The history of Europe - told by its theatres


We live in Europe, and it is therefore our task to make this part of the world work, in a peaceful way and for the best of all people living here. To achieve this, we have to cooperate across borders, because only together we can solve the challenges we are facing together. For this, institutions are necessary that make cooperation possible on a permanent basis. For this, it is necessary to jointly create an idea of how Europe shall develop now and in the future. For this, it is necessary to remember where we come from – to remember our common history in Europe.

For this, the touring exhibition The history of Europe – told by its theatres proposes an original starting point: our theatres. And this is not a coincidence. Since the first ancient civilisation developed in Europe 2500 years ago, the history of Europe has also been the history of its theatre. For 2500 years, theatre performances have been reflecting our present, past and possible future. For the performances, this special form of a joint experience and of joint reflection, the Europeans have developed special buildings that in turn mirror the development of society. And thus today we find theatre buildings from many eras everywhere in Europe. They tell us local history and our common European history in their very own way and, at the same time, they ask about our future.

The exhibition does not present our history in chronological order, but focuses on a few overall topics that are important to all Europeans alike. Obviously, the history of Europe is not told completely in this way. The aim is offering the visitors many inspirations that they can elaborate on themselves.

At the same time, the exhibition is a wonderful example of European cooperation: theatre museums from six countries have developed it together, as part of a bigger cultural project encompassing all of Europe: the European Route of Historic Theatres. I am happy that the European Union through its Culture Programme is supporting this interesting exhibition and the European Route of Historic Theatres, and wish both of them great success.

Jean-Claude Juncker
President of the European Commission


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