Our speakers for the ETC International Theatre Conference, Opole (Poland) 10-14 May 2023

Last updated: 09/05/2023

Wednesday 10 May

Welcome Speeches


Norbert Rakowski

Theatre Director, PhD

Graduated from the Faculty of Drama Directing at the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw. Since 1997 he has worked as an assistant director of Krystian Lupa and as a director of documentary films in the Polish Television Theatre. As a theatre director, he debuted with his original production Suddenly (Studio Theatre in Warsaw) and in 2001 he staged his diploma production of Robert Anderson's Solitaire (Contemporary Theatre in Warsaw). Since then he directed several dozen plays and co-operated with many theaters in Poland and abroad (such as Poznan, Cracow, Warsaw, Prague, Szczecin and others).

He was awarded a few times with the Golden Mask for Direction. He mainly directs plays concerned with contemporary topics or works with classics in contemporary aesthetics. A special place in his career is occupied by a period of laboratory work focused on working with dancers and research in combining dramatic language with contemporary dance theater (performances such as Bluebeard, Flow).

Since 2015 he is the General and Artistic Director of JK Opole Theatre and Director of the Festival of Polish Classic Drama 'Konfrontacje' in Opole. In 2016 he created a new space of unusual characters called Modelatornia. His idea was to create and consistently develop a place that would serve the implementation of postulates of Jerzy Grotowski - providing the basis for experimental explorations in the field of theatre.

Norbert Rakowski invites artists to Opole who want to confront fundamental ideological problems on the stage and who are not afraid of creative dialogue with the audience through their original stage language.


Serge Rangoni

Artistic Director & General Manager, Théâtre de Liège/Belgium; President of the Board of Directors, European Theatre Convention

Serge Rangoni is the artistic director & general manager of Théâtre de Liège/Belgium and has been President of the ETC Board of Directors since 2017. He studied at the Conservatoire of Brussels. After working in various theatre institutions and at the Ministry of Culture, he was designated in 2004 as General Manager of Théâtre de Liège. Under his leadership, the theatre received the titles of “European center of theatrical creation and choreography” and “Centres for Drama” in the French-speaking area of Belgium, affirming its role in theatrical and dance productions and their dissemination to local and international audiences.

Since his arrival at its head, the institution has developed considerably, with now an audience of 65,000 and more than 180 performances a season. Théâtre de Liège is today the leading stage in Wallonia.


Heidi Wiley

ETC Executive Director

Heidi Wiley has been Executive Director of the European Theatre Convention (ETC) since 2009. Under her leadership, ETC has become an established European cultural network with an international programme of artistic collaboration, professional development and advocacy for Europe’s public theatres, spanning over 30 countries. She led ETC to become a strategic partner of the European Commission and the recipient of  several prestigious prizes, including the 2022 Art Explora – Académie des Beaux-Arts European Award for innovation in access to culture; and European prizes for outstanding achievement in the fields of audience development and cultural heritage.

Heidi is a sought after moderator and speaker at European events and conferences. In 2022, Speaker at the 8th Culture & RTBF Meeting; 2021, Consultant for European cultural policy agencies KEA (Brussels) and PPMI (Vilnius); 2020, Co-initiator of the 1st European Theatre Forum of the European Commission and the German EU Council Presidency; 2019, Author for the European Expert Network on Culture and Audiovisual (EENCA).

Heidi started her career as international producer and touring manager for artists Victoria Chaplin and the Tiger Lillies, touring around Europe and Asia at major festivals and theatre venues. A studied cultural manager with degrees from La Sorbonne and Leuphana University, she lived and worked over the last 25 years in the UK, US, France and Germany.

Workshop: Interaction Design by Toto.io

For Project partners only


Georg Werner


Georg Werner studied Cultural Sciences at Hildesheim University (diploma), Experimental Media Design at UdK Berlin and Sound Art at HBK Braunschweig. He frequently works in cooperations with various international artists and groups/collectives at the poles between art and technology. His creativity is motivated to invent systems that work on an artistic and technical level. He translates between these worlds and modifies objects and spaces in such a way, that they invite discovery and sensitize perception. He shares his experiences and knowledge in workshops and lectureships.


Markus Schubert

Creative Technologist, Berlin/Germany

Markus Schubert is a tech entrepreneur and creative technologist. He founded Nebelflucht GmbH and toto.io, and is a member of the hackerspace "Raumfahrtagentur" in Berlin. Markus has worked on interactive games and immersive installations for over a decade, collaborating with various groups and artists, including Staatstheater Augsburg, Saarländisches Staatstheater, and Staatstheater Nürnberg. He was a Fellow at the Academy for Theater and Digitality at Theater Dortmund in 2020 and now teaches computer science at the Berlin University of Applied Science.

Thursday 11 May

ACuTe Symposium

State of the Art: Digitality in Theatre


Katie Hawthorne

Writer and Researcher, Edinburgh/UK

Katie is a writer and researcher, specialising in the relationship between live performance and emerging technologies. She is based at the University of Edinburgh, where she will shortly complete her doctoral research “Contextualising Liveness: Digitally Distributed, Mediated and Located Theatre in Edinburgh and Berlin, 2017-19”. At the Academy for Theatre and Digitality, she is working on a project titled “Automating the Audience”, which explores the ethics of labour in emerging modes of digital audienceship and asks: What would it mean to have an automated audience?


Ramona Mosse

Head of Theatre Department, Zurich University of the Arts

Dr. Ramona Mosse is Head of Theatre at the Zurich University of the Arts. Her research focuses on digital dramaturges, intermediality, and eco-criticism in contemporary theatre and performance. From 2021-2022 she was PI of the VolkswagenFoundation-funded artistic research project "Viral Theatres" that documented digital performance practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is co-editor of the Special Issue Hybrid Futures of the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media. She holds a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University.


Veronika Liebl

Managing Director at the department Festival/Prix/Exhibitions of Ars Electronica

Veronika Liebl studied economic and business science at Johannes Kepler University in Linz (graduated in 2010) with study visits at Harvard University (US) and Université de Fribourg (CH) and has an interdisciplinary background in non-profit and innovation management. Since 2011 she is in charge of cultural management and European project development at Ars Electronica Linz and serves as a member for the Linz’ city culture council, Linz UNESCO City of Media Arts’ executive board and the Content Innovation Council of the Frankfurt Book Fair’s program ARTS+. She programs and produces collaborative programs with partners from arts, science and industry. She leads Ars Electronica’s European collaboration projects in the field of culture, research & education and developed, launched as well as executed in this position – together with her team – numerous EU projects such as the STARTS Prize or the
European ARTificial Intelligence Lab.


Jedidjah Julia Noomen

Interaction & Game Design, Netherlands

Jedidjah started as a writer and (assistant) director in theatre, before moving into digital interactive productions as narrative designer on many European (VR) games. Bringing her knowledge back to the theatre realm, she also assists theatre (and film) makers develop narrative and interactive structures for digital/hybrid productions (currently working with Theater Utrecht and De Toneelmakerij). Next to this she is boardmember at the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation and advisor for the Flemish Gamefund and EACEA.


Vanessa Hannesschlaeger

Ars Electronica, Linz/Austria

Vanessa Hannesschläger is head of European Projects of Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria. She holds a PhD in literature from the University of Vienna, where she teaches digital humanities. Her research focuses on new narratives and forms in theatre, a topic she explores in her work at Ars Electronica in projects around digital theatre and new approaches to XR. In the European policy context, Vanessa advocates for digital infrastructure for the arts and humanities, data literacy and Open Science.

Thursday 11 May

ACuTe Work-in-Progress & Best Practices



Blair Stevenson

Educator, Researcher and Administrator, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Blair is an educator, researcher and administrator with a broad range of experience in the fields of education, culture and technology. Currently, he is Principal Lecturer at the Department of Media and Performing Arts, Oulu University of Applied Sciences (Oamk). In this role, he has founded a series of globally unique programs bridging education, innovation and the creative industries and is now acting as the founding lead for a new Centre for Arts Innovation in Oulu. He has just returned from a leave in Toronto, Canada where he was working with a number of organizations such as the University of Pennsylvania, EdTech Hub and the University of Toronto where he completed an adjunct professorship with the BMO Lab in Creative Research in the Arts, Performance, Emerging Technologies and Artificial Intelligence.


Rebecca Rouse

Associate Professor in Game Development at University of Skövde, Sweden

Rebecca Rouse, Phd is an Associate Professor in Game Development at University of Skövde, Sweden, where her research focuses on investigating new forms of storytelling with new technologies such as immersive and responsive systems. Rouse’s applied design and artistic research is complemented by work in critical pedagogies, design methods, queer feminist media theory and history of technology.


Michael Eickhoff

Dramaturg, Akademie für Theater und Digitalität, Dortmund/Germany

Michael Eickhoff studied history, sociology and German literature in Bielefeld and Paris. Since 2000 he has been working as production manager, dramaturg, curator and lecturer for various theaters (most recently as head dramaturge at Schauspiel Dortmund). Since summer 2020, he has been working as a dramaturge at the Academy for Theatre and Digitality, where he is not only responsible for a large number of collaborations between art, science and business, but also for international networking and project coordination.


Paulien Geerlings 

ETC Vice-President and Head Dramaturge at De Toneelmakerij, Amsterdam/The Netherlands

Paulien Geerlings is a dramaturge, translator and yogi. After her high school education, she studied Philosophy and Theatre studies at the University of Amsterdam. In 2004 she graduated at DasArts, an international, multidisciplinary Master of Theatre, based in Amsterdam and founded by Ritsaert ten Cate. Between 2004 and 2006, she has been working with Theatre Company Dood Paard. In 2006 she became dramaturge of Ad de Bont, playwright and artistic director of youth theatre company Wederzijds. This company merged with Liesbeth Coltof’s Huis aan de Amstel in 2009 and became De Toneelmakerij, the Amsterdam theatre company for young audiences. Since its establishment, Paulien Geerlings is the in house dramaturge of De Toneelmakerij. As dramaturge, she has a strong focus on new writing, coaching of playwrights and supporting writers initiatives. She translated several plays for De Toneelmakerij. Her latest work entitled "2022 Witnessing U: Testimonials from the Frontline" was created together Bogdana Orleanova and Iana Gudzenko based on testimonials from the war.


Markus Zizenbacher

Camera/Editor, Schauspielhaus Graz, Austria

Markus Zizenbacher was born in 1986, grew up in Vienna, lived in Germany and France and studied philosophy and film studies at the Vienna Film Academy. The projects he has worked on include the participation of short films in various festivals, screenwriting, research for documentary films and working as a caster for various feature films. Most recently he is working on virtual reality projects at the Schauspielhaus Graz.

Thursday 11 May

ETC Conference

Keynote: Cultural and humanistic leadership


Dragan Šimičević

Psychologist, Coach, Supervisor & Change Manager

Dragan was born in Sarajevo and grew up in Croatia. He studied psychology and focused on the psychology of personality and organizational psychology. Dragan's purpose is to help people and organizations understand, optimize and grow organically and in a healthy way. He completed his Master's degree in Leadership and Consulting and specializes in management consulting with a psychoanalytical approach. He works as a manager for a consulting agency and as an independent consultant and change manager. In his field of work, his clients include executives from various industries (art and culture, public relations/marketing). The connection between psychology and art is his passion and vocation.

Saturday 13 May

ETC Conference

TRANSFORMATIONS Membership Meeting


Hélène Gauthier

Project & Network Manager

Hélène Gauthier studied Political Sciences and International Cultural Management in France and India. She started her professional life at the French Embassy in Berlin as a Cultural Officer in 2011. She moved back to France in 2013 to work at ARTE, the European cultural TV channel, as an Advisor to the Presidents, where she contributed to securing EU funding for the channel's project "ARTE Europe", of subtitling French-German audio-visual content in four further European languages (English, Spanish, Polish and Italian). After four years at ARTE, she moved back to Berlin and first worked with the Daniel Barenboim Foundation and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra before joining the ETC team.


Teresa Pfaud

Project Manager

Teresa Pfaud studied Cultural Sciences and French Philology at the University of Potsdam and General Management at Nordakademie Graduate School in Hamburg. After internships at the Ministry of Culture and Youth in Costa Rica and Museo del Baile Flamenco in Sevilla (Spain), she worked in Berlin for the PR agency ARTEFAKT Kulturkonzepte and for the Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden, where she conducted workshops and co-founded the project “Opernshots”. She joined ETC in 2015 as Project Coordinator of the artistic collaboration projects.


Christy Romer

Communication Manager

Christy studied International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. After internships at political consultancy firms and national newspapers, he spent four years as a journalist at the arts policy magazine ArtsProfessional, then contributed articles as a freelance writer to The Guardian, The Independent, El País and City Lab. He joined ETC in October 2020.


Lisa Burger

Co-director of Renew Culture

Lisa Burger is one of the UK's most respected strategic leaders in the arts. Until spring 2022 she was Joint Chief Executive and Executive Director of the UK's National Theatre. During the Covid pandemic, she was instrumental in helping develop the UK government's support package for the arts. Lisa co-founded Renew Culture and the Green Book initiative in 2020. She is a Trustee of Historic Royal Palaces and of the Royal Opera House. Lisa's work for the arts has been recognised with a special Olivier award, a CBE and an Honorary Doctorate.


Paddy Dillon

Director of the Theatre Green Book, London/UK

Paddy Dillon is one of the UK’s leading theatre architects. In 2020 he initiated the Theatre Green Book, a project to help theatre-makers work together towards a sustainable future for theatre. The Theatre Green Book is now translated into several languages, and is being used worldwide, including by all the UK’s leading theatres and opera companies. Paddy is chair of the International Theatre Engineering and Architecture Conference. He was deputy chair, then chair of the UK Theatres Trust until 2021.

ETC International Theatre Conferences

ETC International Theatre Conferences

Read more

Why Join ETC?

  • Meet and network with colleagues from other European theatres
  • Create international artistic collaborations
  • Get inspired by new ideas and shared best practices
  • Be represented at European and international level
  • Discover new contexts, cities and perspectives
Be part of the community: join Europe's network for public theatres!

Discover all your benefits as a member