The project

Be SpectACTive! is a European project based on audience development, involving some of the most innovative European organizations working on active spectatorship in contemporary performing arts. Its members are European festivals, theatres, universities and a research center.


What we do?

Be SpectACTive! aims to strengthen audience engagement with artistic creation and with cultural organizations. Its main means of action will be 21 new theatre and dance shows, 54 creative residencies, 30 workshops (with 1.000 local spectators who will choose and programme 108 shows), 4 international conferences and a constant online interaction between artists and web-users. But Be SpectACTive! is also a research project: it will accompany all the previous areas of action in order to evaluate their impact and effectiveness.


In an age of personalization and ubiquitous interactive platforms – where audiences increasingly demand active participation in culture rather than passive consumption – BeSpectACTive! will enable European arts organizations to explore new models and concepts of participation, accessibility, interaction and social cohesion. It focuses on the interaction between cultural activities and new concepts of citizenship and legitimacy, including the most advanced theories of participatory governance.

Key word

The key word is active spectatorship. It refers to each mechanism through which audiences, namely spectators or citizens, take on the role of decision makers with regard to the many aspects needed to carry out a theatre or dance festival. The project aims to give the audience a decision-making role, providing spectators with individual responsibilities in a common space of creation.

21new theatre and dance shows
54creative residencies
1000local spectators who will choose and programme 108 shows
4international conferences



15 – 25 June 2017 Zagreb, Domino
9 – 17 December 2016 York, York Theatre Royal

20 – 26 November 2016 Zagreb, Domino
5 – 13 November 2016 Sansepolcro, Teatro della Misericordia

6 – 13 November Zagreb, Domino
12 – 19 September Prague, Ponec Theatre

3 – 13 November Budapest, Bakelit Multi Art Center
4 – 10 October London, LIFT
17 – 24 July Sansepolcro, Teatro della Misericordia

9 – 20 November Budapest, Bakelit Multi Art Center
23 October – 2 November York, York Theatre Royal
7 – 17 June Zagreb, Domino

6 – 21 March 2016 Ljubljana, Plesni Theater
7 – 22 February 2016 Budapest, Bakelit Multi Art Center
4 – 15 January 2016 Prague, Divadlo Ponec

9 – 16 February 2016 Ljubljana, Plesni Theatre
17 – 27 January 2016 York, York Theatre Royal

2 – 15 December 2015 Sibiu, Teatrul National Radu Stanca
20 November – 1 December 2015 Pargue, Divadlo Ponec
6 – 18 November 2015 Ljubljana, Plesni Theatre

5 – 23 January 2016, Sibiu, Teatrul National Radu Stanca
4 – 13 November 2015 Sansepolcro, Teatro alla Misericordia
1 – 10 September 2015 York, York Theatre Royal

11 – 17 July 2015, Divadlo PONEC, Prague
5 – 10 July 2015 London, LIFT
25 – 29 May 2015 London, LIFT

10 – 20 July 2015 Sansepolcro, Teatro alla Misericordia
15 – 29 June 2015 Zagreb, Domino
10 – 23 May 2015 Budapest, Bakelit Multi Art Center

6 -11 April 2015 Sansepolcro, Teatro alla Misericordia
29 March – 4 April 2015 Sibiu, Teatrul National Radu Stanca

19 September, Prague, Ponec Theatre

11, 12 and 13, Budapest , Bakelit Multi Art Center
11, 12 October 2016, London, LIFT
20, 21 and 22 July 2016, Sansepolcro, Kilowatt Festival

19 November 2016, Budapest, Bakelit Multi Art Center
1 November 2016, York, York Theatre Royal

19 April 2016, Prague, Divadlo Ponec
20 March 2016, Ljubljana, Dance Theatre

31 may, 1 and 2 June 2016, Wien, Wiener Festwochen
26 January 2016, Sibiu, Teatrul National Radu Stanca

15 December 2015, Sibiu, Teatrul National Radu Stanca

16 and 17 December 2015, Museum of contemporary arts, Zagreb
19 July 2015, Sansepolcro, Kilowatt Festival

21 September 2015, Ljubljana, Dance Theatre
16 September 2015, Prague, Divadlo Ponec
19 July 2015, Sansepolcro, Kilowatt Festival
20 June 2015, Sibiu, Festivalul International de Teatru de la Sibiu,

Be SpecACTive! 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.

18.04.2016 BeSpectACTive! conference at European Culture Forum 2016, Brussels (Belgium)

“Audience Development: engagement is key, but where are the doors? – Challenges, dreams and limits in activating people in cultural participation” 
see the programme

The event will be a unique opportunity to share results, suggestions and challenges in audience development; an opportunity to meet professionals, practitioners and cultural organizations in order to discuss the ways in which a more participatory approach from the public may enrich performing arts and their programming all over Europe.

21-22.07.2015 “Be SpectACTive! 1st International Conference”, organized by Be SpectACTive! and Kilowatt Festival, in Sansepolcro (Italy)

see the programme

22-23.11. 2016 “Be SpectACTive! Third International conference”, organized by Be SpectACTive! and University of Barcelona, Barcelona (Spain)
see the programme

2017 – Sibiu
2018 – York

News and other events on active spectatorship and audience engagement:

21.10.2016 Luca Ricci interventions at “Festival dello Spettatore”, organized by Rete Teatrale Aretina, Arezzo (Italy)

18.04.2016 Be SpectACTive! conference at European Culture Forum, KVS, Brussels (Belgium): “Audience Development: engagement is key, but where are the doors? – Challenges, dreams and limits in activating people in cultural participation”

06.04.2016 Luca Ricci interventions at “Target Audience”, organized by Creative Europe Desk Estonia, in Tallinn

31.03 – 03. 04 2016 Yvona Kreuzmannovà and Lluis Bonet interventions at Edn Conference: “How to make dance relevant? Examples and practice”, Olot (Spain)

11.01.2016 Fondazione Fitzcarraldo together with Culture Action Europe (Belgium), ECCOM Progetti srl (Rome), Intercult Productions Ek. For. (Sweden) won the call for tender “Study on audience development – How to place audiences at the centre of cultural organizations”

18 – 22.11.2015 Giuliana Ciancio lecture at “Lezione Non Riservate” organized by Non Riservato, Milano (Italy)

19.11.2015 Luca Ricci and Luisella Carnelli interventions at “Pensieri dal vivo”, organized by Concetrica Festival, Torino (Italy)

08.10.2015 Alessandro Bollo and Luca Ricci interventions at “Audience Engagement: dalle parole ai fatti”, organized by Fattidicultura, in Mantova (Italy)

24-25.09.2015 Giuliana Ciancio intervention at “Research for Audience Engagement”, organized by Theatron, in Uppsala (Sweden)

21.09.2015 Žaneta Statevska conducting “Be SpectACTive! Predstavitev evropskega projekta, poprtega s strain Evropske komisije za obdobje 2014-2018”, organized by B-51, in Ljubljana (Slovenia)

16.07.2015 Giuliana Ciancio intervention at “Creative Europe: Audience Development”, organized by Fondazione CRT, in Torino (Italy)

25.04.2015 Luca Ricci intervention at “IETM Showroom”, organized by IETM, in Bergamo (Italy)

24.04.2015 Luca Ricci intervention at “Reconnecting with the audience part One”, organized by IETM, in Bergamo (Italy)




A local group of spectators has been created in every city of the network: they will work all year long to select part of the programming of different theatre/festival. All around Europe people have been empowered, their opinions taken into account, their suggestions carefully followed. In this project, there are not “educational” activities, where some experts are teaching the audience what a good piece of art is made of, there are not even community art actions: the project is instead a peer exchange, where everyone (audience, professionals, artists) actively learns, listening the others. Look at the list of the shows chosen by spectators.


VISIONARI, Sansepolcro, Kilowatt Festival (Italy)

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

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

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

Aestethicaesercizio 1 by Körper
Fa’afafine. Mi chiamo Alex e sono un dinosauro by Giuliano Scarpinato
Perfetto indefinito by Dehors / Audela
22 July 2016

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

Ringside – Created and performed by Ellie Dubois
12 July 2016

The Beggars of York – Produced by Tiny Window Theatre Company
12 – 13 July 2016

Dinosaur Park – Produced by Superbolt Theatre, Wednesday
13 July 2016

The Star Seekers – Produced by The Wardrobe Ensemble
14 July 2016

Black – Produced by Le Gateau Chocolat
14 July 2016

Bucket List – Produced by Theatre Ad Infinitum
15 July 2016

Memories of Coal – Directed by Charlotte Coles
15 July 2016

Tell Me Anything – Produced by On The Run, with Show and Tell
15 July 2016

Boy Meets Girl – Produced by Zest Theatre, Saturday
16 July 2016

The Girl Who Fell In Love With The Moon – Produced by The Human Zoo
16 July 2016

Captured – Produced by White Slate Theatre Company
16 July 2016

Pandora – Directed by Lizzy Whynes
16 July 2016

The Forgetting – Directed by Charlotte Coles
17 July 2016

The Great Yorkshire Gob-Off – Hosted by Dave Jarman
12 July 2016

Workshop: Frantic Assembly – Produced by Frantic Assembly
17 July 2016

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

Antigone, Genealogy of a Sacrifice – Directed by Bernardo Rey
11June, 2016

The Green Cat – Directed by: Bobi Pricop
13June, 2016 – two performances

The Pillowman – Directed by: Eugen Gyemant
11 June, 2016

Hallo – A performance by Martin Zimmermann
14-15 June, 2016

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.

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

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.

Gossip Lenka Vagnerová & Company
Sunday 24 April 2016

Entropy Jiří Bartovanec
Friday 22 April 2016

Trazmutation Andrea Miltnerová & Jan Komárek
Wednesday 20 April and Thursday 21 April 2016

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

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

live show productions

Be SpectACTive! will produce 12 new theatre and dance shows which will come to life through a relationship with the audience. The 12 companies involved will be carefully chosen through a common assessment process expressed by the artistic directors of theatres and festivals partners to the project. Three creative residencies (in three different countries) will be given to each company. The creative residencies will be crucial for the relation with local audiences and for the artists to get in contact with different cultural contexts. Artists will open their rehearsals to groups of local spectators and listen to their impressions.

online show productions / Interactive platform

Thanks to this platform, the artists present and discuss their creative research with the audience, using cross-media files such as texts, images, videos and music. 9 new dance projects will be produced. Each choreographer and his/her dancers will have 2 residences, in 2 different theatres in Europe. During each residency, the choreographer and the dancers will work together with a local filmmaker, who will make the shooting and the video-editing of their work.
Click below on the name of the artists, look their creative work and interact with them!

Michal Zahora bespectactive


During the residency program he will explore the phenomenon of correspondence based on the personal experiences of the participants. Stories, situations, topics and interpersonal relationships will be the basis for improvisation and theatrical form. Zahora and the participants will explore the journey from concrete and fully illustrative expression to an abstract one, leading to a more general meaning.

Cities of residency: Sibiu, Sansepolcro, Prague


DAN CANHAM (UK) – (2015-2016)

Dan’s practice of choreographic storytelling is meticulous, featuring audio scores comprised of interview audio clips overlaid with textured sound. The sounds correlate with the interviews and articulate Dan’s choreography. Dan Canham will undergo a process of R&D in each host city to build performance material, in the documentary dance-theatre style that Dan has become renowned for.

Cities of residency: London, Praha



“The image I have of this work is a continuous phrasing of dance performed by the two dancers moving in and out from the two exits of the backdrop. It is a dance which places the dancers in a constant crossing the stage rather than “staying” on the stage. I consider the Time as a measurable order: individual events follow one to another and are related to one another.” Claudia Catarzi

Cities of residency: Ljubljana, York

csaba main

Csaba Molnar (HU) – THE OX (2016)

An investigation about transformation of trust in a relationship between two individuals.  The relationship between professional and customer, two complete strangers who need to work together in a small scale environment, face to face, body to body – like doctors, hairdressers, masseurs, dancers etc. What is happening when the trust between them is broken? In the moment when clarity becomes slightly obscured, get ambiguous, when trust is broken and one becomes vulnerable, discriminated?

Cities of residency: Prague, Zagreb


Tereza Hradilková (CZ), Einat Ganz (IL), Klára Alexová (CZ) – Otherlands (2016)
Three authors, three women, three different countries: Czech Republic, Netherlands and Israel. How would the experience of being a woman today differ from place to place?
How varied is the confession of interviewed women of different age, profession, nationality and social condition?

Cities of residency: Sansepolcro, Zagreb



The research will focus on the concept of active spectatorship, investigating the multiple impacts stemming from the participative methodologies used. The 4 years length of the project allows to develop and implement a multidimensional evaluative approach, mainly qualitative. Its aim will be to assess how and to what extent active spectatorship has an impact, in terms of stimulating audience development and diversification, improving the relationship quality, reinforcing audience’s commitment to the organizations and enhancing its capacities to understand the creative process. The research project will also analyze how active spectatorship modifies and affects the modus operandi of the professionals during their artistic creation and how it can influence the programming of artistic organizations.

  • 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