ITI / UNESCO World Performing Arts Capital

What is the World Performing Arts Capital?

World Performing Arts Capital is a title bestowed by both UNESCO and ITI to a city in recognition of the quality of its programmes to support and promote the performing arts and education in this sector. Performing Arts embrace Drama Theatre, Dance and Music Theatre. The designation runs for one year.

The creation of the World Performing Arts Capital was approved by UNESCO during its General Assembly in 2013. The management for the call, the selection and the control and the evaluation has been delegated to ITI which will collaborate closely with UNESCO, to make sure that UNESCO and ITI aims are being followed.

Goals of the World Performing Arts Capital

The goals of the World Performing Arts Capital are to promote education, practice and experience of the Performing Arts by celebrating their diversity and transformative power in a given city, country, or region and potentially even across the world. The Capital focuses on the importance and value of the performing arts for the individual and society and for innovation and social change. The Capital actively encourages the development of the performing arts and education in the performing arts in the host city, region and country with a sustainable impact.

Sustainable Changes and Media Presence

From the beginning a World Performing Arts Capital has to create events and activities of high quality. To be selected by the jury a city has to propose projects, activities and plans creating a sustainable change for the performing arts, for society, etc. A new law in favour of the status of the performing artists, projects that bring theatre to minorities, education in the performing arts for all or similar issues that enhance the conditions for the profession, the participants and audiences. It is of utmost interest for the worldwide communities of the performing arts all over the world that the media report on these changes and results and that “best practices” are promoted for the benefit of all.

Possible Activities of a World Performing Arts Capital

The activities of the Capital may include (but are not limited to, to include ideas by the hosting Capital):
• Opening Ceremony.
• Festivals – dance, drama theatre, music theatre in all the possible different forms: drama, puppeteers, shadow theatre, children’s theatre, and theatre for young audiences, circus art, folk theatre, indigenous theatre, ritual theatre, amateur theatre, theatre for development, dance, ballet, mime, monodrama, etc.
• University Theatre Festivals (with participating educational institutions for the performing arts; participating institutions may be limited to city or region or be open to institutions from all over the world).
• Street Theatre Festivals.
• Theatre of Nations Festival.
• Conferences, lectures, keynote speeches, master classes, round table discussions.

• Congress(es) for the participating performing arts organizations.
• Exhibitions about scenography/stage design, set design, lighting design, audio design, performing arts make-up, and costume design, theatre poster design etc., about distinguished members of the performing arts community of the city, region and/or country.
• Multimedia Exhibitions and Events.
• Community Theatre Work: Go to communities with theatre workers to create plays with special communities of the Capital, including immigrant communities.
• Special activities in schools (primary, secondary up to high school level).
• Competitions (ex. for playwrights, choreographers, directors, young practitioners’ projects, etc. – ex .the competition starts at the beginning of the period and the winners are announced towards the end of the period of the World Performing Arts Capital.).
• World Performing Arts Capital Awards.
• Website, Newsletters, Blogs, Social Media (Facebook, etc.).
• Special Tours to important places related to the performing arts in and around the Capital (museums, theatres, historical places, residences of famous artists, etc.).
• Closing Ceremony.

Coordinating Organization

The coordinating organization is the International Theatre Institute (ITI) empowered by the resolution of UNESCO. ITI as the coordinator is responsible for putting together the selection criteria, organizing the collaboration with UNESCO, launching the call for the World Performing Arts Capital candidacies, coordinating the jury and its work, having the selected city endorsed by UNESCO as well as organizing the evaluation of the work and events of a World Performing Arts Capital after the end of its term.

Collaboration with ITI´s International Partner Organizations

ITI plans to include its Partner Organizations in the selection of the jury members.

Action Plan

Currently ITI is discussing the criteria for the call with experts and is setting up the collaboration with UNESCO – for finalising the call and launching it.
As soon as the criteria are ready for approval the call will be made publicly known and launch through the channels of UNESCO, ITI and the media.
The first call is expected for 2016, the first capital might start in 2018.

For further information, please contact the Director General of ITI: info(at)iti-worldwide org.