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The Political Theatre today

What should today’s theatre achieve?
Frequent answers to this question are: Theatre should deal with themes of social and political relevance. Theatre should question how we perceive things. Theatre should have an effect on us. Theatre should be structurally independent. Theatre should involve us. Theatre should be art. What many young theatremakers require of their own work is expressed in the demand that theatre should be political.
What does “political theatre” mean today? How does theatre become political? On what criteria is a political dimension to theatre work based? And to what extent are artistic imperatives at odds with political ones?
Even if we can agree on what theatre should achieve, it does not follow automatically that this will be realized. Money is always in short supply. There is often a shortage of external support, from established theatre or festivals for example, or there is simply a lack of experience.

Buchtitel: Das Politische Theater
“The Political Theatre” is what Erwin Piscator called his epoch-making book of 1929 which underlined his demands for a theatre of political relevance. Piscator is regarded as one of the most innovative theatremakers of the 20th century. He experimented with forms of theatrical narrative and was an important influence on the epic theatre of Brecht, with whom he worked in the Twenties. In the Sixties he founded documentary theatre (“The Investigation” by Peter Weiss) in what was then the Freie Volksbühne, now the Haus der Berliner Festspiele – home to the Theatertreffen and the International Forum.

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