For the first time collective, for the first time transnational, and feminist!
The new TT management team is making history before the festival has even started. The management team consists of cultural manager and producer Joanna Nuckowska, dramaturge and curator Carolin Hochleichter, theatre director and activist Olena Apchel, and, until the end of March, producer Marta Hewelt. The expectations and the associated fears are high, the theatre critics warn; after all, we all know what happened with the assumption of collective responsibility at this year’s Documenta.
But the world, including the institutionalised world of culture, is changing; collectivity and transnational or translocal networks can no longer be sustained within traditional (read: hierarchical, patriarchal, westernised, class-based) structures. Responsibility, the question of privilege, accessibility, Eastern European cultures, and sustainability are at the heart of this edition of the festival, which has been running for 60 years and was known in its early days as the „Showcase of the West“.
The themes and the question „Who has the privilege of not knowing?“ will be explored in the framework programme, i.e. in ten encounters that „frame, beguile and embrace“ the festival. In addition to ten outstanding theatre productions selected by an independent jury from German-speaking countries, there will be discussions, performances, and encounters. There will be a strong focus on the situation in Ukraine(„Bunker Cabaret„; „Cyber Elf„), on the unequal relationship between Eastern and Western Europe(„Artistic Work in Exile„; „War on Distance„; „Living Canvas„), on the opposition culture in Belarus („1 Minute Scream„; „People Without Country. Country without People. Belarusian Cultural Opposition„) and translocal feminist solidarity („Dinner Party„; „Textile Workshop„). All of these themes relate to the current debate on post-socialist space and culture east of Elba (‚PostOst‘). It is hoped that the discussions and encounters will not shy away from critical questions and will address difficult issues such as nationalism, isolationism or the limits of transnational solidarity, also beyond European borders.
The ten productions selected for the Theatertreffen deal with topics such as the aftermath of the AIDS crisis in the USA in the 1980s („Das Vermächtnis„), the feminist approach to contemporary catastrophes („Ophelia’s Got Talent„) or the contemporary culture of remembrance in Germany („Der Bus nach Dachau„).
My task as co-editor of this year’s TT Blog (together with Antigone Akgün and Anna Reimnitz) is to create a space for discussion and reflection, which will be filled with comments and texts from five bloggers invited through an open call. This will allow us to discuss the productions and events mentioned above, and to critically examine the institutional framework in which we work. Among other things, we address the question of cultural critique in the context of artificial intelligence, reflect on the festival format itself together withand its sustainability, as well as the politics of invitation and exclusion that the institutionalised art establishment produces.
As a trained artist, curator and art critic, I come from the field of visual and performing arts, where questions of ‘who?’, ‘with whom?’, ‘for whom?’, and ‘for what?’ are part of the conceptual training. I am happy to be able to ask these questions in the context of the most important German-language theatre festival. I am very curious to see where this structural reflection will lead us.
Read and comment on our texts. We invite you to join the discussion: What was the Theatertreffen, what is it now – and how could it be in the future?