The European Theatre Forum 2020: European Performing Arts in Focus ran from 11-13 November 2020. More than 150 policymakers, artists, theatre-makers, theatre & performing arts structures gathered and created, for the first time ever, a collective political voice for the theatre and performing arts sector. The Forum delivered a strong signal on the importance of culture in Europe, fundamental for every democratic society. The meeting was organised in the frame of the German EU Council Presidency and in cooperation with the European Commission and the German Minister of State for Culture and the Media.
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, six 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.
After a seven-month dialogue process, 12 European theatre and performing arts networks representing artists, companies, production houses, theatres, festivals and academies (also known as the Consortium) published the Dresden Declaration of the European Theatre Forum, calling for a continued and deepened policy dialogue and the creation of an EU support strand focused on theatre and the performing arts. Furthermore, the Consortium formulated “The Way Forward”, eight concrete suggestions for the future of the sector.
(downloads also available via the above link in French, Spanish and German).