CANCELLED: IETM Belgrade Plenary Meeting 2020

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Due to the uncertainty regarding the organisation of large-scale international events in the months ahead, we regret to inform you that we will not be able to carry on with the organisation of our Autumn Plenary Meeting in Belgrade (1-4 October). Although we are truly saddened not to be able to gather in person for a much-needed reunion with our performing arts community, the current global situation implies too many risks that we cannot afford to take.

But don’t worry! As we are always adapting to the situation and looking for new ways to significantly engage with our members and the wider performing arts community, we have been working on concocting an innovative and special Plenary Meeting format that will combine participation in both online and physical activities on 1 & 2 October 2020. More information will be communicated soon but you can already save these dates in your agenda!


Our 2020 Autumn Plenary Meeting will be held in Belgrade, in association with BITEF - Belgrade International Theatre Festival, one of the major international events of contemporary performing arts in Eastern and Central Europe. 

Thanks to the position of Yugoslavia, in belonging to neither of the two blocs in Cold War-era Europe, BITEF was a unique place for meeting and dialogue between theatre creators and their poetics. It was at BITEF that artistic experiences converged along different geographical, cultural and ideological lines: the Soviet Bloc and the Western World, Europe and non-European cultures.

The healing of historical divisions that tore the whole continent in the past century did not, however, prevent new antagonisms from taking the place of old ones. With the wire fence separating Serbia’s northern border from Hungary in order to prevent the desperate search for a better life of hundreds of thousands of people from Asia and Africa, Belgrade and BITEF need more than ever to be a place of meeting and dialogue, where progressive ideas can flourish both socially and artistically.

Placing humanism at its core, IETM Belgrade will look at some of the most urgent challenges our societies currently have to rise up to: the threat of an environmental disaster, the refugee crisis, the rise of right-wing populism, the collapse of the concept of community, the surge of digital technologies and artificial intelligence, and more. 

How can the performing arts help us minimise, address and adapt to these global disruptions without neglecting the human factor? How can artistic works embody humanistic values and convey them beyond their target audiences? What world do we aspire to build for future generations and what means do the performing arts provide us with to achieve this goal? 

Relying on what we have learned from previous IETM meetings and approaching the topics from new angles, we will attempt to answer these questions through a set of interactive discussions, inspiring keynote speeches, artistic walks and informal networking moments.

Both as long-term IETM members and co-organisers of the Plenary, BITEF will present their annual festival as the artistic programme of the meeting. Compiling an exciting set of performances intrinsically connected to the content of the working sessions, the artistic programme will also include a handful of local emerging artists which will give you a glimpse into ‘what’s on’ in the region.

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