ETC European Theatre Convention
ETC theatres call for artistic freedom and a creative Europe!
European Theatre Convention meets in Hungary, at the National Theatre of Miskolc (May 22-27, 2012)

Berlin, June 1st: Under the umbrella of the European Theatre Convention (ETC), the leading network of public theatres in Europe, over 70 European theatre directors, actors, stage directors, producers, playwrights, theatre critics and journalists from more than 25 different theatres coming from 18 countries met throughout 5 days in Hungary for the European youth theatre collaboration project: “Young Europe – multilingual creation and education in theatre” and the annual ETC conference investigating: “European Theatre Today and National Myths”. How does national myths relate to today’s Europe and are part of contemporary theatre? A single answer seemed impossible to this vast question, since the situation in Europe is too diverse. But the question remained not just an artistic one, but a very political: How do we convince politicians, that culture and theatre in particular are an important part of society? The people’s palaces of last century in Europe, built in the city centers, were theatres! Places of progress and resistance, of reflection and of creation. They still are! But how will theatre survive in specific situations dealing with different kinds of crises – from economical to moral ones?

In an open debate with renowned Hungarian theatre professionals, ETC delegates exchanged information on the situation for Hungarian artists and theatre colleagues under the current politican condition. Andrea Tompa, president of the Hungarian theatre critics association, stated that “governmental control is used to dismantle civil society organisations and art instiutions on three levels starting from appointing directors, to budget cuts on to influencing artistic content. And theatres in particular, play a very symbolic role due to their identifying role.” The New Theatre in Budapest joined the ETC last October calling for support within the international theatre community against the imposition of the far-right director György Dörner, who is known a supporter of the anti-Roma, anti-gay and anti-semitic party Jobbik. Despite the efforts made by the international community and pressure put on the Hungarian government to overturn this decision, Mr. Dörner took office on February 1st. At the meeting in Miskolc, the members of the ETC have expulsed the New Theater, Budapest with a majority vote from its ETC membership based on the organisations’ statute, article 8 for serious reasons that may cause prejudice to the association and its artistic and cultural objectives.

Dubravka Vrgoč, ETC president, pointed out that “ETC is not only connecting European theatres, but ETC offers a common space for European cultures, in which its members re-examine practices to advise and to act on the future of theatre to remain a space of individual freedom embarking on the joint adventure, the exchange of physical and mental experiences: a space of meeting, contact and the struggle for cultural democracy.”

The need for artistic freedom and the need to offer best working conditions for art and culture is recognized by the European Commission. Ann Branch, head of the EU culture programme, presented ETC delegates the new ‘Creative Europe’ Programme (2014-2020), a proposal currently in negotiations with the Europen Council and Parliament. As longstanding partner of the European Commission, ETC will continue its advocacy actions in favour of the new programme, notably through its 2012 campaign: European Theatre Matters! and mobilize MEPs but also collect supporting data amongst European theatre institutes to better understand the need of European audiences for European theatre work.

ETC’s artistic projects picture not only the cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe, but are a mirror of today’s Europe: The flagship project Young Europe brings together 8 theatres creating new plays with and for young people in Europe and looked throughout its meeting in Miskolc at various schemes to improve international creation processes and standards for artistic drama education. The first play will premiere at the Staatstheater Karlsruhe on June 28. Other activities on the agenda included the development of a European drama school network with a conference taking place during the Fast Forward Festival at the Staatstheater Braunschweig in November, the creation of a new European collaboration project questioning our aging society as well as the promotion of an ETC theatre lab as meeting place in the cities of member theatres to bring together artists, writers, philosophers and citizens in a creative dialog.  And last but not least, ETC members layed the grounds to prepare 2013 celebration’s of Europe’s citizens and the 25th anniversary of the creation of the European Theatre Convention.

Two new ETC board of directors were elected: Aleksandar Milosavljevic, General Manager of the National Serbian Theatre Novi Sad and Kari Rentola, Deputy Director of the Helsinki City Theatre. Two new members joined the ETC: “National Theatre of Maribor”, Slovenia and the “Théâtre les Déchargeurs” from Paris with its “European Drama Group” project.

The meetings in Hungary proved European theatre makers of the ETC live, work and create in Europe - despite the financial crisis -   and affirm the existence and need of a European cultural and creative space, based on the principles of artistic freedom and democracy!
Note for editors
The ETC is a pan-European non profit-making organisation representing the publicly funded theatre sector with over 40 members in 25 countries whose aims are: To create, protect and promote the art of theatre and its linguistic diversity in Europe and beyond; to act as transnational theatre collaboration network to foster cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue; to act as platform for professional exchange, development and capacity building of theatre makers in an international context; and to act as representation and advocacy network of the public theatre sector on EU, Member states and local level.
Based in France, the ETC has opened in summer 2011 new offices at the Deutsches Theater Berlin in Germany and at the European House for Culture in Brussels, in Belgium.
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
Association loi 1901

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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