Artists & Creatives
COVID-19 Recovery Resource Platform

Artists & Creatives
COVID-19 Recovery Resource Platform

How Can European Theatre Remain Open, Sustainable and Relevant in a Post-Pandemic Society?

30 OCTOBER 2021 The European Theatre Convention (ETC)’s ETC International Theatre Conference will take place in Malta from 28-31 October 2021.

Livestreamed panel discussion from 10:00 – 12:30 CET on Saturday 30 October

The flagship event will be a free-to-access panel discussion on making theatre more sustainable, nurturing artistic freedom, and promoting an open, inclusive society in Europe.

It will take place on Saturday 30 October from 10:00 – 12:30 CET.

WATCH: Envisioning the Future: European Theatre as Public Space for an Open Society 

The speakers include:

Tamás Szűcs, Director for Culture, Creativity and Sport at the European Commission’s Directorate General on Education, Youth, Sport and Culture
Maria Delgado, Professor and Director of Research at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London/UK
Bashar Murkus, Artistic Director of the Khashabi Theatre, an Independent Palestinian theatre in Haifa/Israel
Gianina Carbinariu, General Director Teatrul Tineretului/Romania
Serge Rangoni, Artistic Director & General Manager of Théâtre de Liège/Belgium and ETC President
Heidi Wiley, Executive Director of ETC


This conference is one of the first opportunities since the pandemic began for European theatres to meet in person and discuss what the past two years have really meant for their activity. Beyond the closed stages, the postponed performances, and the logistical challenges – what is the emotional and artistic legacy of the pandemic, and what do theatres need to be able to thrive again? What role does in-person theatre have in a society so used to online cultural experiences? How can we continue to build theatre as a public space that is sustainable, inclusive, and nurturing of artistic freedom and expression.

Finding the solutions will require listening to each other. It will require solidarity and strong networks. To support this, the event will feed into the European Union’s Conference on the Future of Europe, as a unique and timely opportunity for citizens and theatre professionals across Europe and to debate what theatre(s) can do for Europe, and what Europe – and the European Union – can do for theatre(s).

Speaking at the event, Szűcs will stress that the European Commission recognises the “dire impact” that the pandemic has had on the theatre sector, alongside the “urgent need to support the sector’s revival”.

He will add: “Today theatre represents, in a way, fundamental EU values and is therefore key for promoting healthy open democracies. Its accessibility and freedom remain essential to allow dialogue not just within Europe, but also across the globe.”

New priorities for Europe

The ETC International Theatre Conference will be one of the few opportunities for European theatres and young artists to contribute as a group to the Conference on the Future of Europe, the new initiative by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission. This is a commitment to listen to what people and organisations around the continent think Europe should do differently — aiming to deliver its conclusions in Spring 2022.

The first day of the ETC International Theatre Conference will collect participants’ thoughts on challenges and good practices developed during the pandemic. There is also dedicated space for young people to have their say, via the previously collected ‘Letters to Europe’ presentation on the second day of the conference. These conclusions will then be fed into the Conference on the Future of Europe platform.

The European Theatre Convention (ETC) is the largest network of publicly-funded theatres in Europe, drawn from 25 countries. It supports artistic collaboration and networking, professional development, and advocacy work to strengthen the European theatre sector.

Find more information here.

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