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In November 2020, the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission contracted PPMI (in cooperation with KEA European Affairs) to conduct a study “The situation of theatres in the EU Member States”.

The thematic focus of this study was the theatre ecosystem (excluding other performing arts activities such as opera, ballet, dance or circus). In terms of its geographic scope, the study covered all EU Member States. Additional data on support measures adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by national, regional and local authorities across non- EU Creative Europe countries were collected during the study’s desk research phase.

In carrying out the study, the research team adopted a mixed-methods approach. They conducted extensive desk research, mapping references relating to the socio-economic situation of the theatre sector in the EU Member States. The team conducted 75 interviews with stakeholders at EU and national levels, including representatives of policy-making institutions, sectoral organisations, theatre venues and companies (both public and private), and educational institutions. The data acquired through the desk research and interviews were synthesised in 10 country case study reports. The research team also launched an online survey of theatre stakeholders to gather quantitative data, collecting 153 usable responses from 20 EU Member States and six non-EU states (incl. Creative Europe countries). The preliminary findings of the study, together with its conclusions and recommendations, were discussed in a validation workshop that gathered together 16 representatives from the European Commission and stakeholders in the sector.

The data gathered by the study reiterated the role of theatre as an important public space for fostering an open European society. It also emphasised the key challenges faced by the sector, like the lack of comparable statistical data, the precarious situation of theatre professionals, and the negative impact of and the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.


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