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Session: Sustainable Theatre

The climate crisis is changing everything we do, from how we live, to how we travel – and how we make theatre. If theatre is to play its part in the vital conversation about climate, then theatre-makers, too, must learn to be sustainable. How is the sector addressing this urgent challenge? What does it mean for theatre and for theatres? 
Topics included are listed below:

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Welcome Speech Day 1 and Keynote:
Lisa Burger and Rufus Norris

Joining from London, UK keynote speakers Rufus Norris, Director and Chief Executive of the National Theatre and former co-chief executive and Executive Director Lisa Burger, led the National Theatre through a transformation making it a theatre connecting millions of audience members across the UK.

With unforgettable stories, on stage, on tour, in schools, on cinema screens and at home, whilst striving towards economic, environmental and social sustainability, this session will cover all three themes of this year's event and will provide some fascinating lessons, aspirations and challenges to engage, inspire and intrigue the delegates gathered at ITEAC 2023.

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Theatre Green Book

Launched in the UK, the Theatre Green Book is now working with theatre communities worldwide to find common ground in the shift to sustainable practice. The film involves theatre-makers from the UK, Germany, Denmark, Czechia, Japan and Holland, as well as the European Theatre Convention. ITEAC 23 will see the launch of the Australian Green Book network in Brisbane.


Respira El Arte

Bogotà's 'Respira el Arte' programme has become an international reference for the connection of culture with environmental sustainability, using innovative programmes to transform cultural practice, and cultural spaces.

Designing Climate Change Theatre

Explore the impact of the climate crisis on our theatre and performance designers in this short segment showcasing the practice of Australian/Tongan artist Latai Taumoepeau. Award-winning works Repatriate and The Last Resort demonstrate how designers like Latai are raising awareness of climate change on marginalised communities. 

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Live Panel Discussion: Sustainability

Join the chair of this session, Lucy Davies, Executive Director at the Young Vic and panelists:
Tom Harper (Managing Director, Unusual Rigging)
Thierry Leonardi (Sustainbility Consultant, France)
Wesko Rohde (Deutsche Theatertechnische Gesellschaft. Germany)
Gemma Swallow (Head of Production,National Theatre of Scotland)
Emma Wilson (Director of Technical, Production & Costume - ROH)
Heidi Wiley (Executive Director,European Theatre Convention)

Session: Buildings and Shows

Sustainability touches everything a theatre does, from making productions to upgrading buildings and tackling the problems of travel and waste. We look at three of the toughest challenges: how to upgrade an unsustainable 1970's theatre building; how to tour a show internationally and how to achieve spectacular effects on stage.


Theatr Clwyd

How do you take a 1970's concrete megastructure and make it fit for purpose in the context of the climate emergency?


Haworth Tompkins Architects have faced that challenge at Theatre Clwyd in Wales. Join us to find out the solutions they came up with.


STAGES: Sustainable Touring and Other Initiatives

Touring sustainably is hard. Radical ideas are needed. The STAGES project was conceived to 'tour' a show without anything moving from theatre to theatre. Taiwan’s National Theatre and Concert Hall (NTCH) is the first Asian theatre to join the STAGES project. In this film, NTCH shares its sustainability practices and their first international production with the STAGES.

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Making the Spectacular Sustainable

Sustainable theatre is (arguably) easy if you design down to minimal stagings. But spectacular shows are part of theatre, and some stories need big sets and big effects. Theatre also needs to be spectacular. How do designers face this challenge – sustainably?


Live Panel Discussion: Buildings and Shows

The chair of this session is Lucy Davies, Executive Director at the Young Vic joined by panelists:
Wesko Rohde (Deutsche Theatertechnische Gesellschaft. Germany)
Gemma Swallow (Head of Production,National Theatre of Scotland)
Heidi Wiley (Executive Director,European Theatre Convention)

Session: Sustainable Engineering

Is engineering part of the solution to theatre’s climate challenge? Can innovative engineering help move theatre forward into a very different world? Or is engineering part of the problem, with an over-reliance on each new generation of technical upgrade? We look at new ways of thinking.


Sustainability is an Engineering Challenge

From modular structures to innovative stage engineering and software that supports recycling, part of theatre's response to the climate crisis comes through new engineering solutions.

Hear from Tom Harper, Managing Director and Circular Economy Lead at Unusual Rigging Ltd.

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Using what we have

Stage engineering systems comprise a complex mix of equipment, each part of which has a different (and unpredictable) life. Upgrading/updating this equipment when standards have changed is a complex process - unless we take the ‘throw it all out and start again’ approach. To achieve sustainability we’d like to change the minimum possible. This session looks at the challenges of achieving this and how we might structure projects to use the most of what we have.


Available in-person only


Live Panel Discussion: Sustainable Engineering

The chair of this session is Carol Scott, Principal Sustainability Advocate at TAIT.

The panel includes:

Tom Harper (Managing Director, Unusual Rigging)
Thierry Leonardi (Sustainbility Consultant, France)
Emma Wilson (Director of Technical, Production and Costume, ROH)

Session: Reaching New Communities

Theatres around the world are urgently exploring how to reach new audiences, and engage with communities who haven’t been touched by theatre before. We look at some of the most inspiring examples, and debate what that means for how we think about theatre space.


Available in-person only

Mariupol: A Hundred Nights

In the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mariupol Theatre was bombed while being used as an air raid shelter. Before the war, Mariupol was a vibrant centre for theatre. During the invasion it was overrun and largely destroyed. DAKh Theatre, organisers of Kyiv’s annual Gogolfest arts festival, have made a short animated work about the child refugees of Mariupol, and are kindly allowing us to show it at ITEAC's London event.
More details here.

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Public Works

New York’s Public Works project is a vast exercise in community involvement, drawing in thousands, and generating transformational performances in Central Park. We hear from Public Works' Director Oskar Eustis and many others.

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SESC São Paulo

ITEAC’s Brazilian partner SESC runs 40 social and cultural centres in São Paolo, Brazil, creating a cultural infrastructure that blends seamlessly with education, sports, health, leisure and tourism. Some of SESC's project leaders and collaborators talk about how buildings can accommodate the widest possible range of programmes, and engage with communities on multiple levels.


Cairns Performing Arts Centre

Australia is a vast country with a diverse mix of communities, cultures and art forms. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in our regional communities. See how the team from COX Architecture worked with the regional community of Cairns in northern Australia to design a thriving new theatre building that caters to local needs while also offering major productions a state-of-the-art experience while on tour. 


Restless Scene: The City as a Stage

A film about the contemporary production of street theatre in São Paulo, where the scenic space is transferred to the city, the urban landscape becomes the stage, and the public is invited to re-imagine their cultural experience. The Troupe Sinhá Zózima studies dramaturgy inside a moving bus; the OPOVOEMPÉ collective performs artistic interventions in large public spaces; Cia Estável de Teatro takes  theatre to a homeless shelter; Troupe Olho na Rua  chooses public squares to make its social critique; and Núcleo Macabéa takes music to the alleys of a ghetto that has been suffering from expropriation


Live Panel Discussion: Reaching New Communities

The chair of this session is Aby Cohen, Brazilian Scenographer, Artistic Director and Exhibition Curator.
The panel includes:

James Dacre (British Theatre, Opera and Film Director/ Producer)
Dr Paul Hanna (Senior Associate/Chartered Psychologist at
                    Hoare Lea)

Shanaz Gulzar (Creative Director at Bradford UK City of Culture)
Emily Lim (Public Acts Director at Royal National Theatre)
Gwennan Mair (Creative Engagement Director at Theatr Clwyd)

Session: Designing for Communities

Architecture has a role to play in reaching unserved communities. Buildings can be conceived for multiple community uses. Consultation can draw communities into the process of design and making, to forge powerful links between people and the places they experience theatre.

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Keynote: Marcos Felipe, Brazil

Marcos Felipe is the inspirational leader of Teatro de Contêiner Mugunzá, a theatre made of maritime containers in the centre of the city of São Paulo. Situated in a vulnerable region known perjoratively as "Cracolândia" (Crackland) it drew in 150,000 visitors in its first two years of operation. Putting the company in context, from 2008 to the present day, Marcos will talk about the artistic /architectural process and its aim establishing a sustainable socio-cultural space.


Kabuki Theatre, Kamimiharada

In a small community, citizens have traditionally come together every few years to build a performance space for Kabuki.

Architect, Satio Hasegawa from Japan describes the process.

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Malmo Stadsteater

Haworth Tompkins share their recent work at Malmo Stadsteater, a 19th Century Swedish Theatre. Occupying a handsome civic building of red brickwork and granite stone dressings, Haworth Tompkins has worked with the community to convert an existing building in to the home of theatre deeply rooted in the local community.


Designing Theatres for Communities to Use

Leading architect Satio Hasegawa of Kohyama Atelier, in Tokyo, has huge experience of theatre design. He looks at working closely with communities through recent projects in Marugame City and Fukui Prefecture.


SESC Pompeia

ITEAC’s partner in São Paulo, Brazil, runs theatres and cultural programmes to engage with communities on multiple levels. This now includes  SESC Pompeia which is a former factory adopted by the community for theatre and social use.

Converted by the late Brazilian-Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi, Marcelo Ferraz, one of her collaborators for its renovation, talks about the conception and design.


Live Panel Discussion:
Designing for Communities

The chair of this session is Aby Cohen, Brazilian Scenographer, Artistic Director and Exhibition Curator. The panel includes:
Dr Paul Hanna (Senior Associate/Chartered Psychologist at Hoare Lea)

Lucy Picardo (Director at Haworth Tompkins)

Session: Thinking Differently

Some have suggested that to reach new communities we need a more radical shift in our thinking.
Are new theatre buildings the right answer or should we think about performance space differently? Do we need buildings at all? And are we sure that ours is the only way of conceiving space for performance?


Creating Infrastructure for Culture

In ITEAC’s partner city of Bogotà, the Secretariat for Culture has not only planned 'traditional' cultural districts, but gone deeper to support the human and community infrastructure needed to sustain cultural activity, and seek imaginative ways to enable culture for deprived communities.

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Circle of Fifths

National Theatre Wales reaches communities by moving outside buildings to place performance within the townscapes and landscapes where communities are rooted. Their production ‘Circle of Fifths’ was located in Cardiff’s Tiger Bay area, one of Britain’s oldest multi-cultural communities.


Start by Listening

The Abbey Theatre Dublin and National Theatre Wales have the same approach to community engagement work. It isn’t focused on making shows, but on the journey that leads to a show. They don’t start from an idea. Instead, they listen and see what emerges.

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Indigenous Perspectives

The way we think about theatre space often reflects deeply embedded western ideas about space and culture. In this movie, indigenous artists from different Brazilian ethnic groups talk about the very different ways they approach their work, and their very different perspective on nature and the modern world.

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Available in-person only

Live Panel Discussion:
Thinking Differently about Community

The chair of this session is James Dacre (British Theatre, Opera and Film Director/ Producer)
The panel includes:

Shanaz Gulzar, Creative Director at Bradford UK City of Culture
Emily Lim, Public Acts Director at Royal National Theatre;
Gwennan Mair, Creative Engagement Director at Theatr Clwyd

Round Up of Day 1: ITEAC 2023


London Live Session: Overview of Day 1

Round up of Day 1 hosted by Simon Harper, Director at Harper Tackley.  This session will include a live discussion and round up of day 1 followed by closing comments before in-person delegates are invited to an evening reception. Details below.

Wednesday 20th September 2023:

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Welcome Speech Day 2 and Key Note:
Mr. Kenneth Fok Kai Kong

Joining from Hong Kong, Mr Kenneth Fok, Chairman of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, will explore how policy influences the development of performing arts and decision-making in landmark cultural organisations and infrastructures. With the advent of the 'Art Tech' movement in Hong Kong, it is clear that central and strategic planning has enabled institutions, festivals, and artists to innovate and experiment with technologies, offering new avenues of performance-making for digitally

native artists as well as those who are new to the field. A key advocate of the arts, Mr Kenneth Fok will share with us the work of HKADC, first-hand experiences in the field, and offer insights from Hong Kong to delegates at ITEAC 2023.

Live Discussion

Hosted by Tisa Ho, Executive Director of Hong Kongs Arts Festival.

Session: Digital Revolution

Accelerated by the Covid pandemic, the digital revolution is transforming theatre. To some, digital squanders the very thing that makes theatre special: the live connection between actor and audience. To others, it’s an exciting opportunity. Live-streaming can reach new audiences. Virtual and Augmented Reality open new spaces for performance. We live in a digital world. What does it mean for theatre?


The Cutting Edge

Hong Kong Arts Festival has been a pioneer in commissioning digital work.


This short film samples some extracts, including Esa-Pekka Salonen’s radical opera, 'Laila'.


The Digital Room

The newest theatre spaces don't exist. We look at the cutting edge of Virtual and Augmented reality.

From Abba's avatars to the Royal Opera House, and 'Hamlet' performed within 'Grand Theft Auto', theatre faces a future of massive change.


Creating the Future

No one knows where digital will take theatre.


Dortmund Theatre has just opened an ambitious new laboratory, the Akademie für Digitalität und Teater, to allow artists to imagine new partnerships and explore the possibilities of a new digital world.

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Sound Voice

Digital is forging new collaborations for theatre.


This short extract showcases a hybrid digital work that brings together composers, artists, health professionals and people with lived experience of voice loss.


Live Panel Discussion: Digital Revolution

The chair of this session is Kate Bailey, Senior Curator at V&A Museum UK. The panel includes:Panel includes:
Toby Coffey (Head of Digital Development, National Theatre)
Hannah Conway (Co-founder and Director at Sound Voice)
Marcus Lobbes (Director of the Akademie für Theater und Digitalität)
Ryan Metcalfe (Founder & Managing Director, Preevue Ltd)

Session: Deus ex Machina

Audiences are getting used to astonishing effects, as immersive theatre takes over the world and 1970's pop bands are magically rejuvenated. We look at what immersive means for theatre. But we also ask the question – is this really new? Hasn’t theatre always used technology to create magical illusions?



The new trend in performance is for massive, immersive digital space. How's it done and where's it going?

Join us as we look into this interesting new development in theatre and performance.


Revolution or Evolution?

The theatre has always exploited new technologies, from thunder machines to trapped floors and Gods arriving on cranes.

Will VR/AR/XR really change everything, or is it just more of the same?

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Technisches Kabinett

In the basement of Opera Leipzig is a lovingly curated treasure room of lightning machines, projected clouds, and rainbows beamed through prisms…

Join as we discover them!



A teaser for Stadtsteater Augsburg’s brilliant conception of a VR immersion in Schoenberg’s huge, harrowing and hard-to-stage monodrama.

With thanks to the Fedora platform.

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Live Panel Discussion:  Immersive Theatre

The Chair of this session is Mark Ager, Marketing Director at XM Automation

The panel includes:
Toby Coffey (Head of Digital Development, National Theatre)
Eric Hoff, (Principal, Thinkwell (a TAIT Company)

Marcus Lobbes, (Director of the Akademie für Theater und Digitalität.)

Session: Sharing Digital

The digital revolution is driving theatres to look again at how they engage with audiences. Streaming can reach audiences far from the theatre – but what does a digital platform look like? Immersive shows draw huge crowds – but what sort of theatres do they need to house them?

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Theatre Venues for the Digital Era

Theatre venues from Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea are ramping up their digital equipment and capabilities to encourage innovative theatricals and productions, employing lessons learnt from the pandemic. Through Hong Kong's East Kowloon Cultural Centre, Singapore's Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, and South Korea's Asia Cultural Centre, we catch a glimpse of how theatres in Asia are embracing the digital.


Building for Digital

Stufish Entertainment Architects and Charcoalblue theatre & acoustics consultants discuss the creation of the extraordinary ABBA Arena, a demountable venue opened in London in 2022, designed in tandem with a cutting-edge live and digital show to provide a never-before-experienced immersive environment.


Digital in Australia

This short film explores new research being conducted to enhance the Australian arts sector’s ability to share their creative products across the country, especially within remote and regional communities. Lead Researcher Elizabeth Old-Gibbs details how a team of researchers are partnering with leading producers and presenters across the country to create new digital platforms.


Available in-person only

Live Panel Discussion: Sharing Digital

The chair of this session is Kate Bailey, Senior Curator at V&A Museum UK.

The panel includes:

Elena Giakoumaki, Director at Charcoalblue Theatre Consultants
Jim Love, VP Global Head of Product Engineering

Session: Teaching Digital

If digital is transforming theatre, what does that mean for the next generation? In two films, we turn to theatre academies and schools to ask how they’re working with students who are likely to practise in a radically different theatre world.


Educating for a Digital World

University of North Carolina and Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts collaborate on a conversation about educating the next generation for a world of digital performance-making (with examples of students’ work).


The Next Generation

Rose Bruford College and White Light report on their new digital stage, which will help prepare a new generation of theatre-makers for a digital world.


Available in-person only

Live Panel Discussion: Teaching Digital

The chair of this session is Jen Parker-Starbuck, Professor of Drama at Royal Holloway London.
The panel includes:
Hannah Conway (Co-founder and Director at Sound Voice)
Ryan Metcalfe (Founder & Managing Director at Preevue Ltd)

Session: What's New in Architecture?

We offer a round-up of new theatre architecture from across the world, starting with the regeneration of an architectural masterpiece, and moving on to new architecture that ranges from the spectacular to the thoughtful.


Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is one the most recognisable buildings in the world. For the past decade, the House has been undergoing a vast Renewal Program, including much needed updates to the famous Concert Hall. This segment goes deep into the intent behind the renewal of the Hall, looking into the design process and outcomes, as well as the technological upgrades to this incredible venue. Hear from the key players on the project from ARM Architecture, Theatreplan, and the Opera House itself on what went into renewing this icon of theatre and performance architecture.


Perelman Theatre, New York

The Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC) is the new centrepiece of the New York theatrical landscape. A home for artistic ambition and ground-breaking performance, on the site of the World Trade Center, this iconic venue carries history and significance for the city and has been designed to be an ultra-flexible space. Hear from members of the PAC team about what this centre means to them. “The place where we saw the worst of humanity, we’re going to see the best.”


Aviva Studios, Manchester

Aviva Studios (home of Factory International) is an altogether new kind of flexible venue. Enabling creative freedom on the largest possible scale, Manchester’s brand-new performing and visual arts venue is set to change the UK’s art ecology. Learn more about this ambitious project and how theatre consultants Charcoalblue, approached the challenge.


 Singtel Waterfront, Singapore

With a growing demand for a space for developing and presenting greater diversity of productions in Singapore, theatre consultants Charcoalblue talk through their approach to creating a “theatrical playground” in the new Singtel Waterfront Theatre. A flexible and intimate performance space where artists from Singapore and overseas can play, create and innovate, and a space where audiences can experience stories told like never before.


Gosen Theatre, Japan

Satio Hasegawa, of Kohyama Atelier, shares the thinking behind Gosen Theatre, which embraces multiple uses (including children’s play areas) as well as materials that reflect the community’s heritage.


Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre, India

The Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre is a spectacular new theatre and multi-purpose arts complex, potentially a game-changer for theatre in Mumbai, India. The NMACC was established to display the sensory journey of India's rich cultural history through performing and visual arts. The centre is designed as a multi-disciplinary space and home to three performing arts spaces. Mrs Ambani introduces the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre and then we are taken on a tour of the facilities inside the new Centre and hear from artists who have performed in the short period since it opened in April 2023.


Live Panel Discussion:
What's New in Architecture?

The chair of this session is Joshua Dachs, Principal-in-Charge, Fisher Dachs Associates, USA.
The panel includes:
Mark Ager (Marketing Director, XM Automation)
Helen Grassly (Director, Burrell Foley Fischer)
Sébastien Jouan (Design-led Acoustician, Paris)
Jon Morgan (Director,Theatres Trust)
Claire Walker (Joint CEO of SOLT & UK Theatre)

Session: New Engineering

Digital innovation is not the only advance in theatre over the five years since ITEAC 2018. This session rounds up new advances in acoustic enhancement, networking and sound, and looks at the impact of forthcoming legislation on stage engineering.

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Key Note: Catalina Valencia, Colombia

Catalina Valencia, secretary of culture for Bogotà, Colombia, has overseen a visionary programme for Bogotà that has transformed the city’s culture through a programme of sustainability and social change.

Bogotá is a diverse and multicultural meeting point for people from across the country, home to 11 million inhabitants, which is equivalent to 23% of the country’s entire population. The city is an ideally located development hub offering modern infrastructure, which can help grow the cultural and creative sectors. The 'Culture is Local program' has served as a strategy to ensure people's access to cultural rights,  assisting with activities in the fields of culture, art, heritage, and creativity, with the participation of all 20 districts of Bogotá.


Acoustic Enhancement

Electro-acoustic enhancement of performance environments has been well established for several decades. Fuelled by the development and deployment of increasingly sophisticated spatial/immersive systems, the availability of acoustic enhancement platforms is increasing. In this session, James Beer discusses the opportunities offered by these technologies to performance and rehearsal practice, and the interaction between natural and enhanced acoustic environments, using examples from projects including the Linbury Theatre at Royal Opera House, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Muziekcentrum de Bijloke and UCL Pearl.


Networked Sound

Simultaneous sound and video feeds without time-lag has always been a challenge. This video from JATET (Japanese Association of Theatre and Entertainment Technology) demonstrates a solution.


Remote Working

The Covid pandemic taught us all how to work remotely. With theatre practitioners based around the world, new technologies have emerged to allow designers and technicians to collaborate on detailed technical design from different cities in different continents. The result? A global theatre world which is ever more connected.


EN 17206

The new EU engineering standard for theatre engineering provides a clear path for specifying, designing, and using engineering in live entertainment. Whilst much of the standard builds on existing standards and norms worldwide, there are new requirements, particularly in the field of electronic/software safety.
In this area the standard clarifies and codifies the various potential use cases for various classes of stage engineering equipment and recommends the safety features that should be provided for each use case and equipment class.
This standard is set to be a requirement for all theatres within the EU and given that previous EU standards have been used worldwide, is set to become a standard that everyone should understand.


Live Panel Discussion: New Engineering

The chair of this session is Mark Ager, Marketing Director, XM Automation

The panel includes:
Sébastien Jouan (Design-led Acoustician, Paris)
Dave Ludlam (Executive Director, Theatreplan)
LLuis Diaz-Guerra Director of Blumano

Session: Supporting Culture

Igniting a vibrant cultural scene isn’t easy. What are the magic ingredients? And what can local and regional governments do to help? We finish ITEAC 2023 by exploring two very different approaches, from Bogotá, Colombia, and Queensland, Australia.


Performance in Bogotá

Following our keynote from Catalina Valencia, we look at the thriving performance scene in ITEAC’s partner city of Bogotá, Colombia. Bogotá has no starchitect buildings … and yet it has an extraordinarily live and dynamic arts culture. This film, made by Idartes, takes us on a visit.


Designing a New State Theatre

Brisbane-based architecture firm Blight-Rayner share the process of designing a new addition to Queensland’s major cultural centre ahead of the 2032 Olympics. Responding to the state’s need for mid-large sized proscenium arts venues, Michael Rayner talks through the firm’s approach to designing new theatres in response to existing heritage architectures while also responding to community needs.


Available in-person only

Live Panel Discussion: Supporting Culture

The chair of this session is Joshua Dachs, Principal-in-Charge, Fisher Dachs Associates, USA.
The panel includes:

Helen Grassly (Director, Burrell Foley Fischer)
Jon Morgan (Director,Theatres Trust)
Claire Walker ( Joint CEO of SOLT & UK Theatre)

Round Up of Day 2: ITEAC 2023


Close of Day 2: Round-up and thanks



End of ITEAC 2023 by the ABTT


A quick round up of the second day of ITEAC 2023 by Editorial Chair Paddy Dillon, ABTT Co-Cahir David Evans and ABTT CEO Robin Townley followed by a thank you to all contributors and closing comments for the end of ITEAC 2023.

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