The European Theatre Initiative is a well-known and significant pillar for the performing arts sector. It supports theatre professionals to reach their full potential.
The European Commission established this strategic action in 2020 as the response to the COVID-19 pandemic to bolster the performing arts sector affected by the effects of the pandemic and reinforce existing support.
The aim behind establishing the European Theatre Initiative was also to create an overall policy approach towards European performing arts and in particular the theatre sector.
This aspires to fill the gaps between already existing support under the Creative Europe programme and pilot projects such as the first edition of Perform Europe (2020-2022), a platform for distributing performing arts works geared up in 2023 and Culture Moves Europe, Creative Europe’s scheme to support international mobility.
Under the European Theatre Initiative, the European Commission has carried out several actions in close collaboration with sectoral and institutional stakeholders under the Creative Europe programme.
Actions taken to date
Perform Europe (2023-2026)
Building on the success of the initial phase between 2020 and 2022, the project is geared up as a permanent scheme of the Creative Europe Programme.
Perform Europe project is responsible for making sustainable touring a reality and will support at least 35 artistic cross-border touring and digital performing arts projects, in Creative Europe Programme’s 40 participating countries.
The call for proposals to establish the second edition of Perform Europe with a total budget of €3 million was closed on 8 November in 2022 with a total of 5 applications. The winning consortium name was announced on April 26th.
As part of the project, an online platform will facilitate networking, and analyse how performing art works are presented across borders and bring visibility to performing and distribution opportunities. This platform should also be a repository of learning tools.
The European Theatre Forum 2023
The 2023 edition of the theatre forum brought together key stakeholders from the theatre community with policymakers to build a roadmap for addressing the critical priorities and main challenges that the sector faces this century.
The Forum highlighted the importance and political necessity of theatre and paved the way for the European institutions to go further in their specific support for the theatre sector. The event embodied a new form of dialogue with civil society. During this process, stakeholders provided key ideas and messages that could be shared with the relevant policy experts.
European Theatre Initiative
Following the need for a comprehensive study on the challenges Europe’s theatre sector is facing, the European Commission published the study ‘The situation of Theatres in the EU Member States’ in the summer of 2020.
This study provided a comprehensive mapping of the social and economic profile and impact of the theatre sector, including the different support schemes that exist in EU countries.
It contributed to collecting data on the sector and filled in important knowledge gaps, expanding on the existing data about the theatre ecosystem, its strengths and key challenges.
The data collected contributed to informing policy making to design responses at European level to support the sector, as well as alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
European Theatre Forum (2020)
The European Commission, together with the German Federal Culture Ministry and the European Theatre Convention, organised the European Theatre Forum in November 2020. It aimed at establishing a path towards a more structured dialogue within the sector and with policymakers at national and European levels through partnerships and international collaboration.
Perform Europe Pilot Project (2020-2022)
Perform Europe started in 2020 to explore the different ways how to support more sustainable ways for international (physical and digital) touring of performing arts works in all the 40 Creative Europe countries.
Perform Europe pilot project was funded by Creative Europe between 2020-2022 with a total budget of €2.25 million over 18 months.