Press Release

ETC Stands Up for a Strong, Diverse and Gender Equal Theatre Sector in Europe

03 December 2018

03 December 2018 - For immediate release


The 4-day ETC International Theatre Conference in Bratislava (Slovakia) came to a close yesterday with two strong outcomes: the call to strengthen theatre as fundamental European art form in the next Creative Europe – EU funding programme with notably the creation of a European Theatre Forum, and a European code of conduct to promote gender and diversity in the European theatres.

About a hundred international theatre-makers, ETC Member Theatres and European networks connected during this high-level event with keynotes, table talks, artistic debates and networking occasions. Moreover, two European national theatres joined the ETC network during the conference.

‘Diversity in Action’ - ETC Code of Conduct for European Theatres

“As art form relevant to reflect the developments of human and societal issues, we as theatre makers, as representatives of public art institutions, believe that it is our role to ensure equal opportunities and a diverse artistic theatrical expression, considering the diverse realities of the cities and countries we live in.”  – ETC Member Theatres

In that respect, ETC Members voted and adhered to a code of conduct principles:

  • Ensure gender equality and increased diversity amongst theatre staff employees;
  • Reflect gender and diversity across artistic creation and programming;
  • Invest in training allowing equal opportunities for gender and diversity minority groups;
  • Ensure equal pay across gender;
  • Set forward clear objectives in our theatre’s artistic and management plans.


The five principles will be communicated in each of ETC Member Theatre’s organisations.


ETC Code of Conduct "Diversity in Action"

ETC Members voted and adhered to a code of conduct principles to ensure equal opportunities and a diverse artistic theatrical expression.


Call for the Creation of European Theatre Forum & Amendment Proposal for Creative Europe

We need a strong theatre sector in Europe!” declared together ETC, its members and the six other networks invited to join the debate in Bratislava. Now, just before the European elections and the decisions about Creative Europe in 2021-2017, a mobilisation for a strong and artistic theatre sector is highly needed.


Together with the other networks, ETC developed a twofold plan:

  • We ask for more support for international collaboration and more awareness of the importance of the theatre’s sector in the next Creative Europe (2021-2027) funding programme of the European Commission;
  • We suggest that specific sectorial measures are introduced to recognise the specifications of our sector. We would like to introduce a European Theatre Forum!

The European Theatre Forum would be a place for debates, visionary thinking, exchange of artistic development and information resource. It will strengthen theatre as important art form in Europe and this can only be made possible with the strong support of the European Commission.


The following networks have participated in the round table and dialogue panel: ASSITEJ International, East European Performing Arts Platform, ENCATC, European Theatre Research Network, IETM and mitos21.


The dialogue panel was joined by Barbara Gessler, Head of Unit Creative Europe, Directorate General for Education and Culture, European Commission.

Key Excerpts from the Conference

“When I look at theatre now, I realise we have to dare to dream to make a change in the society. We have to dare to ask, to provoke.”

– Mercy Dorcas Otieno (Actress at Schauspiel Bochum/Germany), Panel: "Five Statements on Diversity"


“There is a cultural change that we need to achieve all together. Topics like gender equality and diversity are even more complex with the rising populism.” 

– Marc Grandmontagne (Director and CEO, Deutscher Bühnenverein/Germany), Panel: "Five Statements on Diversity" 


Agreeing on gender policies is one important thing , making sure they remain on each agenda with measurable goals is equally important.” 

– Lian Bell (Project Manager, Campaign Director of #WakingTheFeminists, Dublin/Ireland), Panel: "Five Statements on Diversity"


It’s not just hiring women, black people, Muslims... It’s giving them the possibility to do their job properly, to take responsibilities.” 

– Sarah Sepulchre (Professor, Université catholique de Louvain/Belgium), Panel: "Five Statements on Diversity"

Two New Members Join the ETC Network

During the conference two European national theatres become a member of the ETC network: Teatro Nacional D. Maria II from Lisbon (Portugal) and Teatrul Alexandru Davila from Pitești (Romania). ETC and its Members are thrilled to welcome these two new members and to begin a fruitful collaboration.

ETC Celebrated Its 30 Years Anniversary

Thirty years of ETC have been celebrated during this ETC International Theatre Conference in Bratislava with, of course, a cake, but also a presentation of success stories. Between exceptional projects like NADIA, ETC’s artistic education youth programme, or Our Stage, dedicated to participative theatre, ETC has become by today a major platform of creation, networking and development for European public theatre.

ETC is reaching an age of maturity, without forgetting the spontaneity of its young years, and has become a major player and voice in the European culture landscape.

One Last Word

“Theatre as part of the performing arts in Europe needs more visibility and recognition, the European Theatre Forum is an initiative to strengthen our role not just within Europe but also beyond.”

– Heidi Wiley (Executive Director of European Theatre Convention)

Next ETC International Theatre Conferences

Dresden, 23 – 26 May 2019
Amsterdam, 28 November – 01 December 2019

Press Contact

Joséphine Dusol
+49 30 28441 402


©Peter Chvostek

ETC International Theatre Conferences

The next edition of the ETC International Theatre Conference will be hosted by SNG Nova Gorica (Slovenia), 17-21 April 2024.

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