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IOTF: International Online Theatre Festival 2023 showcased 39 shows from 23 countries, across all six continents. Their range of artistic approaches and social concerns was astounding. We encouraged audiences to journey freely through their worlds and worldviews.  


April 17-April 30


2023 festival theme, Theatre and Its Others, honored the human, animal, and machine interdependencies of theatre practices, as well as tested cultural, social, political, and economic acts of “Othering.” A contemporary moment marked by wars, health crises, and ecological collapse calls us to care for our shared materiality and environments. This year’s festival strived to showcase the alterities and the marginalized.  Building on our ethos of pluralism and decolonization, IOTF’s shared curatorship across the network of The Theatre Times Regional Editors fostering a greater representation of the wealth of global theater practices.

Thanks to this group of global curators and international artists, who presented their work pro bono, IOTF 2023 was able to offer high-quality theatre performances to groups typically excluded from theatre experience: the disabled, the elderly, the clinically vulnerable,  the homebound,  the culturally and economically marginalized, and geographically distant. ​

Among many shows, this year’s highlights included productions of The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, Other People by Dorota Maslowska, and A Play for the Living in the Time of Extinction by Miranda Rose Hall, and well-known theater companies like Arlekin Players, Greenpig, La Phármaco, The Royal Court Theater, The Workshop Theatre, Hotel Europa, ProEnglish Theatre, Theatre Barakah, Paroxa, The Center for Less Good Idea, and NTGent. 

IOTF 2023 was presented in partnership with the European Theatre Convention,, and metaLAB (at) Harvard.


The IOTF: International Online Theatre Festival is a yearly 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. IOTF 2021 showcased 33 shows from 24 countries. IOTF 2020 showed 42 shows from 16 countries. IOTF 2019 showcased 26 shows from 10 countries. showcased 42 shows from 16 countries. In total, over 1 million people participated in all three editions. is an open-access global theatre portal. Since its launch in November 2016, has published over 5,000 articles and theatre reviews covering theatre in 90 countries and regions. With 32 thematic sections, more than 150 Regional Managing Editors, and over 60 media partners around the world,  we have grown to be the most far-reaching and comprehensive global theatre portal today.


The International Online Theatre Festival

April  17 – April 30, 2023

History of Ukraine
History of Ukraine

This devised and documentary production was created by Ukrainian refugee actors in Poland after they had to leave Ukraine following the full-scale invasion of February 24th. It is about the war that started before February 24th. It is about the war being impossible to...


STAGES (Sustainable Theatre Alliance for a Green Environmental Shift) is an ambitious theatre experiment aiming to challenge how the cultural sector interacts with the concept of sustainability.14 influential theatre organizations, including a leading European theatre network, a theatre partner from Asia, and partners in academia, have joined together with director Katie Mitchell and choreographer Jérôme Bel – two artists that are renowned for embedding sustainability in their work – to test radical solutions to the biggest challenges posed by the climate crisis.

IOTF 2023 worked with the European Theater Convention to bring to online audiences five STAGES productions from theaters around the world of Miranda Rose Hall’s A Play for the Living in A Time of Extinction (2020).

First staged within this project by the British director Katie Mitchell at Théâtre Vidy Lausanne in Switzerland, this play is a purposeful eco-feminist monologue by Miranda Rose Hall that reflects on our responsibilities and means of action in the face of ecological disaster. The production has been taken on as an experiment in sustainable touring by theaters in Belgium, Croatia, Italy, Denmark, and Taiwan.

The supercut video above includes clips from all productions and further lays out the stakes of the project. It presents an overview of the ‘restaging’ process and offers insights into how sustainability can be integrated in the theatre, both in its content and production process.

A panel discussion (accessible below through the panels section) between key members from the various theaters explores the fascinating premises and concepts of the project around the issues of sustainability, touring, and what the theater can do in the midst of a climate crisis.

A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction

Directed by Katie Mitchell, Written by Miranda Rose Hall, Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne (2021), Switzerland

A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction

Directed by Anica Tomić, Written by Miranda Rose Hall,  Croatian National Theater in Zagreb (2022), Croatia

A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction

Directed by Hsin-I Lin, Written by Miranda Rose Hall, NTCH Taipei (2022), Taiwan

A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction

Directed by Collectif Mensuel, Written by Miranda Rose Hall, Théâtre de Liège (2021), Belgium

A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction

Directed by Martha Balthazar , Written by Miranda Rose Hall, NTGent (2022), Belgium


IOTF 2023 also offered a series of talks and online events related to the screenings, including panels and post-show talkbacks with the artists. Through a range of auxiliary events, we aimed to contextualize local works nested within particular cultures for a global, international audience.


STAGES: Sustainable Theatre Experiments  

April 26, 2023  – 08:00 am EST / 14:00 pm CET

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The panel discusses the STAGES project as a model of sustainable practices within the theater. The panelists reflect on creative processes, experiments in staging and working practices, and engagements with local institutions and audiences. They interrogate the meaning of “sustainability” within the theater, the nature of the collaboration between artists and scientists, and the potential visions for the future role of theater in the context of the climate crisis.

Hosted by Ilinca Todorut, Executive Director of IOTF, Faculty of Theater and Film within Babeș-Bolyai University in Romania


Anica Tomić, Theater Director associated with the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, Croatia

Serge Rangoni, Artistic Director and General Manager of Théâtre de Liège, Belgium

Gin Huang, Producer at National Theater and Concert Hall, Taipei, Taiwan

Tristan Pannatier, Producer at Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne, Switzerland

Eugenio Morello, Associate Professor in Urban Planning and Design at Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Narrating Communism-Capitalism Transformation in Contemporary Polish Theatre

April 24, 2023 – 3 pm EST / 21:00 pm CET

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The panelists discuss how Polish theatre narrated the 1989 Polish transformation in recent years, allowing new and marginalized perspectives to reflect on the events. The panel is a collaboration between the Amsterdam School of Historical Studies at the University of Amsterdam and Between.Pomiędzy Research Group at the University of Gdańsk.

Hosted by Kasia Lech, Executive Director of, Associate Professor Global Performance History, the University of Amsterdam


Ewa Bal, Performance Studies Professor at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland

Maciej Gorczyński, Theatre Director, Inni Ludzie (Other People) by Dorota Masłowska, Teatr Barakah, Poland

Tomasz Wiśniewski, Performing Arts Studies Professor at the University of Gdańsk, Poland


Opera and Othering

April 26,  2023 – 2 pm EST / 18:00 pm CET

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The panel explores othering in relation to the opera, thinking about how opera both others and is othered, and what strategies may counter it. The focus – and the pretext for the discussion – is the Poznań Opera’s Jawnuta – based on a very little-known work by Stanisław Moniuszko – which is a story about the Polish Roma. The panelists also reflect on the work by OperaVision, an open-access opera streaming platform.

Hosted by Kasia Lech, Executive Director of, Associate Professor Global Performance History, University of Amsterdam


Luke O’Shaughnessy, Manager of OperaVision, Belgium

Renata Borowska-Juszczyńska, General Director of the Poznań Opera, Poland

Tell Everyone | Just Tell No One Amplifying the critical voices of Ukrainian Playwrights in a Time of War

April 29, 2023 – 2:15 pm EST / 18:15 pm CET

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This panel focuses on the show, Just Tell No One, and broader questions of theatre in a time of war. Just Tell No One reveals the human consequences of war. This site-specific, multimedia show immerses the audience in these human stories and images of conflict so exquisitely painful they can no longer be perceived as real. It’s intimate, tender, brutal, and darkly funny, illuminating a part of the world where an incomprehensible set of rules is at play, and people struggle to make sense of the complexity of one another with life and death consequences.

Hosted by Philip Arnoult, Founder & Director, Center for International Theatre Development (CITD)

John Freedman, Director of Worldwide Ukrainian Play Readings, a project of the Center for International Theatre Development (CITD).

Igor Golyak, Artistic Director, Arlekin Players Theatre and (zero-G) Virtual Theatre Lab; Director, Just Tell No One.

Oksana Savchenko, Ukrainian Playwright, Member of the Theatre of Playwrights, Kyiv; Author of Just Tell No One, an excerpt from the full-length play Night Devours Morning, which was translated by John Freedman.

Natal’ya Vorozhbit, Ukrainian Playwright, Member of the Theatre of Playwrights, Kyiv; Author of Bad Roads, translated by Sasha Dugsdale, and Three Rendezvous, translated by John Freedman with Natalia Bratus.

Produced by Sara Stackhouse

Sustainability of Live Theatre on the African Continent

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This panel reflects on theatre audiences in our spaces and how we can sustain live theatre. Panelists tackle topics like how different theatre producers/artists define their audience, how we market shows (pre and post-pandemic), and how to interest people and invite them to the theatre and keep them coming back. The panel then collectively explores how to grow theatre audiences. The event was presented in partnership with

Hosted by Aidah Nalubowa, Founder & Content Manager of & Alex Nderitu, writer, poet, playwright, and theatre critic, Regional Managing Editor at

Rosette Nteyafas, Creative Producer, Line Producer of Kampala International Theater Festival and Tebere Arts Foundation, Uganda
Makhaola Ndebele, Actor, Independent Theatre Director, and Creative Consultant, South Africa
Lloyd Nyikadzino, Founder and director of the Zimbabwe Theatre Academy and Mitambo International Theatre Festival, Zimbabwe


Ilinca Todorut

Executive Director of IOTF

Kylie Fletcher

Assistant to Executive Director of IOTF

Kasia Lech

Executive Director and Director of Research and Global Initiatives

Magda Romanska

Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief

Yizhou Zhang

Research and Digital Publishing Fellow


Aidah Nalubowa, Aleks Sierz, Alexandru Condurache, Andres Perez Simon, Christy Romer, Daniele Avila Small, David Ball, Emmanuelle Lejeune, Esther Fernandez, Heidi Wiley, John Freedman, Katalin Trencsényi, Patrick Oteh, Robert Walton, Szabolcs Musca, Teresa Pfaud, Thalia Rodgers, Allison Newey, Kate Luhr,  Luke O’Shaughnessy, Dorota Masłowska, Monika Regulska, and to all the artists and companies who generously shared work for us to view and consider.



This post was written by Magda Romanska.

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

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