Representatives of the leadership from all 14 partner institutions came to Vienna for the kick-off meeting of ConnectUp. From January 28 – February 1, 2020, Dschungel Wien, centrally located in the beautiful museum district, was the host for more than 40 theatre makers from all over Europe.
On the first day, Merete Elnan from the leading organization of the project, the University of Agder (NO) and Corinne Eckenstein, Artistic Director of the hosting company, welcomed the guests. Dirk Neldner, Artistic Director of the project, gave a detailed overview of the complex project structure.
The next day, Gunnar Horn from the University of Agder, introduced the partners to the concept of the Theatre Mediation Programme, which is central to ConnectUp. The importance of Audience Development in today’s times was emphasized by Ava Hunt and Caroline Barth (Theatre Derby, UK) with their lecture “New Voices, new communities” and by Jonathan Goodacre, external guest from “The Audience Agency” (UK), speaking about “The rules of engagement“.
ConnectUp brings together institutions with different orientations to combine their expertise aiming for a new mixed audience in their auditoriums. For working together successfully, it’s essential, that the theatre makers from all over Europe get to know each other. In interviews, conducted by Odette Bereska, ConnectUp’s literary adviser and Merete Elnan, the partners gave an insight into their expertise, work and plans.
Being in Vienna, the participants of the meeting used the chance to see a show at the host’s venue, Dschungel Wien, “Beyond real” by Theater foXXfire! The other Austrian partner, company “Ich bin ok.”, had prepared an introduction to their extraordinary work with the participation of their young dancers especially for that occasion.