Stückemarkt: General information

Since 1978 the Theatertreffen’s Stückemarkt has been a festival to discover unknown playwrights from all over Europe. As the oldest initiative for promoting contemporary playwriting in the German-speaking theatre, it has been successfully engaged in the long-term development of playwrights for 40 years and is a forum for exchange between international playwrights, theatre-makers, festival curators, publishers and critics.

In 2012, the Stückemarkt began a process of opening itself to a contemporary concept of authorship. Today, the Stückemarkt is looking for new forms of authorship and innovative theatre languages. In an international, open competition, authors can submit both theatre texts and theatre projects that focus on the medium of language. A jury of five artists will select five works from among the submissions. The selected works will be presented in a format that corresponds to their forms – as performances, staged readings, site-specific formats etc.

The Stückemarkt at the Theatertreffen is unique. In 1978 it was founded as the first-ever funding initiative for new drama in German-speaking countries. Before then, little support existed for playwrights, there was no platform for unperformed stage plays and there were certainly no writing schools for emerging dramatists. The Stückemarkt aimed first and foremost to introduce new drama into theatre repertoires.

Since its founding, a total of 203 playwrights have participated in the Stückemarkt. Many of these play a defining role nowadays in the new drama of theatre repertoires, starting with Elfriede Jelinek whose play “Was geschah, nachdem Nora ihren Mann verlassen hatte oder Stützen der Gesellschaft” (What Happened After Nora Left her Husband or Pillars of Society) was invited to the festival in its first year and which had hitherto been an insider’s tip in Austria.

During the first twenty years of the festival, the artistic directors of the Stückemarkt annually selected five plays whose premiere rights were still free to present to a wider audience during the Theatertreffen. At that time, there was no jury: the Stückemarkt director was solely responsible for the programme. In 2003 the Stückemarkt widened its selection to include playwrights from all over Europe, and scripts could be submitted in their original language. A contest for unknown playwrights developed out of the presentation of new drama for theatre-makers. Since then, an expert jury has sifted through hundreds of plays, of which five to seven are presented during the Theatertreffen as staged readings. In the past ten years, the Stückemarkt has provided new impetus for the support of dramatists, placed its focus on new and re-discoveries in stage writing, and on continual support: prizes and commissioned works, as well as cooperation with theatre partners and a radio broadcaster have been introduced, an international network has been set up, plays have been translated into English, master classes and dramatist workshops have been carried out and a one-year mentorship for playwrights has been established. With the TT symposium “Schleudergang Neue Dramatik” (New Drama In A Spin) – the Stückemarkt took further steps in collaborating between dramatists and theatres, such as the expansion of playwrights-in-residence. In 2012 the Stückemarkt broadened its definition of authorship: For the first time, projects by theatre collectives were admissible too. A performer-duo was invited to develop its concept in the newly founded project laboratory and to present the result during the Stückemarkt.

On its 35th anniversary in 2013 the Stückemarkt took stock and looked to the future: 35 playwrights who had already been invited to the Stückemarkt were presented once again with a new work. 30 authors wrote short texts on the theme of “Wohin? Verfall und Untergang der westlichen Zivilisation” (Where to? The Decline and Fall of Western Civilisation), and five deceased Stückemarkt playwrights who had shaped contemporary dramatic writing were presented in an archive of dramatists. The events took place as a site-specific project in the historic Pan Am Lounge. The anniversary edition playwrights included Herbert Achternbusch, John von Düffel, Elfriede Jelinek, Oliver Kluck, Dirk Laucke, Anne Lepper, Philipp Löhle, Wolfram Lotz, Marius von Mayenburg, Roland Schimmelpfennig, Einar Schleef, Werner Schwab and Nis-Momme Stockmann.

In 2014 the festival continued to present new models of authorship that had begun with the project laboratory in 2012 and the festival anniversary in 2013: For the 36th edition of the Stückemarkt, three Theatertreffen mentors went in search of artists developing new forms of theatrical expression. In 2015, the selection process for the Stückemarkt was developed further: A jury of five artists and an open competition were reinstated, and new selection criteria were introduced, applicable to both theatre texts and theatre projects alike. Since 2016, the Stückemarkt has been awarding a commission of work in cooperation with the Federal Agency for Civic Education. With the 2019 Stückemarkt, the competition will be launch for the first time world-wide.

Maria Nübling
© Christoph Blaas

Maria Nübling

has been a dramaturg at the Theatertreffen since 2017 and the Head of Theatertreffen’s Stückemarkt since 2018/2019. She was born in Hildesheim in 1989 and studied Drama Studies and Comparative Literature at Freie Universität Berlin. During her studies, she was a dramaturgy intern and assistant at Münchner Kammerspiele, Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, Staatsschauspiel Dresden, PATHOS Theater in Munich and Schauspiel Stuttgart. Together with Christina Gassen, she initiated and organised the symposium “Theater.Frauen” in 2015, which addressed gender inequality in the theatre, and is co-director of the initiative with the same name. From 2015 to 2017, she was a dramaturgy assistant at Schauspiel Stuttgart, where she initially assisted in productions by Jossi Wieler, Schorsch Kamerun and Sebastian Hartmann, before working with Sébastien Jacobi, Thomas Schmauser, Armin Petras and Eugene Jebeleanu and curating a monthly discussion series in cooperation with the initiative “Die Offene Gesellschaft”.

Tel + 49 30 254 89-231

Stephanie Richter

Stephanie Richter

is an assistant dramaturge at Theatertreffen and since 2018/2019 member of the Stückemarkt staff after supporting the International Forum and the Theatertreffen editorial staff in the years before. She studied Cultural Sciences at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder, Journalism and Dramaturgy at Edinburgh Napier University and Socio-Cultural Studies and Theatre Studies at the European Napier University Frankfurt/Oder and at Freie Universität Berlin. Internships took her to Deutsches Theater Berlin and TUSCH Berlin and she acted in the Youth Club of Maxim Gorki Theater. Furthermore, she co-created the theatre festival UNITHEA and the art festival “ART an der Grenze” in Frankfurt/Oder and realised her own projects at TIK Berlin and at Schlesische 27.

Tel + 49 30 254 89-200

Theatre Library of the Goethe-Institut

The Goethe-Institut has been promoting the dissemination of contemporary German playwriting abroad for many years. In order to improve access to the translations which have been created in many languages during this process, the Goethe-Institut offers the possibility to request translations by email or order them from agencies. The Theatre Library currently contains around 650 titles in 40 languages – simply order them by email, anywhere in the world, free of charge.


The Stückemarkt Commission is funded by the

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Database 1964-2018

The database with all productions, theatres and directors since 1964 as well as the Stückemarkt authors.