2021 Council Meeting of the BFPA was held at NCPA

NCPA October/23/2021
On October 22nd, 2021 Council Meeting of the Beijing Forum for Performing Arts (BFPA) was held via video conference at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA). Representatives of seven council members, including the NCPA, Teatro Colón, Stiftung Oper in Berlin, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Opera Australia, Royal Opera House Muscat, and Teatro Real, attended and spoke at the meeting.


Representatives of seven council members attended and spoke at the meeting

In September 2020, the BFPA was officially established during the 2020 Beijing Forum for Performing Arts which was initiated and hosted by the NCPA. Since the establishment of the BFPA, the member institutions have adhered to the principles of openness, inclusiveness, mutual respect, equal cooperation and mutual benefit. They have carried out a series of practical cooperation in the joint fight against COVID-19 and the promotion of the integration of performing arts and technology, as well as achieved concrete results in the sharing of theatre management experience, joint online concerts, international opera film exhibitions and international forums.


WANG Ning (right), Chairperson of the BFPA and President of the NCPA, reviewed the work of the BFPA since its establishment

This Council Meeting was an online reunion of the council members since the BFPA was established one year ago. ZHU Jing, Secretary General of the BFPA and Vice President of the NCPA presided over the meeting. At the meeting, WANG Ning, Chairperson of the BFPA and President of the NCPA, firstly reviewed the work of the BFPA since its establishment. He said that in the past year, with the joint efforts of all members, the BFPA has taken shape as an exchange platform for cultures around the world and an efficient and practical cooperation platform. Its international influence and reputation has been gradually enhanced, making a positive contribution to the development of the performing arts industry. The Council deliberated and approved the application of the Kirchner Cultural Centre to join the BFPA. To date, a total of 26 international institutions from 18 countries have become members of the BFPA.

Before the Council Meeting, President WANG Ning had held a video conference with each Council Member and the Secretariat had sent questionnaires to all members, both to solicit opinions. Here are the sorted-out ideas and suggestions members had put forward: regaining public confidence is the biggest challenge for all members; successful experience in dealing with the pandemic is the topic all members are most interested; digitalization and online presentation is the most important area in which all want to strengthen cooperation.

Then each representative gave suggestions on the BFPA’s work plan for 2022. María Victoria Alcaraz, General Director of Teatro Colón, proposed to make full use of the platform of the BFPA to promote the circulation and sharing of resources and to enhance the sustainable development of opera houses. George Vierthaler, General Director of Stiftung Oper in Berlin, said that he looks forward to the integration of resources and the sharing of experiences and cases on sustainable development. Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, suggested to learn from the experience in fighting against the COVID-19 and look to the future, especially to strengthen cooperation in the digital field. Rory Jeffes, CEO of Opera Australia, advised that digital means should be used effectively to break down boundaries, promote cultural exchanges and attract more audiences. Umberto Fanni, Director-General of Royal Opera House Muscat, suggested developing live-streamed art courses to give people an insight into the story behind the theatres and to stimulate the curiosity of the audience. Ignacio García-Belenguer Laita, General Manager and CEO of the Teatro Real, said that sustainability will become an integral part of the cultural life, and arts institutions only can become better when all united.

After thorough discussions, the participating institutions reached a consensus, unanimously agreeing that exploring scientific paths and methods for the sustainable development of theatres is an aim for the BFPA members to work together for; the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the performing arts industry and that it is imperative we share our experience in fighting the pandemic; “art + technology” would offer vast room of development for the performing arts industry in the future and we should make good use of the BFPA platform to promote the integration between technology and art; we need to introduce more eco-responsible choices into our performance forms and management models in the meantime of resuming in-person performances; we should make use of the communication platform of the BFPA, give full play to the routine communication mechanism of the BFPA Council, and jointly promote the development of the BFPA. At the same time, Chairperson and President WANG Ning put forward initiatives for the BFPA’s work in 2022, such as focusing on digital development, exploring the application of new technological tools, launching the training of young artists and organizing branded activities for youth arts festivals.

In the concluding remarks, Chairperson and President WANG Ning suggested that the Secretariat of the BFPA will exert its utmost efforts to provide more high-quality resources and services and improve its work to the highest standard. It is hoped that BFPA will continue to grow and develop over time through the unremitting efforts of all members.

Photos by NIU Xiaobei & LIU Fang

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