Regarded as one of the most influential theatre associations in Europe, the Union des Théâtres de l’Europe is also deeply rooted in the history of European theatre. Its origin goes back more than thirty years when three theatres in Italy, France and Spain decided to form an international alliance called “Théâtres de l’Europe/Teatri d’Europa”. More and more theatres became interested in this exchange, and in 1990 the French Minister of Culture, Jack Lang, and the director of the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, Giorgio Strehler, founded the “Union des Théâtres de l’Europe” on this basis. First centred on a programme of regular festivals aiming to unite East and West, the union has developed into an alliance of European theatres combining artistic and political goals, and using existing artistic platforms in order to strengthen professional exchange and to promote an open Europe of culture.
Today, the Union des Théâtres de l’Europe unites 26 members, amongst which 12 major theatres with national and international influence from all over Europe and beyond. The theatres from Porto, Moscow, Thessaloniki, Cluj, Belgrade, Luxemburg, Krakow, Sofia, Milan, Prague, Rome completed with independent and associated members from France, Hungary, Poland and Georgia are represented in 15 countries. Their goal is to collaborate on an international level and strengthen the role and value of European public theatres. Together they represent an area that increasingly encompasses the entire European continent and even transcends it with members in Israel, Palestine and partner-artists in various Arab countries.
With more than 10,000 performances and 3 million spectators a year, UTE member theatres offer a wide range of events, including productions, world premieres of new drama; projects on current political issues; cooperation between various international festivals; conferences on important political and artistic topics; roundtables with artists, managers and politicians intended to attract and include a broader audience; projects with young artists and young audiences; masterclasses; literary and academic publications; and think tanks for the development of new working strategies.
Elected Cultural Ambassador by the European Commission in 2012, head of a project on different forms of terrorism, including Israeli, Norwegian, German, French and Serbian theatres, and elected as one of the most significant theatre networks to be supported by the European Commission (CONFLICT ZONES | ZONES DE CONFLIT), the UTE sees its mission in an artistic, political and societal sphere. Its activities go along three major axes: the development of international and transnational collaborations; the maintenance and transmission of Europe’s cultural heritage, focusing on its appropriation by young artists; and the questioning, development and renewal of this heritage through ground-breaking artistic projects, but also political projects, all of which offer a critical reflection on today’s society.
Union des Théâtres de l'Europe gathered, in the last 3 decades, some of the most important European theatres and artists. Through festivals, exhibitions, exchanges, masterclasses, cooperation projects, the UTE help create a continuous flow between West and East, between generations, between tradition and innovation. Our celebration is inspired by this rich history. With the help of the Interferences International Theatre Festival, we wish to remember some of the best performances presented at past editions of the UTE festival and look forward to new horizons.