The project PASSAGE 23°E intends to develop a lively, European-oriented information and knowledge platform and a vivid exchange of knowledge in order to generate information on current cultural development processes, especially in the field of theatre and theatricality, and to make this information available to a broad cultural public. The project is a cooperation of numerous institutions and individuals from Eastern European countries.
The programmatic project name PASSAGE 23°E is intended to set the project focus on that part of Europe which is essentially marked by the 23rd longitude East between Helsinki and Athens. Along this line of longitude, Europe reaches its largest North-South extension and encompasses spaces of enormous cultural diversity, described by terms such as Eastern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe or Southeastern Europe. The geocultural dimensions of the European development process in these areas have so far received little attention. Above all, developments in theatre and theatricality are little known beyond regional and national borders.
It is precisely the social upheavals in the world, and especially in Europe, which began with the events of the 1980s and 1990s, that have radically changed an entire continent and created a "new Europe", which has undergone geopolitical and economic re-shaping and whose geocultural consequences have so far hardly been reflected on in the long term. In these processes of change, the theatre plays a unique role and function; it is both an actor, seismograph, catalyst and means of social communication as well as a medium exposed to these processes, therefore constantly changing.
The project PASSAGE 23°E considers these sources of cultural wealth, their differences, their historical uniqueness and originality, and aims to create the conditions and possibilities for discovering this "other" Europe and to inscribe them into a common memory in the interest of a multi-layered European identity.
With the indexing and distribution of information and knowledge on the developments of theatre in Central, Central Eastern and Southeastern European states over the last 30 years, the lively exchange of ideas and experience on central artistic, socio- as well as cultural-political, theatrical, theoretical and theatre-historiographical contexts shall be promoted. The project is also concerned with questions of how to deal with concepts such as "Europe","European culture" and questions of the internationality of theatre. In the long term, this is to result in a common information and documentation format for a substantial part of the Central, Central Eastern and Southeastern European theatre culture(s) in their current and historical dimensions, a format for the permanent encounter and discussion of artists, educators, researchers, cultural politicians and journalists, but also of a large part of the interested public.
The project additionally aims to intensify the cooperation between the European Centres of the International Theatre Institute.
Detailed information about the project itself and concerning events in the context of PASSAGE 23°E. Theatre and Theatricality from the Baltic to the Aegean my be found on the project website.