Around 100 people have occupied a historic Italian theatre where Luigi Pirandello\'s \"Six Characters in Search of an Author\" was first performed to protest plans to convert the landmark into a restaurant. The Valle, which opened in the 18th century and was the site of Pirandello\'s famous opening in 1921, is Rome\'s oldest active theatre. It is set to host its final performance on Thursday. The artists and other Rome residents who have occupied the Valle since Tuesday say converting the space into a high-end restaurant will tar the city\'s cultural identity. \"The Valle theatre is not the only precious space to save, but it is a symbol of the situation facing the arts in Italy,\" the protesters said in a call to Italians and specifically members of the country\'s cultural community. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has announced a 280 million euro (390 million dollars) cut in public funding for the arts over the next three years. The actor Silvio Orlando, who starred in a film about Berlusconi\'s rise to power, said the Valle was a \"temple of culture\" and must remain open.