National Contests

Theatertreffen der Jugend

The Theatertreffen der Jugend sees itself as a showcase and important stimulus for theatre work by and with young people, and as representative of the entire spectrum from school theatre to youth club work within theatres. And it is this spectrum at which the contest preceding the Theatertreffen der Jugend is directed. The Treffen itself offers a unique opportunity for interaction and exchange among the participating young adults, as well as among the directors.

Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The contest

This national contest was founded in 1979 and its scope is youth theatre work in the fullest range: this includes classes and theatre work groups in schools, independent groups, and youth clubs at theatres. Theatre groups are required irrespective of whether they choose theatre texts, or use researched or biographical material as a starting point for their productions, or whether they choose their own themes, or articulate views and develop their own appropriate artistic form for these on stage. Applications must include a recording of a performance or a complete rehearsal run-through.

The selection

A jury of 9 members will select the award winners. The expert jury – made up of theatre educators, theatre teachers and two former participants among others – will select around twenty productions from the applications. After visiting performances of the pre-selected plays and talks with the ensembles, eight award-winning productions will be invited to Berlin. The central focus of the jury is on perspectives that pertain specifically to young people, and the appropriate development and realisation of the material by the entire ensemble. Rather than perfect acting skills, the personality and attitude of the performers play a decisive role for an invitation to the Theatertreffen der Jugend.

The performances

Every day, one of the eight selected ensembles will perform their productions in front of an audience at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele. To set up and rehearse, each ensemble will be allocated one day and the entire technical support of the Berliner Festspiele. All performances will be recorded.

The Treffen

Aside from the public performances, the interaction of groups is equally, if not more, important. The Campus of the Theatertreffen der Jugend offers many opportunities for this via various theatre workshops, performance talks and discussions, and through a mentor principle. The open and inquisitive ambiance created during the festival, especially in our inviting Berliner Festspiele garden, also offers manifold opportunities besides the festival programme to continue discussions on writing, acting and performing in a relaxed atmosphere. The daily festival newspaper will report about events in front of, on and behind the scenes. Former participants of other Berliner Festspiele contests complement the overall programme with readings and music.

The Forum

The Forum of the Theatertreffen der Jugend is aimed at theatre teachers and educators by means of a comprehensive programme. It includes many impulse and intensive workshops, as well as discursive formats for performance talks and thematic focal points. One of the main aims of the Forum is to provide opportunities for collegial exchange.

Statement by Elizabeth Blonzen & Rieke Oberländer
Camera & Editing: Josephine Fabian

Statement by Undine Unger & Bassam Ghazi
Camera & Editing: Josephine Fabian

Statement by Antigone Akgün & Sebastian Mauksch
Camera & Editing: Josephine Fabian

Statement by Carmen Grünwald-Waack & Klaus Riedel
Camera & Editing: Josephine Fabian

Statement by Anne-Kathrin Holz & Ilias Botseas
Camera & Editing: Josephine Fabian

Antigone Akgün, Frankfurt am Main

Born in Frankfurt/Main in 1993. She studies theatre, film and media studies, Greek philology, philosophy and classical archeology at the Goethe University Frankfurt. Parallel to her studies, she has already worked on- and backstage with Lina Majdalanie, Laurent Chétouane, Felix Rothenhäusler and Prodomos Tsinikoris. She was a fellow of the Ancient Greek Drama School in Epidaurus in 2013 and has been a member of the European Network for Research and Documentation of Performances of Ancient Greek Theatre since 2014. In addition to her studies, she has created various works as a freelance performance artist and author in various languages. She has won award from several institutions, among them Freies Deutsches Hochstift and the Hessian Association of Classical Philologists, and in the international competition Certamen Ciceronianum Arpinas. She has been a member of Junges Schauspiel Frankfurt since 2015 and took part in its guest performance of “Frankfurt Babel” at the 37th Theatertreffen der Jugend and at Festiwalla 2016.

Elizabeth Blonzen, Berlin

Born in Gerolstein/Eifel in 1968. From 1988 to 1990, she studied German philology, philosophy and psychology in Essen and Munich. From 1990 to 1993, she studied acting at Otto-Falckenberg-Schule in Munich. This was followed by engagements at numerous theatres, among them Münchner Kammerspiele, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Schauspielhaus Bochum, Schaubühne Berlin and Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg. Since 2004, she has also worked as an author. Her first television screenplay was produced by ARD in 2008. The cinema short film “Doppelpass” (2012) was screened at the “11mm” Film Festival in Berlin, at a film festival in Rio de Janeiro and various others. In 2013, she received the special jury award at the Neiße Film Festival. In 2013, she acted in the world premiere of the play “Schwarz tragen” at Ballhaus Naunynstraße. She has been a guest actor at Maxim Gorki Theater since 2013.

Ilias Botseas, Griesheim

Ilias Botseas was born in Griesheim in 1995. He is studying Drama Studies and Communication Sciences at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz. From 2013 to 2014, he was an actor in TEGS, the theatre group of the Ernst-Göbel-Schule in Höchst/Odenwald; from 2015 he was their co-dramaturg and assistant director. Since 2013, he has been involved in planning, assisting and performing, both in- and outside of school, at award ceremonies, seminars, theatre education programmes and a theatre project week directed by Eleonora Venado. In 2014, he was in the company invited to Hessische Schultheatertage with “Käthchen”. Between 2014 and 2016, he took part in various performances at Theaterfestival Korbach and as part of TEGS was shortlisted for presentation at the Theatertreffen der Jugend in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, he was involved in the alumni project “unantastbar” at Tanztreffen der Jugend 2017, directed by Kadir Amigo Memis and Adrian Figueroa.

Bassam Ghazi, Cologne

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1974. He is a theatre educator and director at Schauspiel Köln. Since 2005, he has been developing docu-fictional theatre projects both with the Import Export theatre collective and the mix cultured / abled / aged experts. The actors are trading in history and stories, travelling between cultures and perspectives: biographical & documentary & post-migrant & diverse & inclusive. Bassam Ghazi has worked with GRIPS Theater Berlin, COMEDIA Theater Köln, Street Theatre Leon/Nicaragua, Forum Civil Peace Service in Beirut, GIZ Jordan, Zukunftsakademie NRW and the Sommerblut Festival in Cologne. He teaches at Cologne University and has held workshops and training programmes on the topics of diversity, inclusion, migration, discrimination and racism. He is a member of the Bündnis kritischer Kulturpraktiker_innen (Union of critical theatre practitioners).

Carmen Grünwald-Waack, Hildesheim

Born in 1981 in Gießen. Studied Cultural Studies and Aesthetic Practice at the University of Hildesheim with a major focus on theatre. Since 1990, she has worked on her own artistic projects. Theatre education work since 1996, among others with the German Scout Association, on the Bolivian street project Ojo Morado, at the Junges Schauspiel Hannover and at the UnArt-Festival in Dresden und Berlin. Co-founded the Hildesheim theatre and performance collective Fräulein Wunder AG in 2006. Young jury member at the Theatertreffen der Jugend in 2008 and 2009. Teacher at the University of Hanover on the study programme Performing Arts, at the HBK Braunschweig, at the UDK Berlin and at the University of Hildesheim. Director of Theatre Education/Junges Staatstheater at the Staatstheater Braunschweig in 2010.

Anne-Kathrin Holz, Schwerin

Born in 1963 in Güstrow, Mecklenburg. Studied at the Leipzig University and in Rostock. She has taught theatre, German and history at the Goethe Gymnasium Schwerin since 1991, where she founded acting as a compulsory elective subject, and as an upper school elementary course. Since 1991 she has been the ensemble director of the theatre group TaGGS, and develops and advises the annual school theatre productions for secondary level pupils. She has been invited several times with these productions to the Theatertreffen der Jugend and to the Schultheater der Länder (SdL). At the SdL 2013 in Schwerin, she was part of the festival preparation team and ran the festival magazine “off”. She has led various theatre workshops including the prizewinners’ meeting of the Körber Foundation’s History Competition.

Sebastian Mauksch, Berlin

Born in 1971, he works as a freelance dramaturg in cultural education for theatre and performance art. He studied social and cultural work as well as theatre education in Kassel and Berlin. From 2001 to 2007, he was director of the P14 Youth Theatre at Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, where he created a wide range of productions and performances. The company was invited to numerous international festivals, among them Theatertreffen der Jugend and Bundestreffen der Theaterjugendclubs. Between 2004 and 2006, he contributed to “Rollende Road Show”, a mobile container theatre. From 2008, he has directed productions of texts by David Lindemann, Helene Hegemann and Anne Tismer at Ballhaus Ost Berlin. Since 2010, he has created various artistic projects with mentally ill participants at Theater Freiburg. Together with artists’ collective Club Real, he has been developing an art and research project on the natural history of schools since 2014, for schools in Berlin. He has been teaching seminars at FH Potsdam, University of the Arts Berlin, FH Osnabrück and the Polish Theatre Institute in Warsaw.

Rieke Oberländer, Bremen

Born in Braunschweig in 1982, she studied cultural studies, aesthetics and applied arts with a focus on theatre at the University of Hildesheim. She was a junior jury member at Theatertreffen der Jugend from 2003 to 2005 and became a jury member at various youth theatre festivals afterwards. From 2004 to 2007, she was the head of Stadttheater Hildesheim’s youth club. Since 2007, she has been a drama teacher and head of the department of theatre education at Theater Bremen, where she developed workshops for schools and educational institutions, teacher trainings as well as her own productions both with young and older people. From 2010 to 2015, she was director of the Forum at Theatertreffen der Jugend.

Klaus Riedel, Kassel

Born in 1969, director of studies and teacher for German, Politics and Performing Arts at the Modellschule Obersberg in Bad Hersfeld. Teacher trainer for performing arts and acting. Directs workshops on themes such as performing classics, theatre theory and didactics. Organiser of various theatre festivals. Invited to the Theatertreffen der Jugend and the Schultheater der Länder (School Theatre Across the Nation Festival) with several school theatre productions. Lecturer at the universities of Hanover and Zurich. Publications with Klett and Edition Körber-Stiftung as well as a co-author in the schoolbook series “Grundkurs Darstellendes Spiel” (Basic Performing Arts), Schroedel-Verlag. Lectureships at universities in Hanover and Zurich.

Lea Taake, Hannover

English biography coming soon.



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