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Silenced Theatres in 2021: Illiberal Democracies & Effects of COVID-19

10 June 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the restrictions most European countries have put in place to contain it, have hit our theatres particularly hard. Our stages have been silent for the better part of the last 15 months. Theatre halls are empty, while the online screen lights are flickering.

But these are not the only kind of interferences currently limiting freedom of artistic expression in Europe. We see nationalist cultural policies, intrusion from anti-liberal governments into artistic decision-making and the nomination processes for theatres’ artistic leaderships, financial pressure for publicly-funded houses… The COVID-19 pandemic has mostly revealed and exacerbated challenges that already existed.

How can theatre stay an open democratic space, reflecting the multiple stories of our contemporary, multi-faceted communities, when it is either made invisible and silent—or forced to comply with nationalist retellings of history and culture? Can international exchange show us the way out, or is international artistic cooperation in danger?


0:00 - 0:15 Welcome Speeches with Serge Rangoni, Heidi Wiley, & Iris Laufenberg

0:15 - 1:30 Silenced Theatres in 2021: Illiberal Democracies & Effects of COVID-19 with Simona Hamer, Niklas Nienaß, Marta Keil & András Dömötör. Moderation: Anette Gerlach.

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