ITEAC Conference 2023
Our colleague Nicola Walls recently attended the ITEAC (International Theatre Engineering and Architecture Conference) held in London with live streamed content from several cities.
This global conversation revolved around major issues facing us all – how to touch the world more lightly, how to strengthen our communities ensuring no-one is left behind, and how to embrace technology to enhance our experiences.
There was a lot of discussions around governmental policy and how this can support as the cultural sector faces immense challenges. But also about how out of these challenges opportunities can emerge, acknowledging the importance of culture in social cohesion and ‘wealth’ building in every sense.
Key lessons coming out of the conference were:
- We should be creating architecture that enables – not necessarily architecture with a strong ‘artistic signature’.
- We need to be more honest about how our buildings will perform. This is pertinent to our practice where we are working in the main to creatively adapt existing buildings and where we need to carefully balance heritage status with adaptations required for a more extreme climate.
- Adaptability is key – don’t be too prescriptive. We need to allow for those ‘rooms with no names’.
- Digital is not a threat but can make theatre relevant to a broader demographic, enhance the theatre experience and offer limitless opportunity.
- Our cultural buildings need to be a ‘good host’, inviting the city in and taking the art out.
- Theatre should remain a place for collective healing and a place of sanctuary.
The key themes of ITEAC resonant strongly with our project work within the cultural sector – acting responsibly, nurturing communities, and seeking to understand our world through relevant artistic responses.
It was good to take time to hear what is going on elsewhere, and the international perspective welcome as it demonstrates the commonality of global concerns and approaches. Essentially there is more that binds us than divides us – and that is perhaps the most important lesson today.