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The work on the IATC conferences for established critics in the last two and a half years (the actual ExCom of the IATC was elected at the end of 2018) has been rather particular. In this period we had only one conference that was conceived and realized upon our guidelines and other standards. This means that there was a certain procedure of choosing the topic, developing the structure and the timetable of the conference, working on the presentation abstracts and, above all, that the whole event happened – live. Before the outburst of the COVID-19 pandemic, all IATC programs, including conferences for established critics, have been organized in the frame of international theatre festivals and similar (live) gatherings. This was the conference that happened in Tbilisi in October 2019 within the showcase of Georgian theater.
The next conference we have been working on was the one planned for the regular IATC Congress, which was supposed to happen in May 2020 in Bratislava. The conference committee, consisted of Zuzana Uličianska (Slovakia), Savas Patsalidis (Greece), Deepa Punjani (India) and myself, first articulated the topic (Recycling in the Performing Arts: From Creativity to Commerce) and then worked on abstracts which came in large number. Unfortunately, this work was never finished: due to the pandemic, both the Congress and conference had to be cancelled. I strongly support the initiative of our colleagues from the Slovakian national section of the IATC to realize this conference in the future, within another context.
Since May 2020, the concept of the IATC conferences had to be temporarily changed. On the initiative of Margareta Sorenson, the President of the IATC, we launched a series of online conferences. The work on these conferences was rather different from the usual one. As the format of online event – the conferences happened on the zoom platform – is not appropriate for the somewhat strict structure of classical conferences with presentations of papers, moderation and final discussion, we changed our approach. The two online conferences of the IATC that happened in June and September 2020 had a structure of less formal round table discussions, on which professional critics from all around the world discussed different topics related to the pandemic of the COVID-19. The first one was dedicated to status and practice of theatre criticism itself in the times when live arts were “cancelled” and the second to the issue of conceiving and organising international theatre festivals in this particular context.
The pick of the online IATC conferences was a big event that we organized in April 2021. Its format was different from the two previous IATC online conferences, because these were two things in one. The first part of this three hours long event on the zoom platform was the Talia award ceremony dedicated to the last laureate of this prestigious prize of the IATC, a distinguished Japanese theatre maker, Mr Tadashi Suzuki. The second, longer part was an international conference on his work divided in two sessions: approaches of theatre theory and practice. Having in mind the particularities of the online format, we insisted on shorter presentations (10 minutes) and a lot of video and other visual material. I am personally very proud that we had a real intellectual and cultural diversity presented at this conference. The laudation to Mr Suzuki was given by the famous American theatre director, Anne Bogart, and the speakers at the conference were from Japan, China, India, Greece, Serbia, Romania, England and Argentina… The symbolic representation of its truly international nature, which is the basic value of the IATC, is the fact that this online event started at 9 AM in Argentina and in 9 PM in Japan.

Ivan Medenica, Director of the IATC conferences