Press Release

Report from the ETC International Theatre Conference

02 December 2019

The ETC International Theatre Conference closed yesterday after four days of in-depth discussions, panel and table talks, networking and exchanges. The conference, which took place in Amsterdam, gathered a hundred European theatre makers.

For this conference, and in the face of the populism that spares almost no country, we wanted to reflect in greater detail on all the components of the performance: who is speaking onstage, what do they want to tell, and to whom?” – Serge Rangoni, ETC President

Through the stories we tell on our stages, European theatres can ensure the less dominant voices in our societies are heard; a responsibility discussed during the panel and table talks with the international speakers invited to the conference.

Key Excerpts of the Conference



“Our public service duties could not be limited to people who were already an audience. (…) We started to communicate towards people who maybe didn't even know that there is a national theatre in our country.”

Tiago Rodrigues (Artistic Director, Teatro Nacional D. Maria II Lisbon/Portugal)


“There's an imperative to tell the stories that have to be told, no matter what we artists think we should talk about. We’re living in strange times and our stories should reflect that.”

Emma Durden (Director and Theatre & Development Consultant, Twist Theatre Development Projects/South Africa)


All Photos ©Bart Grietens

“The most important, when you arrive somewhere, is not to talk. It is to listen to the stories there.”

Bassam Ghazi (Director and Theatre Pedagogue, Schauspielhaus Köln/Germany)


"Immigration is not a new thing and there are people who function perfectly normally in society and not different to anyone. As soon as you see them on stage, they are playing these roles. In Britain, any actor with an accent is in a play about immigration."

Tena Štivičić (Freelance Playwright, Croatia/UK)


Initial Results of the Academic Study on Diversity and Gender Equality



A study on diversity and gender equality in the European public theatres was commissioned by ETC and based on quantitative surveys in the ETC member theatres. Initial results were presented by the team from the university UCLouvain during the conference. They will build a basis for concrete actions in theatres and policy recommendations on regional, national and European levels.

A statistical overview of the diversity in leadership, in the teams, within the theatre programmes and their audience was gathered and an in-depth analysis will be published by ETC in spring 2020. 

8 New European Theatres Joined the ETC Network



The conference was also the occasion for ETC to welcome eight new theatres, extending the network to 45 ETC Members in 26 countries. The following theatres joined:


©Bart Grietens

A New ETC Board Elected for Two Years



The President of the Board, Serge Rangoni (General Manager & Artistic Director at Théâtre de Liège/Belgium), has been unanimously reconducted for a new 2-year mandate. Furthermore, three new members were also elected to the ETC Board:

  • Cláudia Belchior, President of the Executive Board at Teatro Nacional D. Maria II (Portugal/Lisbon)
  • Marko Bratuš, Artistic Director at Slovensko Narodno Gledalisce Nova Gorica (Slovenia/Nova Gorica)
  • Barbara Ferrato, Head of Artistic, Planning and Development Department at Teatro Stabile di Torino – National Theatre (Italy/Torino)

They are joining the other members of the Board who have been reelected: Paulien Geerlings (De Toneelmakerij/Netherlands), Joachim Klement (Staatsschauspiel Dresden, Germany/Dresden), Iris Laufenberg (Schauspielhaus Graz/Austria), Bettina Pesch (Theater Magdeburg/Germany) and Dubravka Vrgoč (Croatian National Theatre Zagreb/Croatia).

ETC Members thanked outgoing Board Members Jan Linders/Peter Spuhler (Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe), Erik Ulfsby (Det Norske Teatret) and Michel Didym (CDN Nancy-Lorraine, La Manufacture) for their strong and passionate involvement in the network’s governance.

Next ETC International Theatre Conference



11–14 June 2020
hosted by and at Schauspielhaus Graz/Austria


Press Contact

Joséphine Dusol
+49 30 28441 402





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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