Review of 2023 and what comes next

Review of 2023 and what comes next

2023 was a round birthday for the Berlin Performing Arts Program: we celebrated ten years of intense and successful work in the networking, exchange and empowerment of the independent performing arts in Berlin since the founding of the program in the year 2013.

Our project Performing Arts Made In Berlin came to an end in June.From 2019 until the summer of 2023, we organized countless digital, analog and hybrid events for professionals, including 18 symposia and four Industry Get-Togethers each of which had nearly 500 guests. We worked together with more than 130 cooperation partners and reached approximately 7,000 people per year. Thanks to new funding by Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Community and the European Fund for Region Development (EFRE), we can now pick up where we left off with the project Performing Arts Program - Performing Arts im Fokus (Performing Arts in Focus, PAP-PAFO) and continue to offer our tried-and-true formats as well as set new points of focus. And so, through the summer of 2026, we will continue to increase the (inter)national presence of Berlin productions through delegation trips and trade fair stands. With the Berlin Performing Arts Market, Berlin will also receive its own trade fair for dance and theater. Thanks to cultural mediation, audience research and target-group specific marketing, we will continue to develop new groups of audience for the independent performing arts community and we will also place a new focus on community and neighborhood projects and a Berlin Stage Month.

The project Performing Arts Program - Neue Wege (New Paths) came to an end in 2023 with more than 760 participants, 15 mentoring tandems and over 6,800 advisement and qualifications hours in 22 months. Over 40 experts conducted advisement session in up to 13 languages and provided practical knowledge about topics such as project development, funding opportunities, distribution, social media, legal and tax questions and much more in workshops. Thanks to the funding provided by Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Community and the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), the new project PAP – BECOME Zukunftsfähig und resilient in den freien darstellenden Künsten (Fit For the Future and Resilient in the Independent Performing Arts) was able to follow directly in October - we are very pleased that we will be able to stand at the community’s side, offering empowerment and support through the fall of 2025.

The eighth edition of the Berlin Performing Arts Festival celebrated a successful iteration from May 30 to June 4, 2023 under the topic of bodies under tension. We experienced a successful festival week with a diverse artistic program and numerous visitors, funded by Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Community. The future of the festival is uncertain as of 2024 - and the organizing association LAFT Berlin as well as numerous partners have already clearly formulated how important an annual, citywide festival of the independent performing arts is. We thank all of the participants for their excellent dedications and are inspired by the special moments and good memories that this festival has given us and which we continue to enjoy today.

In 2023, the model project FAIRSTAGE, a participatory forum composed of representatives from institutions and associations developed a recommendation paper on the topic of finding institutional leadership. In our new participatory forum, we are currently discussing the topic of “participatory processes in practice”. In addition, alongside specific further education opportunities, the FAIRSTAGE fellowship program has been launched, which focuses on supporting the representations of marginalized people in cultural policy. Five fellows are currently learning how things work in organizations that are active in the field of cultural policy. Next year, FAIRSTAGE will start with the hybrid conference Wir sind auf dem Weg (We’re On Our Way), which will take place on January 26 and 27, 2024. You are warmly invited to attend!

The project organizer, LAFT Berlin, is also looking back on a year of intense work as an association. The association has continued to grow and now has over 500 members - including Berlin’s essential performance venues, groups and individual artists. This year, amongst other topics, the focus of the cultural policy engagement was placed on the funding situation following the COVID-19 pandemic, the negotiations for Berlin’s 2024/2025 budget, the discussion surrounding the new district-based funding for children’s and youth theater as well as the founding of the Berliner Kulturkonferenz, the Berlin Culture Conference.