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Spring | May | Theatertreffen

These clearly belong together like little else in the Berlin theatre scene. And the time is finally here again and the large, contentious theatre family is congregating. When the jury threw the dice in February, only a faint rumble of criticism could be heard from afar. It is quite obvious that this will change. Exceptional theatre cannot be brought to the stage without exceptional emotions. Pleasure, elation, success, as well as scathing critiques, general criticism and all that goes with it await: the Berliner Festspiele bid you a cordial welcome.

The jury’s selection promises thought-provoking and exciting days of theatre with wonderful ensembles from Zurich, Vienna, Hamburg, Hanover, Düsseldorf and Munich. A work commissioned by the RUHRtriennale with an international cast, “Wolf” directed by Alain Platel from Belgium, will bring the 41st Theatertreffen to a close on the 17th May in the Haus der Berliner Festspiele.

This year a particularly notable guest to the fringe programme will join the ten invited productions: Christoph Marthaler with his acclaimed evening of song “Untitled. A Replacement Passion“. We are especially looking forward to this production from Zurich as the Stiftung Preußische Seehandlung will be presenting the Berlin Theatre Award to the long-standing theatre team of Christoph Marthaler and Anna Viebrock after the performance.

For the first time at last year’s jubilee Theatertreffen, the Festspielhaus was not only the venue for the selected productions but also became host to discussions, dance, surprises and experiments. This year we have two anniversaries to celebrate: the Forum of Young Theatre Workers will be taking place for the fortieth time – our congratulations for a successful festival go to Manfred Linke, director of the Forum since 1969. The Alfred Kerr Acting Award will be presented for the 10th time.

The Stückemarkt, changed last year and opened for the first time on a European level, has been able to keep what it promised: all six authors received offers from publishers after the readings, the plays were printed and there has since been a very successful premiere of “Koala Lumpur” by David Lindemann. The German premiere of Jean-Marie Piemme’s “Wrapped: It's weighed out” will follow. The jury’s choices this year promise to be just as thought-provoking as those of last year. Assuage your “need for material” with us: plays by authors from Germany, Poland and Spain, as well as by an author from Lithuania will be presented on four evenings. A Dramatist Workshop will be held for the first time run by John von Düffel, who will be presenting the results of the workshop after the final reading. The Dramatists’ Salon is a further innovation within the Stückemarkt. We are looking forward to welcoming Tankred Dorst and Gert Jonke to discussions about their lives and writing.

Two interesting discussions will examine current trends and the theatre’s ability to reflect: “The Undeclared War – A debate about murderous theatre” brings together theatre directors and politicians; “The International Echo – How political is German theatre?” gathers festival makers from all over the world to deliberate on this subject with Renate Klett.

On the last Sunday of the Theatertreffen we will, as tradition demands, be inviting you to the SpiegelBAR, where you can discuss with the jury about what was good and what was less good. This year the jury will be saying goodbye to Gerhard Preußer, Georg Diez, Gerhard Jörder and Franz Wille. The four new members, Barbara Burckhard, Christine Dössel, Peter Michalzik and Andreas Wilink, have already taken up their positions. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to all that have made unflagging efforts, done many long journeys and shown talkative energy in their search for the ten most outstanding productions.

Our special thanks to the BMW Group as our main sponsor and to 3sat, our principal media partner. Thanks also to the Goethe Institute, EnBW and the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Institute for Political Education). The financing of the Theatertreffen for future years has been secured by the incorporation into the regular programme of the Federal Cultural Foundation. We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees of the Foundation. Last but not least our personal thanks to all our colleagues, without whom such a complex festival would not be possible.

Joachim Sartorius, Director Berliner Festspiele
Iris Laufenberg, Director Theatertreffen

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