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spring | may | theatertreffen

For the 41st theatertreffen, everything came together once again.
Spring has been somewhat erratic. Both winter and the height of summer put in brief appearances. May began with summer sun, towards the middle of the month allowed occasional April showers and came to a close with the comforting warmth of springtime. As always the guests of the theatertreffen and the audiences enjoyed this combination.

We can claim, not without a certain pride, that this year’s theatertreffen inspired productive discussions about theatre in the German-speaking countries amongst our guests, the audience, theatre lovers and theatre critics alike, discussions which have made themselves felt far beyond national boundaries, and continue to do so.

Topics for discussion and debate were the theatre, its wealth of forms and expression – not about the theatertreffen itself and its right to exist (although it has always held its own in such nonsensical debates). The selection made by the jury of seven – here, once again, our heartfelt thanks for this excellent work! – produced a tableau which, in its diversity, provoked, but also inspired and hardly left anyone unaffected.

In the otherwise critically-disposed newspaper "Welt" one could read the following: the selection "represented a valid assessment of the intriguing, diverse achievements made by our municipal and national theatre establishment: 64 productions of comparable high standard were on hand for the selection of the ten best. And this is the proof: the millions in subsidies are not wasted." (Reinhard Wengierek)

Johan Simon’s precise, distantly analytical Müller commentary "Anatomy. Titus Fall of Rome. A Shakespeare Commentary" by the Münchner Kammerspielen, in the stage set by Bert Neumann, opened – minimalist and fantastic at one and the same time – the Theatertreffen in the Haus der Berliner Festspiele. For some too demanding, for others a revealing mind game or a memorable surprise.

The audience thanked our guests from the theatre with overwhelming applause on many evenings in the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, celebrate"Uncle Vanya" by the Munich Residenz Theater with standing ovations, did not tire through Jelinek’s "Work" from Vienna, succumbed totally to "Untitled. A Replacement Passion" and gave Marthaler a warm and loud welcome back to Berlin at the award ceremony. For the grand finale Alain Platel came with "Wolf" – came, saw and conquered. The 3sat Theatre award was assured and received enthusiastically. The revitalization of the Haus der Berliner Festspiele became tangible to all those present – and we are happy, in spite of all the prophecies of doom, that the dignified former Freie Volksbühne in no way resembled or resembles the cadaver of the Schiller Theatre.

The Stückemarkt market for plays, successfully restructured last year and now European, made its own important contribution: All four events were well visited and along with the newly formed dramatists salon and dramatist workshop one can justifiably speak of a highly professional platform for dramatists.

Apart from the continuous performances in our own house, other venues for guest performances had to be found. Thanks to the Volksbühne on Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, the Deutsches Theater, the sophiensælen and the HAU (Hebbel am Ufer) the ensembles found the right venue for their work on the one hand and on the other the Theatertreffen found an extensive anchorage in the city.

This year we bid farewell to four of the seven jurors: Georg Diez, Gerhard Jörder, Gerhard Preußer and Franz Wille! And we welcome four new colleagues: Barbara Burckhardt (Theater heute), Christine Dössel (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Peter Michalzik (Frankfurter Rundschau) and Andreas Wilink (K. WEST- the magazine for NRW television). Till Briegleb (FAZ, Die Zeit, amongst others), Wolfgang Kralicek (Falter, Vienna) and Tobi Müller (Tages-Anzeiger, Zürich) remain in the jury. For them and for us: Good luck!

Joachim Sartorius, Director Berliner Festspiele
Iris Laufenberg, Director Theatertreffen

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