Future Directions: R3

May 20, 2021 – June 4, 2021

IOTF is back! Now in its third year, this year’s festival showcases 33 global productions made and/or captured during lockdown as artists, theatres and audience 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 – forges a path to the redefinition, reimagining and Renaissance of 21st century theatre.

All productions are free to watch, wherever in the world you are.

This year’s festival features three different sections. Redefining Theatre includes 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 looks 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. The featured institutions have had varying levels of access to resources and have each faced unique and often different challenges due to geographical realities and lockdowns – what binds them all is a commitment to creating artists and works that engage, inspire and reimagine both the future of theatre and the future of the world.

In association with the European Theatre Convention, Renaissance: Five-minute Windows, provides 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 — speak to our theme of Future Directions.

Join us to celebrate the possibilities and potentialities of theatre as we share these productions on what theatre is and might be in a (post-)Covid world.

IOTF will be launched online from May 20th, through June 4th, 2021. Audiences will be able to access the shows via the festival page at:

IOTF will also offer a series of talks and online events related to the screenings, including panels and post-show talkbacks with the artists. is an all-volunteer open-access global theatre and performing arts portal. Since its launch in November 2016, has published over 4,300 articles and theatre reviews covering theatre in 90 countries and regions. With 32 thematic sections, more than 150 Regional Managing Editors, over 60 media partners around the world, we have grown to be the most far-reaching and comprehensive global theatre portal today.

So far, we launched: 1) Three Spotlight features: Spotlight on Russia, Spotlight on Poland, and Spotlight on China, 2) – Interactive Digital Map of Theatre Festivals, which was funded through Yale Digital Humanities Lab and LMDA Innovation Grant. currently lists 340 international theatre and performing arts festivals, searchable by date, location, and type, and 3) IOTF: International Online Theatre Festival, a yearly event streaming international theatre shows.

IOTF 2020 showcased 42 shows from 16 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Chile, China, Germany, Lebanon, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Russia, UK, Ukraine, and the USA. Nearly 200,000 people visited the festival webpage and we reached over 500,000 people on our social media with posts, post-show talks and discussions.

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IOTF 2021: The International Online Theatre Festival is presented with the support of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, Polish Cultural Institute in London, The Center for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto, Emerson College, and all the companies who have given permission for their work to be screened and shared.

IOTF: The International Online Theatre Festival is curated by co-Artistic Directors: Xunnan Li, Alma Prelec, and Gabriel Vivas-Martínez, doctoral candidates at Royal Holloway and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.

This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.

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.