In 1997, the Sibiu International Theater Festival (FITS) sets up the Sibiu Performing Arts Market, an annual project taking place during the Festival, with the purpose to create a cultural alternative in Central and Eastern Europe, the possibility to establish a network of festivals, a database of creators and managers and a coherent dialogue platform to serve this part of the continent. Later that year, The Market became part of EurAAm Bourse – a project initiated by nine arts markets in Europe and Quebec, which decided to create a space for cooperation and artistic exchange, aiming to develop, promote and show performances internationally, in order to facilitate access to new cultural markets.

At the beginning of the 2000s, The Market expands its cultural and artistic horizon, welcoming guests from all over the world, and starts creating exceptional events, such as  East/West Meeting of Festival Directors – an exchange of ideas moderated by festival directors and cultural management specialists, enabling participants to see performances from the FITS programme and meet other participants of The Market, while developing  a special section of gipsy music, contemporary dance and rock performances. Between 2003-2006, FITS and The Sibiu International Performing Arts Market were part of the European network EUNETSTAR (European Street Arts Network), funded by artistic directors of nine festivals from eight countries, with the purpose to produce, develop and promote street art and outdoor theatre. Later, between 2004-2009, The Market and FITS were part of Europe Arts, an association aiming at stimulating, training and supporting classical theater, street theater or circus artists, authors and directors to establish a relationship with audiences from a different culture or not speaking the language of performing arts.

2007 is remembered as an important year for the local and national environment in the European and global cultural context, the year when Sibiu held the title of European Capital of Culture and when Romania became a member of the European Union, which favored the development of The Market, translated into a higher number of participants and of international promotion opportunities.

Between 2010 and 2020, the Sibiu Performing Arts Market entered into a partnership with Open Street, created the first edition of the section Talkback seminars, later known as Cultural Conversations (in 2011) and later printed the interviews into a first printed edition of the Cultural Conversations (in 2012), moved to a new, warmer and more appropriate venue, got its first website and saw its first international conferences, socializing events and workshops, among which the first editions of Festival Readings and the first workshop on presenting artistic productions within The Market, The Art of Pitching (2013). During the same decade, The Market witnessed a significant improvement of the number of events organized and of participants. In 2015, The Market hosted its first European Capitals of Culture conference (then called European Dimension and Community Involvement) and the first edition of the workshop Meetings and classes with great choreographers. In 2016, the first edition of the workshop Festivals in the 21st century: Who Are They For, How We Do Them, How Do We Finance Them? takes place, while 2017 brought the first Speed Networking event, a new format of quick, focused meetings facilitating an important list of contacts and the exchange of information in a short time interval. Later that decade, the whole world experienced a shocking transformation, with the outburst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even during those times, in 2020, The Market, together with FITS, managed to keep the stakes high, by continuing to create platforms of dialogue online, involving worldwide managers and theatre professionals.

In 2021, The Market took place in a hybrid format, combining the physical and online dimensions, thus enabling participants in Sibiu to connect with those who could not travel, and be together through digital solutions. This format continued in 2022, while The Market built a bridge between the in-person and online dimensions, and created a global space for meetings and discussions in the performing arts. In 2023, at its 26th anniversary, The Market enhanced global cooperation between enthusiastic artists, professionals and cultural operators. The hybrid format of this edition was welcomed by participants and meaningful and useful dialogues took place in a framework that focused daily on each category of participants.

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