Letter of IETM President Willie White

To Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence
Enrico Rossi, President Regione Toscana
Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister


I write to you on behalf of IETM, one of the largest and longest established cultural networks in Europe, numbering more than 500 members drawn from across the performing arts in 50 different countries. During our plenary meeting last week in Budapest we learned from our Italian members that Stazione Leopolda is up for auction within a month after the official announcement.

For international institutions and organisations for the contemporary arts, Stazione Leopolda is both a symbol and an indispensable site in Florence. It is one of the most fascinating European places both as a piece of industrial architecture and a meeting place for contemporary art.

It would be a great loss, not only for the cultural players that made Leopolda into what it is now, by organising their events, expositions and festivals, but for the Italian and international artistic community at large and the international image of Italian cultural policy.

Last year IETM organized its plenary meeting in Italy where we met with a powerful arts community working under tough conditions. We are all sincerely worried that festival Fabbrica Europa, the artistic community and their audiences will lose yet another opportunity to present and to experience the highest quality national and international contemporary arts.

Ever since the first edition of Fabbrica Europa, in 1994, Stazione Leopolda has been the heart of the festival. The greatest names in the world of the theatre have passed through it, as have those of contemporary dance, research, music and the world of multimedia. Fabbrica Europa was a trailblazer in presenting performances, concerts and shows in such a context and did so for over 20 years. The world’s most well known artists experienced the ‘other’ Florence thanks to their performances in Leopolda, including Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker, Angelin Prejlocaj, Peter Brook, Teatro de Los Andes, Jan Fabre, Shen Wei Dance Arts, Frédéric Flamand, Ai Wei Wei, Ballet National de Marseille, mum&gypsy, Alain Platel, Wim Vandekeybus, Meg Stuart, Benoit Lachambre, Lucinda Child, Meredith Monk, Archie Schepp, Ernst Reijseger, Roswell Rudd, Luca Ronconi, Fura dels Baus. Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio/Romeo Castellucci, Virgilio Sieni, Anatoli Vassilev, and many others. We are sure our concern and solidarity with those working in Fabbrica Europa is shared by them.

We, the Board of Directors of IETM, expect that you are as shocked as we are by this unexpected move from the Ferservizi spa group and the extremely short timeframe given to react. We support Fabbrica Europa’s plea to request that the cultural institutions, local, national and international, open negotiations with artists and cultural operators in order to look for a potential solution.
We hope that you will do whatever is in your power to protect the cultural designation of this landmark and to consider the impact that its loss would have on the vibrant contemporary arts scene and the international reputation it has won for Florence and Italy.


Willie White
President of the Board


Brussels, November 11 2015


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Letters to Mr Nardella, Mr Rossi, Mr Renzi




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