocchio" a new production, directed by Luca Valentino.
In July 2011, Musica Ticino in Lugano put him in charge of the scenography, costumes and lightings of "La scala di seta" opera by G. Rossini, directed by Laura Cosso.
Leonardo Diana (dancer)and Claudio were among the finalists at the "Premio di danza contemporanea Equilibrio” in Rome, with the "Naufragi" project.
He worked as choreographer and costume designer of "l'Occasione fa il ladro" opera by Rossini, in Lugano for Ticino Musica.
In 2013 for Teatrombria he was the director, scenographer and costume designer of "Hansel & Gretel". He worked again for Ticino Musica on "La Cambiale di Matrimonio" opera by Rossini, curating the scenography, costumes and lights.The Opera was performed in July that year.
In November 2013 he was in Puebla in Mexico with the "Dreamers" show.
At the beginning of 2014 in Rome, he directed the Mnemosyne project with action painting artist Cinzia Fiaschi, dancer Alessandra Cristiani and the musician Claudio Moneta at the event"I Colori della Guarigione". The event was promoted by the “Associazione contro le leucemie del bambino e l'adulto” and by S. Camillo-Forlanini Hospital.
In February he was in Turin on the occasion of the Concerto al Buio "M'illumino di musica" installation, a Pequenas Huelas production, directed by Luca Valentino. In the , the Fondazione Toscana Spettacolo included "Kabarett 13" in his schedule of events. He attended together with Miosotysdans the fundraising event for the Meyer Hospital at Comunale Theatre in Florence.
In July he was the scenographer and costume designer of the "Don Giovanni" Opera by W.A.Mozart in Lugano for Musica Ticino directed by Laura Cosso.
In November he made his debut with "Fortepiano" show together with the musician Leonardo Brizzi.
At the beginning of 2015, he worked to design and make the costumes for the "Ernelinda" a baroque opera for Scatola Sonora Festival of the Vivaldi Conservatoire, in Alessandria directed by Luca Valentino. In this period he started his collaboration with the director Marco Gandini of La Scala Theatre in Milan, to create and set up the scenography of "Nozze di Figaro" for Ticino Musica Festival in Lugano. In May "Ernelinda" made its debut in Alessandria and in July "Nozze di Figaro" directed by Marco Gandini. In October he took part in the Figure Theatre Festival in Istanbul. At the end of the year, he had a collaboration with Alessandro Vezzosi, who is the “Museo ideale di Leonardo da Vinci” director, in order to set up a theatre workshop as well as a performance for “Teatro dell'Universo di Leonardo da Vinci” project.
In 2016 in Alessandria he created from scratch the scenography and costume of "Paratajo" by Jommelli for Vivaldi Conservatoire. Then he was in Lugano for "Elisir d'Amore" Opera by Donizetti, directed by M. Gandini as scenographer and costume designer. He was on tour with the "Fortepiano" show and in October the show was the closing performance of the Lugano International Festival. He was the costume designer of "La Regina delle Nevi" Opera by Valtinoni, directed by l. Valentino for “Orchestra e Coro G. Verdi“ in Milan. In December he curated the artistic installations "Il Presepe dell'Anima", a traditional Nativity, rearranged according to a modern poetical imagery and "…Homini sanza Pace", together with A. Marconcini.
2017 – Mani d’Opera and Heartbeat shows are present in various theater seasons and festivals in Italy. He creates and directs the theatrical event "Le notti di Puck" for the Municipality of Vinci. He creates the sets and costumes for "Cosi 'fan tutte" by Mozart, a production of Ticino Musica directed by Marco Gandini, and creates scenes, costumes and puppets for the "Wizard of OZ" by Valtinoni directed by Luca Valentino for the lyric season of Bassano del Grappa. For this occasion, as for the Pinocchio of 2011 at the Teatro Regio in Turin, it prepares the singers to animate and interact with the puppets. In October he directed the sets and costumes for "Il caso di Alessandro e Maria" by Gaber and Liperini.