“Cultural activities have undergone a shift from production to or for the audiences to creation with audiences”.
(from “The Art of With” by Charles Leadbeater, 2009)
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.
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 through a program of 68 artistic residencies in the cities of the network; 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 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.