Barcelona, 24th – 26th october 2022


A congress of, by and for theatrical spectators. Art and part.

The main objective of the I International Congress of Theatre Spectators is to summon spectators to regain their leading role, to recover the collective energy that is produced when they connect with the performance of actresses and actors on stage.

In this first edition, the Congress will address, through different formats (conferences, debates, project presentations, workshops), the priorities that should be the roadmap to follow in order to promote, improve, develop, encourage and foster change and innovation into the performing arts sector from of the role played by viewers, focusing on 3 priority lines of work:


Every project, artistic action or contemporary creative process must be affected by values ​​such as equity, cultural diversity and social inclusion, environmental sustainability or respect and knowledge of different languages, customs and cultures.


Participation means having an active role and getting involved in all the different processes that occur in any performing arts project, from participating in the design of the projects themselves, the programming of the spaces, in the creative processes, or in the development, management or financing among others.


Reject limits on roles, sectors and disciplines, dialoguing with other fields, not only cultural but also scientific, social, anthropological or philosophical, including issuesas the relationship between culture and health or cultural mediation, in order to share, understand and generate new spaces for dialogue.

More than 50 guests from 25 countries, in addition to all those registered in the congress, will meet at the I International Congress of Theatre Spectators to share relevant international experiences that place theatre spectators at the backbone of theatre activity.

At the same time, the Congress is open to theater-goers in general, cultural managers, creators and artists, representatives of public administrations, researchers, consultants, the university community and the curious interested in audiences and the performing arts.

Day 1

MONDAY October 24th, 2022
Teatre Romea, Barcelona

8:30 – 19:30h

Information, registration and reception of attendees

9:30 – 9:45h

Congress presentation »

Daniel Martínez,  President  of  Grup  Focus
Pepe Zapata, curator of the Congress

9:45 – 10:00h

Institutional opening session »

with representatives of Generalitat de Catalunya, Ministerio de Cultura, Diputació de Barcelona, and Ajuntament de Barcelona

10:00 – 11:00h

Opening conference: The paradox of audiences »​

Katya Johanson – AUS


Opening conference: The paradox of audiences

Katya Johanson – AUS

Audiences are everyday: we are an audience to street scenes, to bad driving, to small acts of kindness, to the behaviour of strangers every time we step out our front door or glance out of our window. Audiences are inconsequential and anonymous – their names are not recorded and they are rarely celebrated. Yet audiences are also extraordinary and powerful. At particular moments in global history, audiences and their reactions have threatened prevailing hegemonies and changed the course of art-making. At the very least, audiences are an integral part of all the major social and religious rituals in our lives: when we are named, when we marry, when we are laid to rest, we call upon the transformative power of an audience to mark and affirm the occasion. The ways we think about audiences are paradoxical. This conference identifies and discusses various kinds of paradox associated with how we think about audiences. In doing so, the conference draws attention to the extraordinary act that is involved in being an audience and the ways we might change our patterns of thought to better understand the power that audiences enact. 

11:00 – 11:30h

Coffee break

11:30 – 11:35h

Presentation of the morning program

Pepe Zapata, curator of the Congress

13:00 – 13:30h

Conference: Uti et abuti–Use and Abuse »​

Roger Bernat – ESP


Conference: Uti et abuti – Use and Abuse

Roger Bernat – ESP

Based on a simple collaborative digital tool, the conference transforms the theater into a privileged laboratory for thinking about the relationships of use and abuse. The right to use and abuse (“uti et abuti”) is what defined property in Roman law. When someone said “I cut this tree because it’s mine” they were claiming ownership of something. When he said “I hire this worker” this relationship was transferred to the time of a certain person. In theater it would not be possible to stage a drama without weaving a tight network of relationships of use and abuse. And the public, although it may seem otherwise, is never the innocent witness.

13:30 – 15:30h

Free lunch

15:30 – 15:35h

Presentation of the afternoon program

Pepe Zapata, curator of the Congress

15:35 -16:30h

Conference: The spectators: memories, rumors and omens »​

Zavel Castro – MEX


Conference: The spectators: memories, rumors and omens

Zavel Castro – MEX

This talk proposes a historical-conceptual tour of the key moments in the history of theater audiences, to reflect on the functions it has traditionally fulfilled, and to imagine possible futures.

16:30 – 17:00h

Coffee break

18:00 – 19:00h

Discussion and experiences table: Spectator schools in Latin America. Evolution and future challenges »

Luis Conde – MEX
José Montero – CRI
Renato Recalde – PRY
Olivia Camboim – BRA
Laura Ruiz – SLV

moderation: Pablo Mascareño – ARG

19:00 – 20:30h

Visit tour of Teatre Romea and Teatre Goya
exclusive activity for international guests

Day 2

TUESDAY October 25th, 2022
Teatre Romea, Barcelona

8:30 – 18:30h

Information, registration and reception of attendees

9:00 – 9:05h

Presentation of the morning program

Pepe Zapata, curator of the Congress

10:00 – 11:00h

Discussion and experiences table: Social theatre, inclusion, accessibility »

Isis Abellán – ESP
Michelle Rolfe – GBR
Argelia E Rojas Muñoz – CHL
Zé Pires – PRT
Jaime Plaza – PER
Andrew kaggwa – UGA
Moez Mrabet – TUN
Breana Ogaldez – USA

moderation: Ángeles de Paz – ESP

11:00 – 11:30h

Coffee break

12:15 -13:00h

Discussion and experiences table: Spectator schools in Latin America and Catalonia. Evolution and future challenges »

Rosa Paseggi – URY
Camilo Gil – BOL
Anna Guix – ESP
Ángeles de Paz – ESP
Marc Pineda – ESP
Albert Reverendo – ESP

moderation: Pere Riera – ESP

13:00 – 13:30h

Artistic action:   The   body   of   spectators »

Toni Jodar, Explica Dansa – ESP

13:30 – 15:30h

Free lunch

15:30 – 15:45h

Presentation of the workshops

Pepe Zapata, curator of the Congress

15:45 – 18:00

Workshop: Working with the audiences of the futurer »
Katya Johanson – AUS
Teatre Romea. Stage Room


Workshop: Social Fictions »
Roger Bernat – ESP
Teatre Romea. Lobby


Workshop: Critical strategies in the age of the algorithm »
Zavel Castro – MEX
Teatre Romea. Lobby, 1st floor


Workshop: Working with the audiences of the future

Katya Johanson – AUS

What capacities and capabilities will audiences bring to a performance in 2 years’ time? In 20 years’ time? In 200 years’ time? What about 2000 years’ time? In this seminar, we look at the ways that audiences are changing, and what we know about future trends that are likely to influence how audiences experience a live performance. This includes changing demographics, tastes and political mindsets but also technological developments: virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence and the non-human. Given these trends, many organisations – particularly in heritage artforms – are now in the process of trying to adapt to diversifying and changing audiences. We will recommend ways that theatre companies might imagine and respond to their future audiences.


Workshop: Social Fictions

Roger Bernat – ESP

Theater is the collective elaboration of a working hypothesis that only occurs when, upon leaving the show, the awareness of not having played the role of audience well enough is mixed with the intuition of the many ways of ‘have done better. In a world where Participation is a fact but very well never real, the theater assumes the not easy task of deploying a participation that, without necessarily being a fact (or precisely because of the fact that it is not), manages to be real. The workshop is therefore conceived as a laboratory of social fictions in order to develop with the attendees different hypotheses of real participation.


Workshop: Critical strategies in the age of algorithm

Zavel Castro – MEX

In this workshop we will reflect on the control mechanisms of theatrical performances and the manipulation strategies of the digital age. From this we will rehearse some strategies for resisting efforts to control the way we think about theater and the way we “should” behave.

18:30 – 20:00h

Visit tour of Sala Beckett
exclusive   activity   for   international   guests

21:00 – 23:00

Official dinner
Antiga Fàbrica Damm
exclusive   activity   for   international   guests

Day 3

WEDNESDAY October 26th, 2022
Teatre Romea, Barcelona

8:30 – 17:00h

Information, registration and reception of attendees

9:00 – 9:05h

Presentation of the morning program

Pepe Zapata, curator of the Congress

09:05 – 10:00h

Discussion and experiences table: The participation of spectators »

Joâo Branco – CPV
Sílvia Sanfeliu – ESP
Alice Bricca – ITA
Pere Riera – ESP
Chadi Saad – LBN
Laura Blanch – HOL
Ifman Huerta – CHL

moderation: Alberto Rizzo – ESP

10:00 – 11:00h

Discussion and experiences table: How to connect with young spectators »

Judit Martínez Gili – ESP
Tara Senicic – SRB
Ivana Antic – SRB
Elisabeth Glesne – NOR
Laura Szabó – HUN
Anja Pirnat – SVN
Andrea Mónica Berman – ARG

moderation: Sílvia Sanfeliu Morros  – ESP

11:00 – 11:30h

Coffee break

11:30 – 12:30

Discussion and experiences table: Creative experiences with spectators »

Stuart Kandell – DEU/USA
Caterina Giangrasso – ITA
Cinthia Arrebola – MEX
Roberto Sánchez – PER
Luca Ricci – ITA
Alberto Rizzo – ESP

moderation: Judit Martínez Gili – ESP

13:30 – 15:30h

Free lunch

15:30 – 15:45h

Report and conclusions »

Pepe Zapata, curator of the Congress
Miquel Valls, coordinator of Precongress

16:15 – 16:30h

Institutional closing session »
with representatives of Generalitat de Catalunya, Ministerio de Cultura, Diputació de Barcelona, and Ajuntament de Barcelona

16:30 – 17:00h

Farewell glass of cava

17:00 – 19:00h

Visit tour of Gran Teatre del Liceu
exclusive   activity   for   international   guests

22:00 – 23:30h

Premiere of “Paraíso Perdido”
(subtitled version in English). Teatre Romea
exclusive   activity   for   international   guests




Guest spectators

Would you like to be one of the 50 invited international spectators? Are you an active spectator or are you part of an association or group of theater spectators working on projects related to diversity, participation or transversality? Send us your proposal, tell us your experience and we will evaluate your application shortly.

Guest experts

Roger Bernat

Catalan playwright. His theatrical career has been characterized by his participatory and immersive work with audiences. book publisher Querido Público. Web

Antonella Broglia

Publicist, cultural promoter, trainer, lecturer, TV collaborator, and actress, expert in political communication, public speaking and entrepreneurship and social innovation. Linkedin

Zavel Castro

Critic and theater curator specializing in audience training. Co-founder of the theatrical criticism and reflection page Aplaudir de Pie. Linkedin

Toni Jodar

Dancer, teacher, performer, artist and dance teacher for more than 25 years through his project with Beatriu Daniel, Explain Dansa. Web

Katya Johanson

Professor of audience research at Deakin University. One of the four editors of the Routledge Companion to Audiences and the Performing Arts. Linkedin

Antonio Monegal

Coordinates the Master’s Degree in Comparative Studies of Literature, Art and Thought at Pompeu Fabra University. She recently she has published the essay Como el aire que respiramos. El sentido de la cultura. Web


Advisory Board



Advisory Board

Marta Buchaca

Playwright, screenwriter and theater director.

Macarena Cuenca

Professor at the University of Deusto specializing in the development of cultural audiences. LinkedIn

Xavier Fina

Cultural consultant.

Eva García

Expert in community artistic action. LinkedIn

Javier Ibacache

Expert in arts audiences. Former Head of the Programming and Audiences Unit of the Ministry of Cultures of Chile. LinkedIn

Esteve León

Board member at Fundació Teatre Lliure.

Joan Morros

Member of El Galliner and programmer of the Kursaal theater in Manresa. LinkedIn

Marta Turu

Theatre spectator and member of TRESC – Comunitat de Cultura.


Pepe Zapata

Expert in cultural audiences. Currently, Director of TRESC – the largest and most active Cultural Community of public of culture in the Catalonia. LinkedIn


Àfora Focus

Àfora is the agora of the Grup Focus, an area of reflection and activities that, based on the scenic experience, has the intention of influencing artistic, cultural and social life.. A thought hub that wants to enhance human space as a field of relationship, debate, curiosity, and shared intelligence; providing views of the different sensitivities of theatrical activity.

Sponsors and collaborators

Supported by

Principal sponsors

Main collaborator


Media partners

Being part of the I International Congress of Theater Spectators is a unique opportunity to:

  • Put the brand in the cultural and performing arts sector.
  • Support an event that has the audiences and the communities as its main goal.
  • Generate brand awareness.
  • Support an event for and by the city of Barcelona.

Contact the person in charge of sponsorships, Fabián Salvador, to discover sponsorship opportunities and find the one that best suits your needs.


The 1st Congress of spectators arrives at its equator with an enthusiastic audience
Clipping of the 1st edition 2022 of the Congress

Press contact:


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