Press Release

ETC Releases Participatory Theatre – A Casebook Online

27 March 2020

On World Theatre Day 2020, the European Theatre Convention (ETC) is offering exclusive and unlimited access to its newest publication: Participatory Theatre – A Casebook is now available online.

“Participatory theatre has the capacity to be one alternative site of political participation, giving a voice to the voiceless”. For the past two years, ETC and its members have been exploring the concept of participatory theatre across Europe. The project, called ‘Our Stage’, gathered major European public theatres who addressed their challenges, successes and experiences in the casebook published today. 

On a day where almost all European theatres have closed their doors, with a very uncertain future (read ETC’s statement on the coronavirus pandemic here), the value of creativity is even more relevant than ever, as well as the influence that community involvement can have on it.

Bürgerbühne, Community Theatre, Teatro do Oprimido… Under many names, the practice and idea of turning citizens, users and audiences into active participants is on the rise. Many theatres feel the urge to link art to new and more democratic forms of communication and community involvement.

The publication Participatory Theatre – A Casebook offers insights, reflections and best-practice advice written from theatre makers, for theatre makers. All contributions are now available online.

Read Participatory Theatre – A Casebook now

About Our Stage

Our Stage introduces the idea of Bürgerbühne (literally citizens’ stage) – which is run the same way as a professional in-house production company but involves nonprofessional actors – as a new form of creative community outreach via artistic collaboration and as a new artistic business model. Parallel to Germany, where numerous Bürgerbühnen and similar models have been founded in recent years, the development of participatory theatre in other parts of Europe has also progressed.

In February 2018, nine ETC Member Theatres decided to explore the Bürgerbühne concept during a three-day workshop at Staatsschauspiel Dresden. Some of the ETC Members, like Schauspielhaus Graz, even developed a whole new Bürgerbühne stage.

The project culminated with the Our Stage – 4th European Bürgerbühne Festival as well as the ETC International Theatre Conference at Staatsschauspiel Dresden, which aimed at promoting a pan-European view of participatory theatre projects, strengthening these developments through an intensive exchange of form, content and experiences, and creating a European network for participatory theatre.

Press Contact

Joséphine Dusol

+49 30 28441 460

Our Stage is part of the ETC programme “ENGAGE – Empowering today’s audience through challenging theatre” and co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


The Our Stage – 4th European Bürgerbühne Festival has been co-organised with the Staatsschauspiel Dresden and co-funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.


Top picture: ©ETC/Freepik


Foreword to "Participatory Theatre - A Casebook"

This ETC casebook is about sharing knowledge with the creative community; it is an invitation for artists, scientists, theatre professionals, and cultural and societal decision makers to learn from our experiences.

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