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Press Release / For Immediate Release

Destination Europe? European drama and theatre is a place for intercultural dialogue!
Reinforcing the social and inclusive role of theatre in view of the current terrorist attacks, the ETC International Theatre Conference has been successfully concluded at Fondazione TeatroDue in Parma, Italy and endorsed ETC Charter

Berlin/ Parma, 17 November 2015: Over 50 theatre directors, artists, dramaturges and performing art professionals representing 28 theatres from 14 countries met over the last weekend from November 12-15, 2015 at Fondazione Teatro Due in Parma, Italy upon the invitation by the European Theatre Convention (ETC), Europe’s network for public theatres. The annual international theatre conference, entitled Destination Europe? European drama - a chance for intercultural dialogue strove to position theatre in the context of current societal challenges and investigated the aesthetic and social means of theatre as part of a European society with multiple cultural, linguistic, religious and ethnic identities.

As a result of ETC’s ongoing work and in view of the rapidly changing European and global environment, ETC members endorsed unanimously the ETC Charter. In the midst of today’s complex societies and diverse cultural landscape, the ETC Charter is a statement of ETC’s values, it allows ETC a stronger positioning of its joint work, enabling a clear recognition and understanding of what the organization stands for. The Charter compliments the mission and objectives of ETC’s statutes and is a binding instrument for all theatre members. Only hours after its endorsement, the Western World was once again shaken by terroristic attacks.

The ETC theatre community united in face of the evil attacks and held a minute of silence in commemoration of all victims. It also underlined the importance to continue its work, offering through its creative activities and artistic programs a cultural place, offering a feeling of belonging and fight exclusion and loneliness.

Key note speaker Carlo Severi (ENRS) exposed the simple logic of understanding cultural differences, when only referring to us vs them. A pattern, that modern society needs to transform and adjust to new realities. During the panel discussion, Luca Bergamo (Culture Action Europe) said that Europe as we know it over the last 500 years, comes to an end and we don’t live in a crisis, but a transformation. He pleaded for an EU policy of cultural development, instead of a cultural policy in order to make culture an issue for the people. Artists Edit Kaldor and Liesbet Coltof demonstrated through their art, how theatre can be a place, a window, for people to express their experiences, to engage and overcome traumatic and radical experiences, to give life a new and meaningful sense. Rolf Bolwin (PEARLE) called upon the role of literature as essential part of theatre programming and the inclusion of those plays from current refugee countries in our changing European society, complementing important project work. If needed, an EU initiative shall support such developments. Various ETC member theatres shared and discussed further examples of drama and community work that engages with people with a migrant / refugee background.

In workshops, artists Lara Staal (Frascati Theatre, Amsterdam) and Alessandro Rena (Teatro delle Albe, Ravenna) presented to and investigated with the participants, how European dramaturgy can be a means for multiple identities, as well as how to provide possibilities to correct Europe’s exclusion policies.

The current ETC project Theatre, Freedom, Dialogue: European Networking with Theatres in Ukraine and Belarus was another highlight of the conference, announcing the program of the upcoming Ukrainian theatre showcase in Kiev (3-6 December), looking back at the ETC scholarship meeting in Leipzig (24-26 October) and having been informed by Belarus Free Theatre founder Natalia Koliada, what a driving and powerful force theatre proved to be during the ongoing Staging a Revolution Festival in London (2-14 November) and how important the close dialogue with audiences has been to mobilize through art for democratic causes.

Further, the conference was once again a moment for developing new joint work amongst ETC member theatres, putting the inspiring best practice examples into new action. Following previous collaboration experiences, a new project Theatre for all is now in development to design a European artistic education program, including professional training and the creation of participatory theatre forms for people of all ages and all backgrounds. Also, the important task of theatres as Interlocal meeting place shall be emphasized through continuous exchanges and in view of a more cohesive theatre when talking about the Destination Europe.

On the occasion of the conference, the Sombor National Theatre from Serbia joined Europe’s network of public theatres. Also, Dubravka Vrgoč (Croatian National Theatre Zagreb) has been re-elected ETC president, together with a new board of directors: Ola Bo (Det Norske Teatret Oslo), Michel Didym (CDN – Théâtre de la Manufacture Nancy), Paulien Geerlings (De Toneelmakerij Amsterdam), Ada Hausvater (Romanian National Theatre Timisoara), Joachim Klement (Staatstheater Braunschweig), Jan Linders (Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe), Bettina Pesch (Theater Dortmund), Serge Rangoni (Théâtre de Liège).

The next ETC International Theatre Conference will take place from April 21-24, 2016 at CDN – Théâtre de la Manufacture Nancy, France.

With thanks for the support of the project
Theatre, Freedom, Dialogue: European Networking with Theatres from Ukraine and Belarus
by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Go to the conference website for more information.

Charter of the European Theatre Convention
Life in Europe and around the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century is marked by uncertainty, rapidly emerging new trends and challenges, increasing complexity and a growing threat of violent extremism. Our diverse modern society, which is influenced by globalization and reflected in demographic changes, affects our individual and organizational lives, and impacts our reflections, forms of self-expression and interactions with each other.

The European Theatre Convention (ETC) and its member theatres offer public spaces to question and reflect on social developments with artistic means. This includes addressing the individual and collective duty to have openness towards others, towards the foreign and the unknown, without restrictions for participation. Theatre as an aesthetic medium reinforces pluralism and helps transmit democratic values. Freedom of expression and the freedom of art are unconditional values and basic human rights in our democratic societies.

Within the ETC and in our member theatres, we collaborate with and support artists and creative professionals from all cultures and creeds. With our work, projects and joint actions, we strive to nourish a diverse notion of Europe based on diverse traditions, opinions and dialogue.

In adhering to the aims of the ETC, all member theatres confirm and ensure within the framework of this Charter their commitment to:
1) The responsibility of the arts and humanities to envision an open and equal Europe now and in the future

2) The fight against any actions, behaviours and speech linked with intolerance, anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia, thereby strengthening our day-by-day work for Democracy

3) The diversity of cultural expression and the fundamental human rights of freedom and tolerance that our democratic societies are built upon in order to foster an atmosphere of respect and mutual trust.  
The ETC Charter has been endorsed by all ETC member theatres on 13 November 2015, in Parma, Italy.

Austria > Landestheater Linz (Linz), Schauspielhaus Graz (Graz). Belgium > Théâtre de Liege (Liege). Bosna i Hercegovina  > International theater festival (MESS) (Sarajevo). Croatia > Croatian National Theatre (Zagreb), Zagrebacko Kasaliste Mladih (Zagreb), Gavella City Drama Theatre (Zagreb). Cyprus > THOC - Cyprus Theatre Organisation (Nicosia). Finland > Helsingin Kaupunginteatteri (Helsinki). France > Théâtre de la Manufacture CDN de Nancy (Nancy). Germany > Deutsches Theater (Berlin), Theater an der Parkaue (Berlin), Staatstheater Braunschweig (Braunschweig), Theater Dortmund (Dortmund), Theater & Orchester Heidelberg (Heidelberg), Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe), Schauspiel Leipzig (Leipzig), Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden (Wiesbaden). Georgia > Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre (Tbilisi). Hungary > Pesti Magyar Színház (Budapest). Italy > Fondazione del Teatro Stabile di Torino (Torino), Teatro Cargo (Genova), Teatro Koreja (Lecce), Fondazione TeatroDue Parma (Parma), Teatro Metastasio Stabile della Toscana (Prato). Kosovo > National Theatre of Kosovo (Prishtinë). Luxembourg > Théâtre d'Esch (Esch-sur-Alzette), Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg - Le Grande Théâtre de Luxembourg (Luxembourg). Norway > Det Norske Teatret (Oslo). Romania / Roumanie > Teatrul National 'Marin Sorescu' Craiova (Craiova), Teatrul National Timisoara (Timisoara), Centrul Cultural ‘Jean Bart’ (Tulcea). Serbia > Sombor National Theatre (Sombor). Slovakia > Slovenské Narodné Divadlo (Bratislava). Slovenia > Slovene National Drama Theatre (Ljubljana), Slovene National Theatre Maribor (Maribor), Slovene National Theatre Nova Gorica (Nova Gorica). Switzerland > Théâtre des Osses - Centre dramatique Fribourgeois (Givisiez). The Netherlands > De Toneelmakerij (Amsterdam). Turkey > Devlet Tiyatrolari Genel Müdürlügü (Ankara). Ukraine > Molodyi Drama Theatre (Kiev), New Drama Theatre Pechersk (Kiev). United Kingdom > Belarus Free Theatre (London).
Find the ETC charter on our website.
For further information, please contact
Pour plus d'informations, veuillez contacter
Heidi Wiley:

Executive office
c/o Deutsches Theater - Schumannstr. 13 a - 10117 Berlin - Germany/ Allemagne
T +49 (0)30 28441 460 - F +49 (0)30 28441 488

EU office
c/o European House for Culture
Place Flagey 18 - 1050 Brussels - Belgium/ Belgique

Head office
8 rue Blanche - 75009 Paris - France
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ETC’s events are jointly financed by its member theatres.
Les manifestations de la CTE sont financées par ses théâtres membres.
Europe Culture Program The ETC project "European Theatre Lab: Drama goes digital" is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
Le projet "European Theatre Lab: Drama goes digital" est cofinancé par le programme Europe créative de l'Union européen.
Federal Foreign Office The ETC project "Theatre is Dialogue - Dialogue of Cultures" is co-funded with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office.
Le projet de la CTE "Theatre is Dialogue - Dialogue of Cultures" est cofinancé par le Ministère fédéral des Affaires étrangères
Kulturstiftung des Bundes
Allianz Kulturstiftung... for Europe
The ETC project "NADIA" is co-funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and developed in cooperation with Allianz Kulturstiftung.
Le projet de la CTE "NADIA" est cofinancé par la Fondation culturelle de l'Etat fédéral et développé en coopération avec la Fondation culturelle d'Allianz