Error, the art of imperfection. The ability and the right to fail, to make mistakes, to try again and to have the freedom to do so, is a crucial source for new ideas and creative opportunities. To advance our thinking, to improve our social environment, to create our future. This year’s theme of the Ars Electronica Festival, one of the world’s largest gatherings for art, technology and society, sets the tone for ETC’s second season of ENGAGE. Right at the festival’s centre, in the Sky Loft above the river Danube, we will be kicking off the 2018/19 season with the second Digital Theatre Network Meeting and releasing the first ETC casebook on new theatre practices starting with digital theatre for the creative community and a white paper with suggestions for policymakers.
The art of imperfection. Europe is a perfect example of it, says Robert Viola, the director general of the European Commission DG Connect. It is definitely not perfect, but it allows us to live in peace in an open and inclusive society. This is a human achievement, but also the result of errors by humans in the past. We must stand up to rising fascist movements in our cities and the discrimination of people who are considered “imperfect” by the growing right-wing. As theatre-makers we use the power of words, the power of artistic and dramatic expression, our languages, to advance critical thinking based on democratic values, and to offer multiple perspectives that help us better reflect on and understand the complex world we live in.
Art. Theatre is about collaboration and sharing. Working together internationally and sharing with each other is key to the success of what we do. We want to advance theatremaking and offer it to wider audiences in our diverse societies. A major highlight of this ETC season will be the Our Stage Festival in May 2019, with performances and a discursive programme on participatory theatre formats in Europe. These participatory formats empower today’s audiences to bring their stories and voices onstage in their city! Questions of identity are also at the heart of ETC’s Young Europe flagship project. This season, nine ETC Member Theatres are busy developing new performative research theatre formats and co-productions for young audiences, creating thus a new sort of contemporary repertory theatre.
2018 is the European Year of Culture Heritage: a reason for us to put the spotlight on well-known European classics as well as contemporary plays – the future classics – for audiences to enjoy via the online calendar OnStage2018.eu. The promotion and circulation of European theatre will be another important focus in Seoul in October this year, where ETC Member Theatres will represent Europe’s rich and diverse theatre programme at Asia’s most important performing arts market, the PAMS.
Join us during the second year of ETC’s ENGAGE, the international programme for European theatres, and meet us at our conferences, workshops, academy, residencies or performances across Europe. We thank the European Commission who joined forces with us as a strategic cultural network and without whose support our work would not be possible. Let’s connect, network and collaborate for theatre to be recognised as an important art form for making Europe a little less imperfect.
ETC Executive Director