The project

Since December 2014, Be SpectACTive! is a large-scale European cooperation project – co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union – which operates in performing arts through artistic productions and participatory practices aimed at involving the citizens and spectators in creative and organizative processes. Its members are European festivals, theatres, cultural organisations, universities and a research center.

What we do?

In the new edition, Be SpectACTive! is a peer-learning network confirming its character of being a production oriented and action research project.
Starting in December 2018, it continues to work on audience engagement, fostering the experimentation in the European arena through the following actions: the production of 15 new theatre and dance shows; the creation of 50 local groups of active spectators involved in co-programming and co-managing activities (1500 participants will select more than 350 shows in 4 years); the European Art Commissioners, a site-specific project connecting 8 local communities with the aim to commission artistic works; 4 European Spectators Day, a community based event connecting citizens through facebook; the implementation of the research project evaluating the different effects of the practices activated and 4 International Conference dedicated to the dissemination.


Be SpectACTive! in its first edition (2014-2018) was a moment of creation of a sense of awareness among the cultural organizations and their citizens/spectators and artists. The second edition (2018-2022) of Be SpectACTive! intends to foster this notion and strongly create creative processes of experimentation across cities and countries in the idea of a more inclusive and trans-cultural Europe and a stronger relationship between citizens and artists across the European continent.

Key word

Key word is audience engagement, a term used to highlight the dimensions of involvement in the arts of the spectators and the citizens. In Be SpectACTive! communities of spectators/citizens play an active role expressing their willing and interests. Taking part in co-programming, co-managing and co-commissioning activities, they are involved in co-creation spaces and in experimentation of new ways of artistic production, with the aim to promote the exchange between artists, professionals, and citizens.

15new theatre and dance shows
50groups of active spectators selecting more than 350 shows in 4 years
8local communities involved in the European Art Commissioners project
4European Spectators Day
4international conferences

live show productions

Be SpectACTive! produces 15 new theatre/dance shows, involving young and innovative European artists or groups that are supported in the entire cycle of production, from the research period to the touring phase. They are divided in small, medium and large productions. The companies/artists involved are carefully chosen through a common assessment expressed by the artistic directors of theatres and festivals of the project. Thanks to the artistic residencies’ programme, the creative process is nourished by the interactions with the local communities, fostering the exchange between artists, spectators and professionals

  • Ultimately, the stylistic method presupposes the existence of a fourth creator in addition to the author, the director, and the actor—namely, the spectator.

    Vsevelod MeyerholdFirst Attempts at a Stylized Theatre, 1907
  • The public is no longer a collection of hypnotized test subjects, but an assembly of interested persons whose demands it must satisfy.

    Walter BenjaminWhat is Epic Theatre? A study on Brecht, 1939
  • We don’t need to turn spectators into actors. We do need to acknowledge that every spectator is already an actor in his own story and that every actor is in turn the spectator of the same kind of story.

    Jacques RanciéreThe Emancipated Spectator, 2008



Co-programming and co-managing activities
Be SpectACTive! improves its participatory way of programming, starting from the creation of about 50 new local groups of active spectators with more than 1.500 active participants in 4 years (including the new groups created by the associated partners). The local groups work all year long to select part of the artistic programming of the different theatre/festival involved in the network. All around Europe people are empowered, their opinions taken into account, their suggestions carefully followed. The result is an average of 4 shows for more than 350 shows selected by the active spectators in 4 years.

The activity of co-programming, in some pilot venues, will be also extended to a proper process of co-managing in which the general management of a festival or a theatre season, can be shadowed by active spectators. The main aim is to experiment new forms of democratic engagement at different organizational levels.


Shows selected by the local group of active spectators for the Czech Dance Platform, Tanec Praha (Czech Republic)

Wednesday 4 April
Creep by Tantehorse/Miřenka Čechová

Thursday 5 April
Let’s Dance! by VerTeDance/Petra Tejnorová a kol.

Saturday 7 April
Enola by Eliška Brtnická, Stanislav Abrahám

Shows selected by the local group of active spectators of Kilowatt Festival, Kilowatt Festival (Italy)

Wednesday 18 July
Il desiderio segreto dei fossili by Francesco D’Amore, Luciana Maniaci

Almost dead-46 ore di felicità by Stefano Scherini e Woody Neri

Beauty without Beast by Carlo Massari

Thursday 19 July
Dove tutto è stato preso by Tamara Bartolini, Michele Baronio

Neve by Giovanni Betto

Heretico by Le vie del fool

Friday 20 July
Il bambino delle orecchie by Teatrodilina

Nessuna pietà per l’arbitro by Mamimò

Meru by Daria Menichetti

DOMINO, Zagreb, Domino (Croatia)

Shows chosen by the group of active spectators within the Perforations Festival:

Igre glasom by Dada Horvat
Zlatna medalja by Vesna Mačković
Jedan ili više vukova by D.B. Indoš

Shows chosen by active spectators within the Sounded bodies festival:

Heroes by John Scott
Oracle by Natascha Nikeprevelic
This is a musical by Karol Tyminski
Micro teatar
Pod staklenim zvonom by Vesna Mačković

VISIONARI, Sansepolcro, Kilowatt Festival (Italy)

The Visionari group of 32 spectators chose these shows for the Kilowatt Festival 2017:

Hallo! I’m Jacket-il gioco del nulla by Dimitri Canessa
Giovanna D’Arco-La Rivolta by Pupilunari/Hermit Crab
Tuttuno by Sa.Ni
Wednesday 19 July

Vedi alla voce Almaby Aparte, Ali per l’Arte
La casa del panda by Compagnia TPO
Animula by Daria Menichetti
Thursday 20 July

Terra Matta by Stefano Panzeri
Soggetto senza titolo by Olimpia Fortuni
The hard way to understand each other by Teatro Presente
Friday 21 July

Shows chosen by the local active spectators, Sibiu International Theatre Festival (Romania)

Aglaja by Reactor Company
Saturday 10 June

Cold by UNTEATRU Theatre
Tuesday 13 June

Machine de cirque by Machine de cirque
Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June

Spring Awakening by Teatrul Mic

Shows chosen by the local active spectators, Tanec Praha (Czech Republic)

Swish by Tereza Hradilková and coll.
Friday 7 April

Saturday 8 April:

L/One of the Seven by ME-SA Andrej Petrovič

Shames by HOLEKTIV

Shows chosen by the local active spectators, Bakelit Multi Art Center (Hungary)

Floating by Ziggurat Project
Polvo/Dust by Otra Danza
Temporaneo Tempobeat by AIEP
Ikutani San by Electro Kagura
Betelgez by Ki Omos Kineitai
Garbage Girls by Gruppo e-Motion
Alleyezon by Gray Box
The life and Times of Ms. Karen Henderson by Maria Naidu

VISIONARI, Sansepolcro, Kilowatt Festival (Italy)

The Visionari group of 24 spectators chose these shows for the Kilowatt Festival 2016:

20 July 2016
Sulla morte senza esagerare by Teatro dei Gordi
Fuori gioco by Proxima Res
One woman cliché show by Ilenia Romano

21 July 2016
Idiota by Compagnia Dionisi / Renata Ciaravino
Clockwork Metaphysics by Coppelia Theatre
Angela By Bottega Lab

22 July 2016
Aestethica – esercizio 1 by Körper
Fàafafine. Mi chiamo Alex e sono un dinosauro by Giuliano Scarpinato
Perfetto indefinito by Dehors / Audela

York, TakeOver Festival, York Theatre Royal (United Kingdom)

12 July 2016
Ringside – Created and performed by Ellie Dubois
The Great Yorkshire Gob-Off – Hosted by Dave Jarman
12 – 13 July 2016
The Beggars of York – Produced by Tiny Window Theatre Company
13 July 2016
Dinosaur Park – Produced by Superbolt Theatre
14 July 2016
The Star Seekers – Produced by The Wardrobe Ensemble
Black – Produced by Le Gateau Chocolat
15 July 2016
Bucket List – Produced by Theatre Ad Infinitum
Memories of Coal – Directed by Charlotte Coles
Tell Me Anything – Produced by On The Run, with Show and Tell
16 July 2016
Boy Meets Girl – Produced by Zest Theatre, Saturday
The Girl Who Fell In Love With The Moon – Produced by The Human Zoo
Captured – Produced by White Slate Theatre Company
Pandora – Directed by Lizzy Whynes
17 July 2016
The Forgetting – Directed by Charlotte Coles
Workshop: Frantic Assembly – Produced by Frantic Assembly

 Sibiu, Sibiu International Thaetre Festival (Romania)
Where 15 active spectators chose these shows:

11June, 2016
Antigone, Genealogy of a Sacrifice – Directed by Bernardo Rey
The Pillowman – Directed by: Eugen Gyemant
13June, 2016 – two performances
The Green Cat – Directed by: Bobi Pricop
14-15 June, 2016
Hallo – A performance by Martin Zimmermann

LIFT Festival, London (UK)
A group of children from two schools in Tottenham are appointed the Official Festival Jury, and are chauffeured to and from festival shows to see the art, take notes, review, critique and vote. Subverting traditional jury structures, the children call the shots, and in their own Award Ceremony tell everybody what they think.

1 – 15 June 2016
The Children’s Choice Awards, Mammalian Diving Reflex

Tanec Praha (Czech Republic)
A group of 11 spectators watched videos and performances and discussed about them in regular meetings. There were 35 applications. At the end of the process spectators voted for the top three to be presented at the Czech Dance Platform 2016.

Wednesday 20 April and Thursday 21 April 2016
Trazmutation by Andrea Miltnerová & Jan Komárek
Friday 22 April 2016
Entropy by Jiří Bartovanec
Sunday 24 April 2016
Gossip by Lenka Vagnerová & Company

Queer Zagreb Festival, Domino (Croatia)

Friday 17 June 2016
Market of Love by Dragana Bulut
Saturday 18 June 2016
Quartet by Raimund Hoghe
The Battle of Neretva by Shadow Casters
Monday 20 June 2016
Lesser evil by BADco
Locomotor/Rainforest by Stephen Petronio
Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 November 2016
Between by Marie Béland
Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 November 2016
Mobile by Jorg Muller
Tuesday 8 November 2016
Intensities by Vesna Mačković

Show chosen by the active spectators of Bakelit Multi Art Center (Hungary)

Body Journal by Kinga Szemessy (HU)

TakeOver Festival, York Theatre Royal (UK)

TakeOver Festival is an annual festival run entirely by 12- to 26-year-olds who programme, prepare and produce a festival of theatre and events. In the last six years, more than 700 young people have been involved in running brilliant and well-received festivals. The shows chosen in 2015 were:

A Journey With Maude – An Interplay Theatre production
Monday 26 October – Sunday 1 November 2015

The Great Train Songery – Created by John Hinton
Monday 26 October – Wednesday 28 October 2015

Ghost Train – An immersive film screening
Monday 26 October 2015

TakeOver Shorts – Scratch night to decide TakeOver 2016 programme
Tuesday 27 October 2015

Phantasmagoria – A HookHitch Theatre production
Thursday 19 October – Saturday 31 October 2015

The Gentleman For Nowhere – A HookHitch Theatre production
Thursday 29 October – Saturday 31 October 2015

Coal in the Garden – Directed by the festival’s Artistic Director Lizzy Whynes
Saturday 24 October,  Sunday 25 October,  Tuesday 27 October,  Thursday 29 October,  Saturday 31 October,  Sunday 1 November 2015

Pigeon Party – A pop-up dance event
Saturday 24 October,  Monday 26 October,  Wednesday 28 October,  Friday 30 October 2015

Train-Spotting (Not the Film) – Spoken-word piece by Henry Raby
Wednesday 28 October and Saturday 31 October 2015

Of Time and the Railway – A film by Robert Davies
Saturday 24 October – Sunday 1 November 2015

Creation Stations (Story Station, Music Station, Shadow Station, Poetry Station, Art Station) – Areas for artists, performers and audience members to get creative
Saturday 24 October – Sunday 1 November 2015

Queer Zagreb Festival, Domino (Croatia)

In 2015, a group of young croatian spectators, discussed and selected 2 performances to be produced by Domino, with the goal of empowering minorities, in Croatia, to live without discrimination. One of the selected performances reflected about the inclusion of the gypsies minority, the other one included members of fan groups talking about homophobia and racism on the sports field. The performances were realized in the main square of Zagreb.

Croatian gypsies, Siniše Labrovića – performance

Football Fans, Bruno Isakovic – performance

Saturday 27th October 2015

> gallery

Horizont očekivanja, Martina Nevistić

DNO (series of performances and workshops)

Selezione Visionari, Sansepolcro, Kilowatt Festival (Italy)

In 2015 the Visionari group was composed by 24 active spectators (different ages and professions). Among 232 proposals, arrived from emerging professional companies, the Visionari chose a total of 9 shows for the Kilowatt Festival 2015. These shows were:

Out, Unterwasser – theatre
L’età proibita. Marguerite Duras, ATIR / Maria Pilar Peréz Aspa – theatre
Banane, Teatrodilina – theatre
Saturday 25 July 2015

Ad alta tensione, Cappellani-Di Rienzo-Fiorelli – dance
Alluvioni, Elena Guerrini – theatre
Su’ddocu, Blitz – theatre
Friday 24 July 2015

Zero (work in progress), Cuenca/Lauro – dance
L’insonne, Lab121 – theatre
Io muoio, tu mangi, – theatre
Thursday 23 July 2015

Tanec Praha (Czech Republic)

A group of 10 spectators watched videos and performances and discuss about them in several meetings. At the end they voted for the top 3 which were presented during the Tanec Festival 2015

Bakkeia Peter Šavel
Wednesday 18 November 2015

M.E.N Edhem Jesenkovic
Tuesday 15 September 2015

SuperNaturals ME-SA/ Martina Hajdyla Lacová, Stano Dobák:
Saturday 20 June 2015

European art commissioners

European Art Commissioners is a site-specific project finalized to create a strong connection between the artists, the professionals and the citizens of local communities through co-commissioning practices. Every year, 2 communities in 2 cities of the network, will work together for commissioning an art piece, that could be a performance/show/exhibition. 8 will be the communities involved (4 art works in 4 years), in the following European cities: Sansepolcro (IT), Zagreb (HR), Sibiu (RO), Prague (CZ), Kortrijk (BE), Wien (AT), Dublin (IE), Nitra (SK).


edition 2022

edition 2021

edition 2020

edition 2019

European Spectators Day - new edition

European Spectators Day is a community based event that connects the local groups of active spectators and the citizens despite the distances and the cultural gaps, through the social media channels. The event takes physically – and simultaneously – place in all the venues of the cultural organisations involved: all the participants are linked through facebook in order for people to connect both offline (in their locations) and online (all together). During the meeting people discuss their experiences as spectators in the performing arts field, starting from common topics.
To enhance the interaction between audiences (professionals, spectators, stakeholders), the European Spectator Day will be commissioned to a digital artist who will elaborate an art format for fostering the meeting between the local groups of spectators.


edition 2022

edition 2021

edition 2020

edition 2019



The research activities aim at a better understanding of how participatory activities impact on the venues and how to enlarge the analysis at regional level. The research team develops the right tools to be shared among artistic partners, to collect not only qualitative data, but also quantitative ones, to understand how the process activated affects the venues, the staff involved, the audiences, the artists. The way of working is Action Research, which should help artistic partners to better understand the impact of their activities and to set valuable KPIs to make the most of the impacts of the process. The research wants to provide a clear analysis of what a participatory approach and an active involvement of spectators imply.

The Audience Agency
Audience Finder


Be SpectACTive! International Conferences:
Each year is held at least a public international conference in which are presented the results of the activities. International experts are invited. The methodology applied by the researchers is disseminated and new organisations, wishing to improve their strategies of active spectatorship, take part in the discussion.


Breaking the Fourth Wall: Proactive Audiences in the Performing Arts

The publication of this book is a collaboration between KUNNSKAPSVERKET, the Be SpectACTive! project, the University of Barcelona and the University of Montpellier. Download the book: Breaking the Fourth Wall: Proactive Audiences in the Performing Arts


Challenging Participation in Performing Arts

Edited by Lluís Bonet, Giada Calvano, Luisella Carnelli, Félix Dupin-Meynard and Emmanuel Négrier. Download the book: Challenging Participation in Performing Arts