The Opole Recommendations aim to address the pressing issues the European theatre sector faces and guide it towards sustainable, digital, and socially responsible practices.
The theatre sector in Europe has been grappling with multiple and complex crises, spanning from the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate emergency, the consequences of inflation in Europe, the war in Ukraine and geopolitical tensions across Europe.
One of the key objectives in the document is the development and implementation of a sustainability assessment tool to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of the entire theatre sector.
3 century challenges identified
The recommendations presented at the forum addressed three "century challenges" that the European Commission identified:
- democracy, international collaboration, and the power of theatre
- sustainability and green transitions
- digital readiness
These also reflect the values of the Swedish presidency of the Council of the European Union and will serve as the foundation for future policy priorities.
A robust policy framework for theatre
The document emphasizes the need for a robust European policy framework for theatre, building on the European Theatre Initiative.
A comprehensive understanding of the value of theatre is seen as essential to unleashing its potential to foster creativity, enhance social cohesion, and contribute to Europe's identity.
The roadmap ahead
The roadmap created at the European Theatre Forum 2023 aligns with other important policy developments in the cultural sector.
These include initiatives such as the European Commission’s Open Methods of Coordination Experts Group on Sustainability and Climate Chance, but also the recent Voices of Cultures Report on Mental Health, the EIT on Culture and Creativity and the Perform Europe scheme and innovations, which seeks to promote collaborations between culture and other industries for social transformation.
Additionally, the transformative role of culture in sustainable development has been recognised by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers.
The Opole Recommendations call upon the European Commission to adopt a holistic and cross-sectoral approach to develop a comprehensive theatre policy framework.
This approach will enable the sector to effectively address global challenges and foster collaboration with other creative and cultural sectors, pooling resources and having a greater impact on issues such as digitalization and sustainable development.