FEDORA and Opera Europa launch NEXT STAGE

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25 October 2021

FEDORA's Activities, Next Stage Initiative

FEDORA and Opera Europa launch NEXT STAGE  

FEDORA and Opera Europa hereby launch Next Stage, an initiative for change in the opera and dance sector. It aims to provide financial support and skills development to boost innovation and holistic sustainability in three focus areas - green, inclusive and digital transformation – in order to build resilience within the performing arts sector. Driven by opera and dance companies, Next Stage’s 3-year plan will enable these institutions to transform themselves in order to flourish in the future, while opening up new funding opportunities. As of spring 2022, grants will be distributed to support the development of innovative, scalable projects championed by opera and dance companies for the benefit of the sector.

Forty-five opera and dance companies in 17 countries have already committed to this initiative.  

The performing arts play an important role by contributing to the economy, society, employment, as well as sustainable development, tourism, and education. They generate revenues of $127 billion and employ 3.5 million people worldwide. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in spring 2020, the performing arts have been among the most negatively affected sectors. The containment measures that have been put in place have led to a chain of effects, severely impacting their economic and social situation.

Cultural institutions have been forced to make significant adjustments to their operations this past year. That involves changing how the theatres are managed and seasons are planned; how artists are engaged; how productions are created, performed and toured; how new audiences are reached and expanded; and how relations are established and nurtured with donors and partners. The process of recovery is an opportunity for the performing arts sector to reinvent itself for tomorrow’s world.

Over the summer, FEDORA and Opera Europa led a market study conducted on a pro-bono basis by the global management consulting firm Kearney.

This market study establishes a qualitative and quantitative assessment on where the European opera and dance sector stands today on the topics of sustainability, inclusivity, and digital transformation. With 100 participating companies throughout Europe sharing their perspectives on the three strands, followed up by in-depth interviews with 37 committed organisations, the findings of this study form an excellent basis to benchmark organisations on their accomplishments and ambitions. Key takeaways of the survey show us that many organisations embrace these 3 areas of interest and some have already taken steps towards transforming themselves. The study identifies more than 460 exciting initiatives across all categories on, behind and beyond the stage. While these institutions are aware of the need to change their organisations on several levels, across all dimensions access to funding and limited expertise are seen as the biggest barriers to progress and to set up the measurement tools for impact assessment. Next Stage aims to support their ambitions.

FEDORA and Opera Europa will showcase the successful projects’ transformative activities in regard to sustainability, equality and digital transformation during professional meetings. Combined with expert knowledge scaling, peer-learning and best-practice sharing, this ‘light-house project’ will not only encourage the entire sector to increase efficiency and reduce costs, but it will also trigger a positive ripple effect on the socio-economic-environmental tissue of society to build resilience. The purpose is for opera and dance companies proactively to transform themselves, so that they may become exemplary leaders in the performing arts sectors.

Discover the market study here


The Next Stage initiative unites opera and dance companies from around the world to renew the stage for the emerging talent of tomorrow. Thanks to the market study conducted by the global management consulting firm Kearney, we have identified the actions that are needed to build a greener, more inclusive, and digital environment on, behind, and beyond the stage.
Edilia Gänz, Director of FEDORA

The disruption of the pandemic has compelled opera and dance companies to re-examine their purpose. They have joined the Next Stage initiative in order to become more sustainable and inclusive and to seize the opportunities of today’s digital world. We are determined to work together to transform our operations so that we lead the way in making culture serve the demands of tomorrow’s audiences.
Nicholas Payne, Director of Opera Europa

It was a meaningful experience for us at Kearney to accompany the key players in the opera and dance sector. We are happy to provide our expertise on a pro-bono basis and contribute to the Next Stage initiative that is paving the way to a greener, more inclusive and digitally transformed future through culture.
Sabine Spittler, Principal at Kearney 

Discover the first edition of Next Stage Grants Recipients!


Edilia Gänz - Director of FEDORA 

Diandra Ferreira De Lima - Funding Programmes Coordinator

Mary-Éthel Siméonidès - Press Relations


Support sustainable innovation in opera and dance

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