Europe Theatre Prize – History

The Europe Theatre Prize and of Live Performing Arts (ETP) had its inauguration in 1986 as a pilot project of the European Commission under Jacques Delors, whose first Commissioner of Culture was Carlo Ripa di Meana.


Back then, further support for the creation of the ETP also came from Melina Mercouri, who was the patroness of the Prize, and from Jack Lang. Since 2002, the ETP has been recognized by the European Parliament and Council as a European Cultural Interest Organisation. This important result was the fruit of a joint effort between the UTE and the ETP in or-der for both organisations to be recognised by the European Par-liament, which was one of the joint battles in support of theatre culture in Europe. Furthermore, the UTE and the ETP were in-cluded in the budget line of the European Parliament and Minis-ters’ Council for the time of its existence.


Regarding the organisation of ETP events, the Prize is not purely a celebratory event of the winners, but also a study of the winners’ figures and works; it furthermore includes meetings and seminars with testimonies of their collaborators, theatre and festival direc-tors, scholars and international critics. Finally, the Prize also offers previews of winning performances, internships, debates, and pro-jections.


Participants from more than 50 countries — as the Prize has been consistently growing throughout the years — attended the events of the last ETP edition. In fact, the Prize has become a regular meet-ing for the international theatre world, also thanks to the presence of around 400 journalists and critics coming from all over Europe and the rest of the world.