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National Contests

Theatertreffen der Jugend 2013

Theatertreffen der Jugend 2013: Retrospective

At the heart of the festival week were the eight productions invited from Berlin, Bielefeld, Düsseldorf, Grevenbroich, Heidelberg and Solingen. With their own subjects and attitudes, and in highly diverse ways, the young actors and actresses scrutinised the world on a small and large scale in their plays. What is masculinity in the modern world? How do people live in parallel cultures and virtual worlds? How do we change things successfully if change appears to be impossible? What does the loss of your home country mean for your own future? Can mere indignation lead to a real revolution these days? Is this love that I’m feeling? What will happen if an entire generation can’t or won’t decide? What are we looking for when we move to a big city?

These questions were the subject of just a few of the debates that were led in the festival’s campus programme: in the workshops, the performance talks, in the festival newspaper and in the many encounters that the participants were able to have ¬– in the garden, during meals, and in small groups somewhere in the Haus der Berliner Festspiele. And almost incidentally, on and under the stage, things such as the participants themselves and the time they shared together were celebrated.

In the Forum Programme, there was also a mutual exchange of ideas for artistic directors of youth theatre groups and students. In workshops and discussions, the theatrical form and content of the productions that were invited were examined with regard to the groups’ own theatre work and reflected in a practical way. In addition, various focal points provided impetus for further theatre work.

The festival concept for the Theatertreffen der Jugend – the primary focus of which is the cooperation and exchange of all participants – proved yet again to be rewarding. It no longer played a role which institutional context the productions came from: whether they were formed in acting courses, theatre workshops in schools, self-organised groups of all kinds or in municipal theatres, this was secondary. The Berliner Festspiele would like to see this festival concept continue in the future and to see as many groups as possible from all areas of theatre work with and by young people taking part in forthcoming contests.

Christina Schulz
Director of the National Contests at the Berliner Festspiele