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spielzeit‘europa 2004–2012

»Behind the idea of a European theatre language we find the cooperative practice of a work culture that spans the whole of Europe and not only invigorates institutions such as the Berliner Festspiele but also opens them up for the contemporary expression.«
Joachim Sartorius to mark the first season of spielzeit’europa in 2004

Three years after the Berliner Festspiele moved into the Theater der freien Volksbühne, as it was called at the time, their activities were subdivided into two new formats, one for music and one for theatre. 2004/2005 saw the first spielzeit’europa, the autumn/winter season with theatre and dance performances, take place in the house of the Berliner Festspiele. The founder of the spielzeit’ europa was the artistic director of the time, Markus Luchsinger (†2009). The idea is to present important European theatre and dance productions in Berlin as well as to provide a stage for productions harbouring an outside view of Europe.

From 2006/2007, Brigitte Fürle, former artistic curator and dramaturg of the Wiener Festwochen, Salzburger Festspiele (Young Directors Project) and schauspielfrankfurt took over the artistic directorship of the spielzeit’europa. Since the beginning she has had the house form a link with the seasons motto by specially involving it. Exhibitions and projections on the building’s façade set the theme for each individual season. »Alles wird gut« (2006/2007) presented by the Latvian artist, Monika Pormale as a large format photo installation showing pairs hugging themselves, »Paradies jetzt« (2007/2008) by Rudolf Bekic and Bernhard Resch, »Das Ende – ein Anfang« (2008/2009), »Das Ereignis des Selbst/des Anderen« with the “Composition with Twelve Windows” by Sasha Waltz and Meggie Schneider (2010). This year, the installation »Le Savali: Berlin« by Lemi Ponifasio will play the Haus der Festspiele in a manner that is clearly visible from outside.

Instead of just being a venue for guest performances, the Haus der Berliner Festspiele should become a theatre with its own unique identity – a place of production and creation with ideal working conditions for international theatre and dance performances. So after several weeks of rehearsals in the house, the premiers of, amongst others, The Sound of Silence by Alvis Hermanis, (2007) Das Pulverfass by Dimiter Gotscheff (co-production with the Deutsche Theater Berlin, 2008) and the world premiere of To Be Straight With You by DV8, (2007) were staged.

To spielzeit’europa’s many spectacular special projects such as Schutz vor der Zukunft by Christopher Marthaler (2006), La Revolte des Mannequins in the KaDeWe (2008) and the large scale event Das Wiedersehen von Berlin by Royal de Luxe (2009), a giant fairy tale to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall and attracting an audience of 2 million in Berlin, we also count the MAUForum by Lemi Ponifasio and Peter Sellars, amongst others, with Olafur Eliasson in the Orangerie at Charlottenburg Palace 2010.

In her six years of artistic directorship, Brigitte Fürle has presented numerous world premiers, as well as Europe and Germany premiers, not to mention the guest performances in Berlin of the theatre and dance creations by international artists such as Robert Wilson, Robert Lepage, Alvis Hermanis, Heiner Goebbels, Krystof Warlikowski, Lemi Ponifasio, Andrea Breth, Peter Sellars, William Forsythe, Stéphanie Braunschweig, Sylvie Guillem, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Pina Bausch, Isabelle Huppert and many others.

This year, Lemi Ponifasio’s creation Le Savali: Berlin shall open the 11/12 season on the 6th of October as a commissioned production and premier. With a total of seven weeks rehearsal time, in which all work done on stage was solely for the purpose of this production, spielzeit’ europa has set new standards for a production model by redefining the identity of festivals as a locus for creation.

»The main focus here is on those moments of experience that carry the audience beyond such categories as spoken theatre or dance and take them into the unknown and the new, in all, an attempt at showing what unites us, with empathy as our living vision of human survival that transcends each and every boundary.«
Brigitte Fürle

spielzeit’europa 11/12 is presenting twelve productions over a period of four months ending in January 2012. A prelude to the festival was already shown on the 1st of September with the highly noted German premier of Yahia Yaïch Amnesia by the Tunisian director Fadhel Jaibi.

Brigitte Fürle Artistic Director spielzeit’europa | Berliner Festspiele

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