European Theatre Forum 2023
‘Envisioning the way forward’ was the title of the first-ever in-person European Theatre Forum, organized by the European Commission (11-13 May). Bringing together the wide European theatre sector at this major high-level event upon the invitation by the European Commission, ETC member theatres were invited alongside many other key representatives to engage and reflect on the future of European theatre.
THOC was there, with Theatre Development officer Marina Maleni, who actively took part in the sessions and discussions along with colleagues representing theatres from all over Europe, EU officials and decision-makers, who gathered to share and develop ideas on the main issues troubling the theatre world.
The rich and dynamic program of networking, panel discussions and exchange, was also an opportunity to collect the main needs and desires of the theatre sector, which will then be transmitted to the European Commission.
The sessions covered the broad themes of democracy and theatre, digitality in theatre, and sustainable progress in theatre. The European Commission will publish the official conclusions and roadmap for change from the event, known as the Opole Recommendations, in June and will continue the dialogue at the ‘European Theatre Talks’ during the Festival d’ Avignon.
EU officials made it clear that offering more money was not in question, but gathering information in order to formulate policies at the European level that will foster theatre development in a positive way both for Theatre Makers and societies.
As a member of the European Theatre Convention (ETC), Cyprus Theatre Organisation’s Theatre Development officer Marina Maleni participated at the ETC International Theatre Conference which was also held from 10-14 May 2023 in Opole, Poland. ETC member theatres were also invited to take part in a ‘Symposium’ on digital practices in theatre as part of the ACuTe project and in the European Theatre Forum 2023, a major European Commission event. The events on the future of European theatre were hosted by the JK Opole Theatre.
Highlights included: ▪The creation of a new ETC sustainability group of theatres to exchange views on best practices and the trial of a green certification tool ▪An introduction to and the launch of the new ETC Study on Digital Theatre and Business Models ▪Insight into a new method of ‘design thinking’ for linking together theatres and technology experts ▪High-level exchange and dialogue with the European Commission about a new ‘roadmap’ for the theatre sector.
The Spring ETC International Theatre Conference began with a rich discussion on cultural and humanistic leadership, led by Dragan Šimičević, a psychologist and change manager, and a brainstorming session on ideas for new projects for ETC.
The conference was also the place to launch a new collaboration between ETC and the Theatre Green Book, initiating an applied research programme to create practical European guidance for making sustainable change straightforward and comparable in theatres. The ‘ETC Theatre Green Book’ will eventually become a new certification process to ensure momentum in the push to help theatres reach net zero emissions.
Initially, it will be trialled by a group of 9 ETC theatres from across the continent to get their theatres to ‘baseline’ standard across their productions, buildings and operations. These theatres will then work as ambassadors to enable sustainable change in other theatres in the network.
Three new theatres joined the ETC network as full members during the conference: Malmö Stadsteater (Malmö/Sweden), Lucian Blaga National Theatre (Cluj-Napoca/Romania) and Tiroler Landestheater (Innsbruck/Austria). One organisation also joined as an Associate member: PAV (Rome/Italy). The Convention is now a particularly important pillar of the European cultural scene, with more than 60 members (public theatre organisations) throughout 30 countries.
From enriching sessions to meaningful conversations, this conference once again reinforced the participants belief in the power of artistic collaboration, innovation, and community. Now they are more ready than ever to embrace new challenges, and eager to continue their journey towards a brighter and more inclusive future for the sector.
The next ETC International Theatre Conference will take place in partnership with Timisoara National Theatre (Romania) from 9-11 November 2023, during Timisoara's year as European Capital of Culture.
Founded in 1988, the European Theatre Convention (ETC) is the largest network of public theatres in Europe. It is an arts organisation that promotes European theatre as a vital platform for dialogue, democracy and interaction that responds to, reflects and engages with today’s diverse audiences and changing societies. ETC’s programme of grants and events support networking, professional development and artistic collaborations for theatre staff across Europe-championing theatre as a key European art form for the 21st century.
ETC has 62 members from 30 countries and is supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.