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The International Forum of Young Theatre Professionals

The International Forum of Young Theatre Professionals which takes place during the Berlin Theatertreffen is an event for furthering the education of young professionals from the theatre (actors, directors, stage and costume designers, dramatic advisors, musicians specializing in working in the theatre, choreographers – as far as they work in drama – authors, performance artists).

Applicants must be under 35 years of age.

The Forum takes place for fifteen days on an annual basis during the Theatertreffen, the most important festival in the field of German-speaking theatre. The Forum pursues three basic goals:

1. In particular to encounter new, innovative methods and forms of creating theatre. For this purpose four workshops, carried out by outstanding practitioners in these fields, are held. One course each year will be led by a German-speaking dramatist.

2. To inform about the current state of affairs in German-speaking theatre by attending the productions invited to participate in the Theatertreffen and other productions performed in Berlin theatres. Discussions with the producers and general discussion about current topics in theatre add depth (this aspect has been extended with seminars since 1995), and furthermore the opportunity to visit the "Stückemarkt" (a fringe event to the Theatertreffen) and inform themselves about plays not yet performed.

3. To enable the exchange between the participants by means of a programme through which they can learn about each other's work, methodology and ideas, but also about the current state-of-the-art in the theatre of their individual countries.

The International Forum of Young Theatre Professionals has been in existence since the second Theatertreffen took place in 1965 (until 1973 it was known as "Meeting of Young Theatre Professionals"), and is as such the oldest continuous institution of its kind. Primarily it was merely a platform for information and discussion for young professionals from the Federal Republic of Germany (the GDR refused to participate in this as well as in the Theatertreffen). Thanks to agreements with institutions in Austria and Switzerland it was possible to extend participation to those countries from 1970. Starting in 1980 the cooperation with the Goethe Institute in Munich and its branches throughout the world has made the Forum truly international. Following a phase of experimentation from 1975 the emphasis of the Forum shifted from theory to practice; in 1980 the workshops became an integral part of the Forum programme.

As a result of working together within the workshops the students from home and abroad experience an intensive encounter with each other, the activities offered in the afternoons and the accompanying programme for the participants serve the understanding of the group as a whole.

Young theatre professionals from abroad not only gain valuable insight into our theatre system through the performances but also through their colleagues from German-speaking countries; the participants from German-speaking countries enjoy the opportunity to look beyond their aesthetic and structural boundaries through the encounter with participants from other countries.

The number of participants is limited to 54. 19 grants are awarded by the Goethe Institute, the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia awards 6, which leaves 29 places for young theatre people from Germany. Applicants from Austria cannot be invited at present as there is currently no financing or administrative institution available.

The theatre press announces the Forum at the beginning of each year. The application form is at the same time available and is distributed in Germany by the German Stage Association (Deutscher Bühnenverein) and the Union of German Stage Workers (Genossenschaft Deutscher Bühnenangehöriger); it is also available directly from the Forum itself. Applications from Germany must be submitted by the middle of March, applications from Switzerland must be submitted to Pro Helvetia Zurich earlier than that. Applications from abroad are only possible through the local branch of the Goethe Institute, whereby sufficient knowledge of German must be established. Application deadline for the Goethe Institute is mid-January each year (in this case the application requirements are available from November).

There is no fee to participate. Tickets and hotel accommodation in double rooms are free of charge. Participants will also receive a per diem. Travel expenses will not be paid in each case and may only be refunded in part. Students and those who live or work in Berlin cannot be invited.

The International Forum of Young Theatre Professionals is an event organised by the Kulturveranstaltungen des Bundes in Berlin GmbH, division Berliner Festspiele. The Forum receives financial support from the regional cultural ministries of the separate German states (thanks to a recommendation by the conference of Cultural Departments), the German Stage Association, Cologne, the Goethe Institute Munich and Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Cultural Foundation, Zurich.

The International Forum of Young Theatre Professionals is directed by the drama academic and dramatic advisor Manfred Linke (until 2005). From 2006, the new director will be Uwe Gössel.

In 2000 the Forum received the funds from the Kortner Prize, awarded by the journal "Theater heute" on behalf of the Friedrich Foundation. In 2001 the Federal German Centre of the International Theatre Institute on the occasion of World Theatre Day awarded its prize to the International Forum of Young Theatre Professionals and its director Manfred Linke.
In the years 2001 to 2003 the workshops of the Forum were supported by the Funds for Performing Arts Bonn (from funds of the State Minister at the Federal Chancellery for Media and Culture).

Literature

Manfred Linke:
Das Internationale Forum junger Bühnenangehöriger, in:
25 Jahre Theatertreffen Berlin 1964-1988.
Edited by Ulrich Eckhardt and Börries von Liebermann,
Berlin (Argon-Verlag) 1988, S. 82 ff.

Das wahre Theatertreffen.
Ein Gespräch mit Manfred Linke über das Internationale Forum junger Bühnenangehöriger, in:
Theater heute, 5/2000, S. 75 f.

Oliver Kranz:
Wo sich die Jungen formieren, in: Die Deutsche Bühne, 7/2002, S. 16 ff.

Berliner Festspiele (ed.):
40 Jahre Forum. Internationales Forum Junger Bühnenangehöriger, Berlin 2004


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