The “European Theatre Forum 2020: European Performing Arts in Focus” is an international platform for vision, discourse, exchange, networking and policymaking to strategically strengthen the structurally highly fragmented European theatre sector.
Organised on the occasion of the German EU Council Presidency, it offers, for the first time, a European representation for the entire sector as one of Europe’s major art forms, within and outside Europe. In focus: Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the performing arts and perspectives for the sector.
In 2017, ETC articulated to the European Commission that theatre needs more visibility on a European Level. With its new mandate as a strategic partner of the European Commission, ETC would contribute to a structuring and professionalisation of the theatre sector. ETC formed partnerships with Pearle* and Opera Europa to collaborate on joint sectorial policy initiatives.
In 2018, 6 prominent European theatre networks met for the first time in Bratislava, Slovakia, during the ETC International Theatre Conference. As a result, ETC issued a call for the creation of a European Theatre Forum and inclusion in the Creative Europe successor programme. The call was listened to and in 2019, the European Commission announced the inclusion of theatre sectorial support and a European Theatre Forum in its work programme for Creative Europe 2020.
On the invitation of the European Commission, the European Theatre Expert Group consisting of 11 European theatre and performing arts networks, had their first exploratory meeting in November 2019 in Brussels, Belgium. The results from a mapping of challenges in the European theatre sector, conducted by the EENCA, were presented to the networks which stated the need for a European Theatre Forum as an opportunity for the sector to overcome its fragmentation.
2020 saw the fruition of the European Theatre Forum during the German EU Council Presidency. ETC, together with ITI Germany and Bundesverband der freien darstellenden Künste, formed the Initiative Group and ETC was announced as the project coordinator. The networks of the European Theatre Expert Group were invited to form the Consortium Group with the joint responsibility of formulating the agenda of key issues facing the theatre and performing arts sector today.
In November 2020, the first ever European Theatre Forum 2020: European Performing Arts in Focus will take place in the frame of German EU Presidency, funded by the German Minister of State for Culture and Media, the European Commission and ETC.