IUTA: Message from the President
If university theatre is as old as university, it could be said that modern university theatre was born after World War II. It is in its nature to be taken from its ivory tower at the Alma Mater to win over the public at large. The corollary was that the said Mater became increasingly aware of this specific phenomenon in education, that is, theatre played out within its walls. This Alma understood that we could teach the theatre and learn by the theatre without blushing and at the same time academically hold our heads high.
Of course, this is a simplification. This evolution of the ‘entertainer’ to the ‘academic’ moved at a different pace at each institution: the reluctance remained strong at times – depending on the university – and long-lasting everywhere.
But university theatres grew older and wiser, the evidence of which was an impressive flourishing of international festivals in the 1980s that had, as a striking result, exchanges of troupes everywhere, thus different practices, useful addresses, and new friendships without frontiers. Thus, in the early 1990s, several UTs felt the need, the usefulness, widely and deeply to endow themselves with a body of contacts that would guarantee their visibility, their identity and their credibility in the eyes of the world.
The idea of the IUTA (International University Theatres Association) was born.
This idea was realised in 1994 in Liege when about twenty countries passed IUTA’s first statutes, which gave concrete expression to the principles of the Charter of Liège. There had, of course, been earlier attempts to create a ‘federation’ (IUTU, etc.), but these were probably premature as they never took root.
Since its creation, IUTA has proven that it can carry out its mission as a world network.
With, to date, six congresses (Liege ‘94/Valleyfield, Quebec ‘97/Dakar ‘99/ Krakow ‘01/Olympia ‘03/Urbino ‘06), it has shown that the theory and the practice of theatre go hand in hand at University.
Open to all approaches of university theatre (improvisational, assisted or vocational), IUTA confronts and establishes a connection with all university theatre ‘followers’. Moreover, through its close ties with the ITI (the International Theatre Institute – UNESCO) and the AITA (the International Association of Amateur Theatre), it strengthens its contacts with the theatre in all its forms. In short, it guarantees its role on the world theatre stage.
I wish all our current members success in their work, and I hope to see their numbers grow, increasing in this way our international network for the benefit of all, individuals or institutions. Theatre, in short, can only gain from this.
Prof. Dr. Robert Germay
Liège, January 2007