A major international theatre conference about making venues and cities diverse will take place in Prague this Spring.
The ETC International Theatre Conference, run by the European Theatre Convention (ETC) in partnership with Národní divadlo – National Theatre Prague, will run from 19-22 May 2022 and will bring together almost 120 senior theatre professionals from leading theatres around the continent.
Called Diver-Cities & Diverse Theatre for Europe's Local Communities, the conference programme of high-level talks and networking include:
- In Focus: Ukraine 2022: Live discussions about international collaboration with artists who remain in Ukraine or have fled the country because of the Russian invasion (Friday 20 May 10:00 – 10:45),
- Panel Discussion: Diverse-Cities & Diverse Theatre for Europe’s Local Communities: A deep dive into the topic of inclusion in theatre, asking not only who is on stage – and who makes our work – but what is driving the working culture in our organisations. (Friday 20 May 11:00 – 12:45)
- A ‘Talent Market’ to meet emerging and established theatre makers in Europe and Participatory Readings of texts from rising stars in Europe that have been translated into English for the first time (Saturday 21 May 10:00 – 13:00)
- Input from high-level speakers: Daniela Špinar, Artistic Director of Narodní Dívadlo - National Theatre Prague/Czech Republic; Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture; Natasha Syvanenko, Theatre Director/Ukraine; Serge Rangoni, Artistic Director & General Manager of Théâtre de Liège/Belgium; Heidi Wiley, Executive Director of ETC, Berlin/Germany; Hana Třeštíková, Councillor for Culture at Prague City Hall; Leyla Ercan, 360° Agent for Diversity at Staatstheater Hannover/Germany; Gilles Doré, Executive Director at CINARS, Montreal/Canada; Evein Obulor, Coordinator of the European Coalition of Cities against Racism & Migration Hub Heidelberg/Germany, Vlad Troitskyi, Director, Dakh Theatre - Gogolfest/Ukraine
Heidi Wiley, Executive Director of ETC, commented:
“As a future in which we live alongside Covid-19 becomes clearer, we could not be more excited about coming together in the beautiful city of Prague to set out a vision for theatre which is diverse and deeply connected to our local communities.
“We need to find new ways to re-engage with audiences, and the most important first step is to ensure that our processes are truly representative. We are very enthused by the prospect of bringing together so many theatre makers at the ETC International Theatre Conference, held in partnership with the always innovative Národní divadlo – National Theatre Prague, to discuss making Diverse Cities and Diverse Theatres.”
Pre-Conference Session: Young Europe
17-18 May 2022
From 17-18 May 2022, 10 ETC Member Theatres will gather in Prague to kick off Young Europe IV, ETC’s flagship artistic collaboration project for young people.
The events will include a workshop on diversity and unconscious bias for the participants, followed by mentoring programmes for writers included in the programme and a masterclass on classroom plays.
Thursday 19 May
The conference will open with a reception at Národní divadlo’s New Stage of, featuring speeches by Hana Třeštíková, Councillor for Culture at Prague City Hall; Daniela Spinar, Artistic Director of Národní divadlo; Serge Rangoni, General and Artistic Director of Theatre de Liège; and Heidi Wiley, Executive Director of ETC.
Conference Day 1
Friday 20 May
In Focus: Ukraine 2022 (10:00 – 10:45)
A session dedicated to shining a spotlight on artists who remain in Ukraine or have fled the country because of the Russian invasion. Includes lively discussion about ETC’ss deep history of international collaboration in the country, and from ETC Member Theatres that have kept this collaboration alive by hosting Ukrainian artists and collaborating on new shows. There will also be messages from the Ukrainian Artistic Taskforce, based at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin.
Panel Discussion: Diverse-Cities & Diverse Theatre for Europe’s Local Communities (11:00 – 12:45).
This will take place on The New Stage and will be recorded and later available on demand. A deep dive into the topic of inclusion in theatre, asking not only who is on stage – and who makes our work – but what is driving the working culture in our organisations. How can we make every aspect of theatre a safe space for art and artists, developing strong policies to prevent the misuses of power that have become all too common in the performing arts? What does it mean to be diverse in every part of Europe, and can we agree on one common definition of the term? How do we remain embedded in our local communities – our cities – which are often more advanced and diverse than our own venues? This will feature interventions from:
- Leyla Ercan, 360° Agent for Diversity at Staatstheater Hannover;
- Daniela Špinar, Artistic Director of Narodní Dívadlo - National Theatre Prague;
- Nina van Tongeren, Theatre Maker & Researcher
- Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture (via video)
- Moderation: Evein Obulor - Coordinator of the European Coalition of Cities against Racism & Migration Hub Heidelberg
The conference will continue with Speed Meetings, for fast-paced and semi-informal networking between conference participants. There is then a session titled: TRANSFORMATIONS – ETC’s major EU networking project Milestone 2, to trace the development of ETC’s work in 2022, and the ETC General Assembly for network decision making.
Conference Day 2
Saturday 21 May
‘Get Inspired! New Talents, New Directors, New Texts, New Voices.’
Project Pitching & Calls for Artistic Collaboration (10:00 – 10:45).
An opportunity for ETC Members and invited guests to put a call out for collaboration on artistic projects, coproductions and other projects with fellow ETC Members.
Talent Market (10:45 – 13:00).
A chance to meet ETC’s network of Women Directors and Ukrainian artists, the 2022 Scholars of ETC’s Artist Residency Programme and the Winner of the Fast Forward Festival 2021 from Staatsschauspiel Dresden.
Participatory Readings and Q&A with the Authors (14:00 – 15:30).
A participatory event to discover the two pieces of new European drama that were selected for translation into English, and introduction to a wide European audience, by the ETC Drama Committee. These are:
- Alaska, by Greek stage director and author Evangelos Kosmidis. This is a work in progress performance created in Mariupol, Ukraine, in 2021, including real thoughts and comments from children who face war: Mariupol has been near the front line since 2014.
- ‘Everything OK’, by Slovenian playwright Simona Hamer explores the topics on (un)employment, (im)migration, discrimination and racism, patriarchy, mental health, ageism and loneliness through three intertwined stories.
The conference will conclude a workshop to prepare the forthcoming ETC ‘Roadshow’ travel to CINARS, Montréal, Canada and closing words from conference speakers.
Conference Day 3
Sunday 22 May
Special guided tour around the Národní divadlo – National Theatre Prague historical building (11:30 – 13:00).
A tour with sustainability expert Michaela Rýgrová and a member of the technical team, with a specific focus on the sustainability renovations that have taken place in the theatre in recent years.
A Bouquet, written by Karel Jaromír Erben and directed by SKUTR (Martin Kukučka a Lukáš Trpišovský). A village, a church, and a plenty of life stories. The most popular of the Czech classics adapted for the stage. First published in 1853, under the title A Bouquet of Czech Folk Tales, it was the one and only collection of poems by Karel Jaromír Erben (1811–1870). Inspired by Czech legends and tall stories, it garnered success back at the time of publication and went on to influence numerous artists.
Lunch at Wittgenstein, written by Thomas Bernhard and directed by Daniela Špinar. This is about a trio of siblings’ love. What cannot be formulated in sayable propositions can only be shown – that is how we may paraphrase one of the statements of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, which served as inspiration for Thomas Bernhard, one of the major Austrian authors, for writing his play ‘Ritter, Dene, Voss’, which we have adapted under the title Lunch with Wittgenstein.
The Father Watches Over the Daughter, written by Ondřej Novotný and directed by Jan Frič. This is about a seemingly banal situation in the life of a father in the 21st century – taking his daughter to a playground – served for the dramatist Ondřej Novotný as a springboard for his humorous, ironic, yet also serious, essay on the theme of fatherhood and manhood in today’s turbulent times.
Vassa Zheleznovova, by Maxim Gorky and directed by Jan Frič. Vassa Zheleznova is a businesswoman. Vassa Zheleznova is a mother. Vassa Zheleznova’s husband is dying. Vassa Zheleznova’s children are no good. Luckily, her oldest daughter returns from abroad and perhaps could set things right. Is there any FUTURE for Vassa Zheleznova?
Notes for editors
For interviews and additional information, please contact:
Christy Romer, ETC Communication Manager
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 44 members from more than 25 countries and is supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.