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The IOTF: The International Online Theatre Festival, Future Directions: R3, showcased 33 global productions made and/or captured during the lockdown as artists, theatres and audiences adapted to the challenges of making work during the pandemic. As the move to digital spaces has shaped all our lives the possibilities of using this new online ‘space’ to engage audiences as ideas of the ‘live’ are refashioned. All the work in this year’s festival – from Chile’s Reminiscencia and the US/Russian chekhovOS /an experimental game/, to the UK’s A Feast in the Time of Plague and Ukraine’s Viňo – forged a path to the redefinition, reimagining and Renaissance of 21st-century theatre.


May 20, 2021 – June 4, 2021

Future Directions: R3

the redefinition, reimagining, and Renaissance of 21st-century theatre

The 2021 festival, Future Directions: R3, was divided into three sections. Redefining Theatre, Drama Schools Imagine, and Renaissance: Five-Minute Windows, which inaugurated a new collaboration with the European Theatre Convention.

Redefining Theatre included productions from nine countries from South Africa to South Korea. While different in style and tone, these productions are united by a common desire to explore the limits of lockdown-created theatre, whether through the use of innovative Zoom techniques, socially distanced recording(s), physical and musical engagement, or the blurring of cross-disciplinary boundaries.

Drama Schools Reimagine looked at work created by training institutions across the globe, exploring how the artists of tomorrow use the languages of this present moment to envisage the future of theatre.

In association with the European Theatre Convention, Renaissance: Five-minute Windows, provided a lens into projects realized by some of Europe’s leading theatres. The featured selection of 10 works from ETC’s ‘Renaissance’ project — a collection of 22 pieces screening on the ETC website until 4 June — spoke to our theme of Future Directions.

The IOTF is a celebration of innovative global theatre artists working in diverse mediums and styles. Previous editions have included the work of acclaimed companies and theatres  as well as new, emerging artists just launching their careers. is an open-access global theatre portal. Since its launch in November 2016, has published over 4,300 articles and theatre reviews covering theatre in 90 countries and regions. With 30 thematic sections, more than 150 Regional Managing Editors, over 60 media partners around the world, and 60,000+ followers on social media, we have grown to be the most far-reaching and comprehensive global theatre portal today.


Maria Delgado

Maria Delgado

Executive Director of IOTF Professor at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London

Xunnan Li

Xunnan Li

Artistic Director of IOTF Doctoral candidate at Royal Holloway University of London

Alma Prelec

Alma Prelec

Artistic Director of IOTF Doctoral candidate at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London

Gabriel Vivas-Martínez

Gabriel Vivas-Martínez

Artistic Director of IOTF Doctoral candidate at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London

Magda Romanska

Magda Romanska

Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief of

Kasia Lech

Kasia Lech

Executive Director and Director of Research and Global Initiatives at


The International Online Theatre Festival

May 20 – June 5, 2021

Waiting for Godot
Waiting for Godot

In Wang’s online version of “Waiting for Godot,” Estragon and Vladimir are two people separated by the pandemic. Covid-19 loomed large in the production. Members of the cast and the production team were scattered in various cities in China, including the epicenter of the pandemic, Wuhan, which was still in hard lockdown. The online theater piece was live-performed and live-streamed in April 2020, drawing a record-breaking 290,000 audience to the single performance.

Insulted. Belarus.
Insulted. Belarus.

“Insulted. Belarus” draws from the controversy surrounding Alexander Lukashenko’s highly contested presidential victory in August 2020 against opponent Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya. Statements by Lukashenko and Tikhanovskaya are here interwoven with the interjections of fictional characters, portraying how citizens from all walks of life imagine the future of Belarusian society.


Polish seminal Romantic verse drama “Balladyna” by Juliusz Słowacki is a starting point for creating an innovative story about how technology intertwines with loneliness, fear, obsession, love, and murder in the times of global isolation. EIGHT DAYS ONLY! MAY 24-31


Through the delicate use of Zoom, Google Earth, and other digital tools, the author invites the viewer to discover a geographical and personal topography of Santiago. Embracing aspects of memory, territory, and emotion, “Reminiscencia” shows the power of theatre to bring people closer at a time where distance and digital presence no longer seem that far apart. SEVEN DAYS ONLY! MAY 24-30


“Viño” is a Ukrainian physical theatre production that visualizes our ‘almighty’ bodies getting wasted and lost between the realistic and the imagined. Think of a slightly drunken moment during lockdown and you might get close to the spirit of this imaginative piece. THREE DAYS ONLY! MAY 27-29

Book of Magdalene
Book of Magdalene

Loneliness and disconnection from the natural world are key themes in this poetic piece by Obie-award winning playwright Caridad Svich. Staged with deft minimalism by Amelia Rico, the play re-imagines the Biblical Magdalene as a young sex-worker facing loss, grief, and a desire to transcend reality.


Two strangers wake up in the same house. They only remember fragments of the night before. They need each other to put together this great puzzle of feelings and memories. This experience was conceived during the Covid-19 quarantine, in São Paulo, Brazil, while the artists were isolated in their homes. Adaptation of the theatrical text, “The Story of Panda Bears (told by a saxophonist who has a girlfriend in Frankfurt).”


Borderline is a theatrical piece that began with the research of German theater critic and playwright Jürgen Berger. Traveling between Germany, Thailand, and Korea over the past few years, Berger met people who were looking for a new place to settle down, away from their familiar homes. He conducted interviews in diverse forms and wrote a text based on them. ONE DAY ONLY! JUNE 1, 2-8 PM EST


Hoxton Hall (2020), U.K. 

A young woman deals with the consequences of breaking with external expectations as she forges her own path.

Guildhall School of Music and Drama. UK. BA (Hons) Acting. Created and Performed by Aoife Gaston. Videographer and Editor: Daisy Gaston & Joyce Nicholls. Composer: Xexa.

Newlands (2020), U.K.

With more than a touch of humour, Newlands re-imagines our ever-increasing dependency on the internet.

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. Directed by Leemore Marrett Jr, produced by Amanda Brennan and written by Alisa Bailey, featuring MA Acting for Screen students.

Cada día, todos los días (2021), Chile

An experimental piece exploring creative possibilities in connection to nature as site-specific performance.

Escuela de Teatro UC. Directed by Álvaro Pizarro, featuring Devenir Colectivo.

AntigoneNOW (2021), U.S.A.

Antigones form a powerful chorus against a plague’s restrictions and impossibilities.

UC Davis Department of Theater and Dance. Directed by Margaret Laurena Kemp and Sinéad Rushe, featuring and created with UC Davis students. SHOWING May 24 – May 28.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2021), Canada

No more yielding but a dream… On Zoom…

The Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies (CDTPS) University of Toronto. Directed by Dylan Trowbridge and Graham Abbey.

The Comedy of Errors (2020), Ireland

Shakespearean drama reimagined on streets of Dublin… But on Zoom!

The Lir Academy. Directed by Mikel Murfi, performed by the 2020 final year acting students.

Wrocław. Escape Room (2021), Poland

The world has ended but there is still life… Let’s play in a game called theatre!

National Academy of Theatre Arts, Puppetry Department in Wrocław. Written by Piotr Rowicki. Directed by Arkadiusz Buszko. SHOWING May 21-23

Homesick (2021), Singapore 

As pandemics spread, secrets in the family are revealed.

LASALLE College of the Arts. Written by Alfian Sa’at and directed by Peter Zazzali. Featuring Level-2 students from BA (Hons) Acting in collaboration with students from Diploma in Theatre Production and Management and Diploma in Audio Production.

Baccarat by The German Romantics (2020), Australia

Time for a game of Baccarat! Do we have to wear a face mask?  Yes or no…

University of Melbourne. Victorian College of the Arts, Australia. Co-devised by The German Romantics, featuring graduate BFA Theatre Co’20 students and VCA School of Production students

The Cecil Hotel (2021), Canada

Violence, murder, and supernatural meet in the series of podplays set in Los Angeles.

The joint Theatre and Drama Studies program at Sheridan College and the University of Toronto Mississauga (TDS). Written by David Yee, directed by Nina Lee Aquino, featuring students from the 2021 graduating class.

Love Songs (2020-2021), U.S.A.

This is something shiny something only for you .

Yale School of Drama (YSD). Co-curated by Lily Haje & Madeline Pages, with contributions from over 40 interdisciplinary artists.

Renaissance: Five-minute Windows

HNK Croatian National Theatre (Croatia). A kaleidoscope of images presenting theatre’s re-birth in these uncertain times. PLAYING ON 28 MAY 2021.
Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (Luxembourg). Filippo Brunelleschi’s 1425 experiment on perspective here provides a catalyst for re-imagining theatre.
Teatru Malta (Malta). A young girl’s magical adventure relating to the Renaissance through the stone streets of Malta. PLAYING ON 24 MAY 2021.
Göteborgs Stadsteater – Backa Teater (Sweden).  How can we make the theatre great again? PLAYING ON 04 JUN 2021.
JK Opole Theatre. Poland. The theatre transforms into a land of possibilities, even if this land may temporarily appear a space of ’suspension’. PLAYING ON 29 MAY 2021.
Teatro Stabile di Torino (Italy).  Is the pandemic an opportunity to die or to be reborn? PLAYING ON MAY 2021.
Staatsschauspiel Dresden (Germany).  “You write, we play”: Do Instagram comments work as play-texts?
Volkstheater Wien (Austria) Three solitary figures ask themselves: has the world’s theatre been lost? Old times dissolve, new ones begin.  PLAYING ON 03 JUN 2021.
CCA Dakh. Ukraine A futuristic response to the idea of Renaissance mixing Shakespeare, new texts, and music from DakhaBrakha band. PLAYING ON 19 MAY 2021.
Národní divadlo – National Theatre Prague (Czech Republic). A man’s search for the heart of theatre leads to a renewed sense of purpose.



LIVE! MAY 24, 12 pm EST | 5 pm CET – REGISTER HERE!

Multilingual Theatre in the Age of Pandemic

LIVE! JUNE 2, 12:30 pm EST | 5:30 pm CET – REGISTER HERE!

Drama Schools Reimagine: Panel on Theatre Futures

LIVE! JUNE 4, 8 am EST | 1:00 pm CET – REGISTER HERE!

Transmedia & Adaptation

Directing Under Covid

Bodies, Space, Performance

Multilingual Theatre

European Theatre Convention

Drama Schools Reimagine


Yizhou Zhang, Allison Taaffe, Nuria Alkorta, Kee-Yoon Nahm, Walter Byongsok Chon, Daniele Avila Small, Mercè Saumell, Dan Hetherington, Elaine Henry, Kate Pitt, Marlena Lukasiak from Polish Cultural Institute in London, Bernadette Cochrane, Yizhou Huang, Alyson Campbell, Joanna Crawley, Leanetse Seekoe, Monika Kwaśniewska, Allison Newey, metaLAB at Harvard, and to all the artists and companies who generously shared work for us to view and consider.


This post was written by The Theatre Times.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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