ETC Engage 2017-21: Celebrating Four Years

Looking back at an investment which has transformed both the ETC network and the wider theatre sector

16 August 2021

2021 sees ETC celebrate the end of the 4 year ENGAGE programme - an investment of 1 million euro of EU funding which has transformed both the ETC network and the wider theatre sector. 

Launched in 2017, ENGAGE has created 652 connections to 52 European theatres through member events, conferences and artistic projects, created work which has reached over 250,000 audience members across the continent, and supported countless artists over the past four years. It has allowed us to establish ETC not only as an arts organisation but as an accelerator for international collaboration, pioneering ideas and concepts and setting trends in youth theatre, participatory theatre and digital theatre. 

Alongside a host of exciting projects, we have put theatre on the European policy agenda with our first European Theatre Forum, and through lobbying for support for the arts through the pandemic. We have also addressed and introduced global issues of diversity and sustainability, including establishing an ambitious goal to become a climate-neutral network by 2030 - as set out in the ETC Sustainability Action Code for Theatres.

ENGAGE has also seen us invest in numerous emerging artists, cultivating and strengthening the future of European theatre. 728 artists have been supported via creative projects, including 100 young dramaturgs and directors through our ETC European Theatre Academy at the Festival d’Avignon and the ETC Artist in Residency programmes. As a result of this support, 82 new cross-border theatre productions and plays have been initiated, showing in the process the capacity of European theatres to think innovatively and creatively.

During the Coronavirus crisis, ENGAGE allowed us to deepen our commitment to advocacy. We collaborated with hundreds of artists, theatres and networks, and campaigned for special COVID-related income support for theatres. ETC was the subject of international press coverage, featuring in 80 news stories in 21 countries.

We also moved much of our artistic support online through digital projects, including Renaissance, which allowed 22 theatres from 18 European countries to write and produce five minute short films responding to the dramatic prompt of ‘Renaissance’. This project involved 250 artists, connecting them around one cross-border project when travelling and touring was made impossible due to the pandemic. Our work through 2020 and 2021 changed the perception of an entire sector, making it clear that theatre is an industry on its own that needs attention.

The last four years have allowed us to re-engage with audiences, connect with partners in society, collaborate with theatre makers across Europe, and allowed us to support European theatre in continuing to bring narratives from all of Europe's corners to our stages. Watch the video below which highlights the many achievements of the programme.


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