National Contests

Theatertreffen der Jugend 2014

Theatertreffen der Jugend 2014: Retrospective

2014 was a showcase for an incredibly broad spectrum, in thematic and formal terms, of theatre productions by and with young adults, in which the entire scene of youth theatre work was represented. A particularly positive development was the increase of school productions that in past years had barely been included in the final selection. This year’s participants came from Greifswald, Schwerin, Grevenbroich und Hamburg, and were complemented by independent groups from Chemnitz and Berlin, and youth groups from theatres in Berlin and Munich.

The issues brought up by the very different productions revolved around happiness, both large and small, as well as societal values and one’s own standpoint on them including the question of what can cause a breeding ground for individual and collective violence. Productions worked through images of women and role clichés, as well as the search for the right way to say goodbye. They took up the subject of the incomprehensibility of the effects of war based on the current Syrian conflict, and the impossibility of envisioning World War I nowadays. Whether through pure, emotion-rousing acting, rock-concert-like or performance elements, role and scene-swapping, conscious poses or live cameras on stage, these young people impressively demonstrated how assuredly they could act with their chosen medium on stage. Humour, dynamism and curiosity coupled with courage and high spirits resulted in a directness that was difficult to resist.

The discourses surrounding the productions found an echo in the Campus programme of the Theatertreffen der Jugend: in the workshops, production talks, the festival newspaper, the blog and numerous meetings between participants in the garden, during mealtimes, or in groups somewhere in the Haus der Berliner Festspiele. There were celebrations both on and off stage.

In the Forum programme for artistic directors of youth theatre groups, it was equally about mutual exchange. In workshops and discussions, the theatre forms and content of the selected productions were examined and reflected on with regard to the participants’ own theatre work. Besides this, impulses were given for various focal issues in relation to future projects.

Christina Schulz
Director of the National Contests at the Berliner Festspiele