ITEAC announces the most ambitious schedule ever for the 2023 edition!

31 July 2023

The ABTT’s International Theatre, Engineering and Architecture Conference has announced its most ambitious schedule yet, including over 50 sessions from around the world for its 2023 edition at the IET, London on Tuesday 19th – Wednesday 20th September 2023.

With contributors from Australia, America, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Japan, Scotland, Singapore, Sweden, South Korea and Wales – ITEAC 2023 brings more variety to the table than ever before. A full timetable has now been released. The programme includes a variety of live seminars and discussions informed by short films and pre-recorded presentations from prestigious projects and commentators. In depth information about each session can be found here.

Delegates can expect discussion, debate and sharing of best practice, with those attending the IET London event able to create new connections and forge lasting collaborative relationships. Sessions are punctuated by networking opportunities during the tea and coffee intervals and lunch breaks with those joining on the first day of the conference able to attend the Drinks Reception co-sponsored by Audience Systems and Theatres Trust overlooking the river Thames and iconic National Theatre and Royal Festival Hall.

Here, delegates can continue the conversation from the first day’s event discussing the challenges faced by theatre practitioners since ITEAC 2018. With covid having closed theatres worldwide, a digital revolution taking hold, the climate crisis becoming more urgent and movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, everyone is re-examining who makes theatre and how does it connect with communities.

On the first morning, the London conference will focus on environmental sustainability with a discussion from Haworth Tompkins on making the 1970’s Theatr Clywd building sustainable. This will be followed by Kate Burnett talking to leading designers about the challenge of making spectacular productions sustainable. Delegates will then join Dave Ludlum as he questions how to break the cycle of constantly renewing equipment, and Tom Harper will review engineering solutions for working sustainably.  Taiwan’s National Theatre and Concert Hall will share their STAGES project for a tour where nothing moved from place to place, and Bogotà will review their arts policy on sustainability and the exciting results this led to.

In the afternoon, ITEAC will address the urgent challenge of theatres engaging with new communities. To start we review thoughtful architecture through Malmo Stadsteater, Sweden and recent community-based projects in Japan. Then sessions will focus on alternative solutions such as large-scale community projects led by  The Abbey Theatre, Dublin and Public Works in New York.

Delegates can then hear from the University of Chicago about two recent theatre building projects which doubled for community engagement, followed by how government can play a role in this important topic too – focussing on how Bogotà reviewed its entire cultural infrastructure, looking for novel ways to bring theatre to deprived communities.

Delegates will have the opportunity to look at projects that deliver theatre in streets, found spaces, ghettoes and even a moving bus from contributors in São Paulo, in Brazil. Also, the work of SESC will be investigated through the celebrated work of Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi and São Paulo’s diverse population triggers a debate about what we mean by theatre and performance space as we explore it through the eyes of indigenous theatre-makers.

On the second day of the Conference, ITEAC 2023 will focus on how covid was a catalyst for a radical acceleration of digital theatre: suddenly it being the only way to reach audiences. Sessions will explore how for some, digital threatens everything distinctive about theatre while for others, it’s an opportunity to reach new audiences and master new technologies.

Either way, digital theatre can’t be ignored, so attendees will be joined by Mark Ager, XM Automation as he explores the cutting edge of Virtual and Augmented Reality by interviewing leading practitioners. We will also hear from the recently-opened Akademie für Digitalität und Teater in Dortmund, and from Rose Bruford College, UK who have invested in a teaching space for digital theatre.

ITEAC will look to the future in a joint session led by Hong Kong Performing Arts Academy and the University of North Carolina about how digital will transform the lives of emerging theatre-makers and this is further explored through discussion with Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul – three of the world’s most connected cities – to see how they are readying theatres for a digital world.

In other sessions ITEAC investigates how in a country like Australia, digital is the only way to spread productions across vast distances and in Europe, immersive shows like Abba Voyage are drawing huge audiences. Delegates will be able to consider the architecture, thinking and technology behind them all, while exploring how new this revolution really is through Joshua Dachs’ seminar on theatre’s long history of creating illusion through technology.

On the afternoon of the second day, the conference begins exploring “what’s new?” in architecture and engineering supporting culture with sessions discussing Sydney Opera House’s renewal programme, the new centrepiece of the New York theatrical landscape – the Perelman Theatre alongside Manchester’s new flexible venue Aviva Studios. Charcoalblue talk through their approach to creating a “theatrical playground” in the new Singtel Waterfront Theatre, Singapore and Satio Hasegawa, of Kohyama Atelier, shares the thinking behind Gosen Theatre, Japan which embraces multiple uses as well as materials that reflect the community’s heritage.

Delegates will have the opportunity to learn about the latest technologies in Acoustic Enhancement, how to have simultaneous sound and video feeds without time-lag and new systems to allow designers and technicians to collaborate on detailed technical design from different cities in different continents.

Worldwide, theatre and theatres are at a crossroads. ITEAC 23 captures a moment of urgent debate about their future.  Our keynote speakers are all leading voices in these conversations. Rufus Norris and Lisa Burger look back on what they did to transform the National Theatre into a global leader for digital and sustainability, while seeking and sustaining new communities. Catalina Valencia has led Bogotàs inspiring project to galvanise and renew an entire city through culture and director Marcos Felipe has transformed the lives of dispossessed communities in São Paulo, rethinking both theatre and the spaces in which it takes place.

ITEAC 2023 is designed to inspire, energise and inform its participants, welcoming both established and new generation practitioners including architects, consultants, engineers, contractors, acousticians, technicians, operators, owners, as well as those who create the art; those for whom the spaces must work and whose needs must be heard and understood.

Book your ticket here to actively participate in in this urgent and dynamic conversation about the future of global theatre.