We advocate the value of the arts and culture and empower performing arts professionals through access to international connections, knowledge and a dynamic forum for exchange. We work to stimulate the quality, development and context of the contemporary performing arts, in all their diversity.
We create opportunities for our members and the international performing arts community at large by organising networking activities, peer-to-peer learning, exchanges and dialogues via various events.
We also commission publications and research, facilitate communication and distribution of information about the performing arts and advocate for the position of performing arts professionals, worldwide.
Our members are organisations and freelancers working worldwide in the contemporary performing arts. Our members represent all performing arts disciplines: theatre, dance, circus, street arts, mime, music theatre, new media, performance art, interdisciplinary live art forms, puppetry and object theatre, site-specific work, participatory performance, and more.
Our members include artistic companies, collectives, organisations, festivals, venues, residencies, producers and independent artists, theatres and dance houses, cultural/research/resource centres, fellow artistic and cultural networks, universities and institutional bodies. They work in all aspects of international cooperation: education, creation, production, presentation, curation, promotion, support, research.
Our Associate Members are organisations providing support to the performing arts field, in their own country as well as internationally. IETM Associate Members are official bodies, ministries, arts councils, public funding organisations and foundations. They have the same rights as other members but their higher fee includes a support grant to the network. We provide our Associate Members with a special forum for peer exchange and feed them with information on our activities and policy developments.
We aim to create a more inclusive contemporary arts field by helping our members to diversify their organisations and work, and stimulating underrepresented performing arts professionals to join our activities and the network, regardless of their background, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical abilities, social conditions, working and employment status, age, career path and geographical location.
The smooth operations of the network are run on a daily basis by the IETM Secretariat, based in Brussels, Belgium. Our international team always welcomes questions and enquiries, as well as new projects and ideas. Contact us now.
IETM is an association based in Brussels and operating under Belgian law. Our governance and our organisational structure reflect the current functioning and aspirations of the network. You can learn more about our structure and meet our Board of Directors, Secretary General and Advisory Committee on this page.
We are often in touch with the press and are regularly mentioned in the international media. We collect this information in the media room, along with our latest newsletters, logos and graphic guidelines.
Date of birth: 1981
|Place of birth: Polverigi, Italy, during the Festival of Polverigi|
|First meeting: 15 October 1981, Théâtre Gérard Philippe, Paris|
|Members: over 500 from more than 50 countries|
|Organisations founded or co-founded: Roberto Cimetta Fund (arts mobility in the Mediterranean), On The Move (mobility web portal), Balkan Express (platform for collaboration in and with the Balkans), ICARJ (International Coalition for Arts, Human Rights and Social Justice), European Alliance for Culture and the Arts.|
|Annual turnover (managed directly through the Secretariat): app. € 500.000|
|Annual expenditure for the network, adding in partners and co-organisers’ budgets: at least € 1.000.000|
IETM was founded in 1981 at an informal gathering of performing arts professionals at the Polverigi Festival (now called Inteatro festival) in Italy. It was a time when international collaboration was to a large extent performed by and through governmental and intergovernmental institutions. As one of the first European cultural networks, it was founded by and for professionals to create a space of exchange and strengthen international collaboration in the thriving independent performing arts sector in Europe.
IETM developed, organising ‘meetings’ twice a year with debates and performance programmes, but without a formal association, structure or status. In 1989, it became a not-for-profit international organisation under Belgian law with a Secretariat and membership fees.
From 1989, IETM (a predominantly EU-based membership) was active in including colleagues from Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, and from 1994, those from the countries around the Mediterranean. From 2003, IETM also became active as a bridge between its professional members in Europe and those in Asia (including Central Asia), Africa and the Americas, although its main membership still comes from Europe.
With the number of members growing consistently each year, and representing an increasingly diverse range of interdisciplinary contemporary performing arts, in 2005 IETM dropped its original title Informal European Theatre Meeting to become simply ‘IETM’ with the tagline ‘International network for contemporary performing arts”.