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European Theatre Initiative, paving the way to support the sector

European Theatre Forum 2020: Envisioning the future of theatre & the performing arts in Europe is a 3 day, high-level sectorial dialogue meeting between theatre and performing arts representatives and policymakers.

The European Commission, through the European Theatre Initiative, will use the event to establish a dialogue between policymakers, representatives and experts from the theatre and performing arts.

The forum is a unique opportunity to promote the outstanding importance of theatre in Europe. It will establish a creative dialogue process within the sector and with policymakers through partnership and international collaboration.

The 3-day forum will

  • focus on strengthening the European theatre sector

  • address the issues and implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for European performing arts

  • connect the European and national performing arts and theatre scenes


Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, responsible for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth will speak at the event on 12 November. She will highlight the importance of theatre for European society and draw attention to how the EU is supporting the cultural and creative sector in general to tackle the impact of the Covid crisis.

The forum will be a further step in the European Theatre Initiative and will be the occasion to announce the launch of a comprehensive study on the theatre sector.

The Theatre Forum was originally planned to take place as a live-event in Dresden, Germany, at the “Fast Forward” festival. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event has been transformed into an artistically innovative virtual meeting.


A first and informal exploratory meeting took place at Theatre National Bruxelles-Wallonie in Brussels in November 2019 with a group of European theatre and performing arts experts and organisations. This looked at the challenges facing the sector in Europe and recognised the necessity to create a more regular space for such a dialogue. It led to the European Theatre Forum being set up.

The European Theatre Forum is co-funded by the European Commission and the German Presidency, with support from the European Theatre Convention and other experts from theatre and performing arts networks.


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