Theatertreffen

Theatertreffen-Blog: General information

Selected emerging cultural journalists, photographers, video journalists, bloggers and radio journalists have covered the goings-on of the Theatertreffen since 2009 at www.theatertreffen-blog.de. This project accompanying the most significant festival for German-language theatre develops online know-how among new talent in cultural journalism, new journalistic formats for the internet, makes the festival goings-on more transparent and accessible for all those interested and documents the various aspects of the contemporary theatre scene in words, images, text and sound in the form of a multi-media archive.

Relocating the festival newspaper – which was produced from 2005 to 2008 in cooperation with the Berliner Zeitung – to the internet expanded the reach and transparency of the festival’s coverage: discussions on the productions invited to the festival could be followed independently of time or place, and audiences were able to contribute their views via the comments section. The expansion of the call for submissions to include not only German but also English-speakers participants led to a more international tenor in the debates. And not least of all, requiring participants to have their own blog produced a selection of contributors who were already active online.

The TT-Blog has developed into its own independent digital brand, and was linked by Guardian Online, nachtkritik.de and the feminist blog maedchenmannschaft.net, among others, as an original source. The TT-Blog’s media partners include the “Berliner Zeitung”, “EXBERLINER”, 3sat/Kulturzeit, kultiversum.de, “Theater der Zeit”, ZEIT ONLINE and blogger Mary Sherpe from http://stilinberlin.blogspot.com as well as Johanna von Stülpnagel from http://redenswinger.de/blog. These partners have given staff support to the blog editorial team and its work by releasing journalists from work to act as mentors, media support in terms of linking, and content support through their own reviews and postings.

From 2011 to 2015 the TT-Blog was funded by the Rudolf Augstein Foundation. Since 2016 the TT-Blog has been funded by Stiftung Presse-Haus NRZ.

Theatertreffen-Blog 2017

“Believing in the theatre” - this was one of the headlines of the Theatertreffen-blog’s ninth edition, which was conducted as part of the 54th Berlin Theatertreffen. Whether and how we can still “believe in the theatre” was a question that not only the festival had to address in these highly politicized times; the six authors involved in the Theatertreffen-blog also found themselves repeatedly revolving around this issue in their articles, interviews and essays. Thanks to the funding provided by the Stiftung Presse-Haus NRZ, who acted as the project’s main sponsor for the second time this year, we were able to assemble an editing team by no means limited to “theatre specialists” or, even less, to “insiders”. We were interested in how (political) philosophy and neighbouring arts see the theatre and the six authors we invited from Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Leipzig and Baden-Baden provided precisely these perspectives. After having very successfully cooperated with a professional theatre photographer in 2016, the blog was once more able to convince someone to join the editing team who would be mainly responsible for the project’s visual signature: Alexandra Klobouk from Berlin, cultural illustrator and winner of several awards, contributed sketches, illustrated impressions from productions and interviews which were met with great enthusiasm. Among the highlights of her work were the portraits she drew of our interview guests, among them jury member Christian Rakow, Bonn Park, who won the Stückemarkt commission of work, and International Forum fellow Heves Duygu Tüzün.

Once again, the Theatertreffen-blog authors did their “duty” as festival chroniclers, documenting, commenting on and reviewing the Theatertreffen’s performances and events in more than 80 articles, conducting interviews with artists and Theatertreffen-directors, producing audio reports as well as photo and video series. A special feature this year was the illustrated “Theatertreffen A to Z”, an often tongue-in-cheek glossary of Theatertreffen-terms. The Theatertreffen-blog’s articles were again received with great interest, particularly by our fellow journalists, and shared via social media. Based on research conducted by the Theatertreffen-blog, journalist Barbara Behrendt produced a radio feature for Deutschlandfunk Kultur on the issue of how to handle problematic language on the theatre stage.

Around 6,500 visitors a month turned to the Theatertreffen-blog for information on the festival. On Twitter, the latest count of followers for the blog was 1,208.

Janis El-Bira
Project director TT-Blog 2017

The TT-blog has been supported by Stiftung Presse-Haus NRZ since 2016. Our media partners are “Berliner Zeitung” and the English-language monthly magazine “EXBERLINER”. We would like to thank our partners for their support.

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Theatertreffen-Blog 2016

Hello from the Other Side

The eighth edition of the Theatertreffen-Blog in 2016 initially faced a change of circumstances. Because a change in their sponsoring regulations caused a longstanding sponsor to withdraw, the new heads of the project set out to develop an intermediate concept which would take their decreased financial resources into account. Thankfully, shortly before the preparations were complete, we were able to welcome Stiftung Presse-Haus NRZ as a new main sponsor of the blog, which made it possible to once again select a blog-team of six members from among the approximately 80 applications received: Five bloggers (from Vienna, Munich and Berlin) were joined by a professional photographer (Munich), who managed to contribute her very own signature to the appearance of the blog. As a permanent guest, the theatre editor of the magazine “EXBERLINER” was in charge of the English-language content.

The project’s new directors aimed for a closer approximation to the classic arts pages and a more simple, user-friendly design of the blog. They developed a new user interface which followed magazine-like formats and provided a high degree of flexibility with regards to the daily process of publishing a digital paper.

The main events of the 53rd Theatertreffen were at the centre of our coverage: All invited productions, all shows presented at the Stückemarkt as well as a selection of events in the festival’s other sections were reviewed in text, image or sound. The bloggers also covered nearly all of the discursive events at the Camp and incorporated their observations into a series of essays with several parts. Their particular interest lay in the festival’s overall dramaturgy and its self-understanding, in the connecting lines between visual art and theatre and in how the theatre positions itself in society and the media.

Additionally, the blog featured many extensive interviews, including conversations with the directors Daniela Löffner and Anna-Sophie Mahler, the author and journalist Dietmar Dath and the critic and member of the Theatertreffen-jury Andreas Wilink. Other essays commented on the architecture and styling of the Festspielhaus or popular events like the TT-Party. The video series “Hello from the Other Side” gave a voice to some of the often “invisible” people from behind the Theatertreffen’s scenes. We were particularly happy about the fact that actor Wiebke Puls once again joined the blog. Her video series “Entre nous…” showed her in conversation with her fellow actors. These interviews among peers, which shone a light particularly on the craft of acting, were met with great interest and acclaim.

There was intense discussion on the blog about the pitching event for the commission of a new work. This event was hosted for the first time this year and the blog dedicated a sub-page to its presentation and live-streaming. Guest articles and the bloggers own observations provided commentary on the event from various points of view.

More than 10,000 visitors turned to the blog for information about the 53rd Berliner Theatertreffen. 922 users follow us on Twitter.

Janis El-Bira
Project director TT-Blog 2016

In 2016, Stiftung Presse-Haus NRZ became the main sponsor of the TT-Blog. The “Berliner Zeitung” and the English-language monthly magazine “EXBERLINER” are media partners. We would like to thank our partners for their support.

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Theatertreffen-Blog 2015

Laboratory for real-time observation

2015 saw the seventh edition of the Theatertreffen-Blog. The blog-orchestra for the TT Blog 2015 was once again selected from among more than 100 applicants: The emerging culture journalists and young professional theatre critics from various backgrounds came from Vienna, Stuttgart, Berlin, Mainz, Leipzig, Hamburg, Portland/Oregon and London. They reported both in German and English, using text, images, audio and video.

Of course, the blog’s main focus was the programme of the Theatertreffen. The current social, cultural and political debate, however, was taken up and discussed in various forms. In total, there were 128 posts. The TT Blog investigates all issues concerning the field of Theatre & Internet and the future of theatre criticism. This year, several new formats were explored – among them a collective Whatsapp-review, which was published in print in collaboration with the magazine “Die Deutsche Bühne”. There were concerted audio-discourses and a SoundCloud-channel, where selected texts were read by two actors. The most unusual example of reviews in innovative forms was the “choose your own adventure”-approach: our Twine-review. In 2015, the TT Blog also paid special attention to the debate about “Theatre and Refugee Policy” and the human rights campaign “My Right is your Right”. Video interviews of the refugee chorus from the production “Die Schutzbefohlenen (The Supplicants)” were produced, as was a continuous video series featuring personalities from the German-language theatre scene, who discussed the question of “What can and should the theatre do, what is it allowed to do?” with the video mentor Özgür Uludag.

There was also extended coverage of the Stückemarkt, the debates on political writing and new forms of authorship. There were interviews and reviews on the work of the five invited Stückemarkt-authors, Stefan Wipplinger, Alexander Manuiloff, Tom Struyf, Alexandra Badea and Daniel Cremer. A copyright dispute between the heirs of Bertolt Brecht and the Munich Residenztheater’s production of “Baal” featured prominently in a debate about the significance of authorship today. The blog welcomed actress Wiebke Puls as a guest author, which was one of the greatest highlights of the year. She joined the blog orchestra for four days, taking part in editorial meetings and seeing performances with us. Her contribution “Lackmustest (Litmus test)”, which deals with the essence of acting and “biography as material”, was frequently praised and commented. Wiebke Puls read her own text as a recording which was included in the TT Blog’s SoundCloud audio collection. Video artist Hannah Dörr once again provided “TTin200Sek”, a daily piece that showed her take of the Theatertreffen.

Up to 1,800 users visited the Theatertreffen-Blog each day; it had 635 followers on Twitter. This year, the website www.theatertreffen-blog.de once again appeared in the tried and tested responsive tile design, which was particularly well suited for clearly presenting the increasingly pictorial content. For the fifth time, the blog was sponsored by the Rudolf Augstein Stiftung. Its media partners were “Berliner Zeitung” and “EXBERLINER”.

Bianca Praetorius and Franziska Schurr
Directors Theatertreffen-Blog 2015

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Theatertreffen-Blog 2014

The Theatertreffen Blog as a “laboratory for real-time observation”

The Theatertreffen Blog took place for the sixth time in 2014. A six-person blog team – a graphic designer, video artist, writer, dramaturge, theatre academic and cultural journalist – from the cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Paris and Vienna reported in German, English and French, in text, image and sound. Their postings shed light not only the Theatertreffen programme, but also contemporary social and cultural discourse in the form of graphics, video clips, sketches, photos, audio files and essays. 140 postings were created in total.

Particular focus was placed on the issue of “Theater und Netz” (Theatre and the Internet), which found expression in the blog’s publications, the coverage of the eponymous conference at the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, a tweetup in cooperation with the magazine “Die Deutsche Bühne”, and blogger Manuel Braun’s keynote for the opening of this year’s Theatertreffen Camp.

The blog continue to debate allegations of plagiarism and the perpetuation of colonialism in Alain Platel’s production “tauberbach”, and campaigned for the release of the author Jörg Albrecht in Abu Dhabi.

Unconventional formats were very popular: for example, the “Zigarettenkritik” (cigarette review), in which bloggers exchanged their views of a production straight after its performance for the length of time it takes to smoke a cigarette, as well as interviews with prominent internet names (Clara Hitzel, Maike Hank) and dressing-room interviews with the final witnesses (from “The Final Witnesses” by Matthias Hartmann) from Vienna. For the second time running, the blog offered an exclusive insight into the work of the International Forum and published a Camp report every day by the video artist Hannah Dörr.

Up to 1,000 users clicked on the Theatertertreffen Blog each day, and 270 followed on Twitter. The www.theatertreffen-blog.de website had a new, visually stronger design in 2014, a dynamic ‘tiled look’ reflecting the bloggers’ artistic background and the reinforcing the visual nature of their formats.

Under the new direction of Bianca Praetorius with editorial assistance from Eefke Kleimann, the project was funded by the Rudolf Augstein Foundation for the fourth time. Media partners were the “Berliner Zeitung” and the “EXBERLINER”.

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Theatertreffen-Blog 2013

Extended PR? Lobby blog? Or an independent group of critics? A festival blog always has to locate itself somewhere along the spectrum of loyalty to the event organiser and its own independent opinion. The TT blog, which celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2013 and therefore has a short history to look back on, has always tried to straddle this divide in the case that there was one, and to establish its own critical distance. In so doing, it has attempted to avoid being a festival blog in the classic sense, taking on the character of a three-week editorial team-in-progress, in both the area of online cultural journalism and the Theatertreffen Academy. Every generation of TT bloggers has taken part in their own, independent debates (whether on the subject of “post-migrant” theatre, gender debates or the generation conflict in directors, as in previous years) that did not directly reflect the Theatertreffen but were related discussions derived from its themes. In 2013, the practice of “blackfacing” was questioned, as used in the Theatertreffen guest production of “Die heilige Johanna der Schlachthöfe”. Berlin’s role as a creative mecca was said to be over, and British theatre-makers’ gave their views of the German language scene.

In the five-person editorial team, Eva Biringer and Clemens Melzer were responsible for the German coverage of the festival, Henrike Terheyden developed “drawing critiques” – illustrated approaches to performances and a cartoon series with the blog mascot, Otto; Mai Vendelbo took photographs of and around the festival, such as a comprehensive photo story of all the venues over 50 years of the Theatertreffen; Summer Banks, the EXBERLINER theatre journalist, wrote the English language blog posts. For the first time, two International Forum fellows participated, namely video artists Rebecca Riedel and Mieke Ulfig, who presented their video logbook TTtv every day on the blog.

On the occasion of the blog’s fifth anniversary, seven alumni bloggers offered guest pieces that dealt with more fundamental themes such as the purpose of the festival or the typology of the staged readings. From 3-22 May, 120 blog posts were written in German, which were commented on 130 times, and 1,300 visitors landed on the www.theatertreffen-blog.de website. The design and realisation were created by Viktor Nübel, the intern was Eefke Kleiman and the project manager and chief editor was Nikola Richter.

The Berliner Zeitung, which has supported the tt festival magazine since 2005 and the Theatertreffen blog since 2009, continued it long-term partnership with the Theatertreffen blog in 2013, with Dirk Pilz as the bloggers’ mentor.

The Theatertreffen blog was supported for the third time by the Rudolf Augstein Stiftung.

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Theatertreffen-Blog 2012

And so it has been done, the blog entries have been written. For the fourth time, young digital cultural critics accompanied the Theatertreffen, adding their views to the many discussions surrounding the festival. The 2012 team of six selected participants was more interdisciplinary than ever before, consisting of an illustrator, a film-making cultural journalist and a photographer who doubles as a critic.

The number of users increased once again this year. An average of 1,200 unique visitors clicked on the TT blog every day during the festival and a total of 35,000 visitors and 355,000 page impressions were recorded from mid-February to the end of May. In the TT blog archive, there are some 120 entries with 150 comments on Theatertreffen 2012.

And once again, the blog proved its journalistic versatility, either in interviews (Gob Squad, Nicolas Stemann and Thomas Oberender), a visit to the Ernst Busch University basecamp set up by student protesters, a reportage on an outing with politicians for cultural affairs, prize-winning critics or research on the subject of time by participants of the International Forum. In this variety of ways, the blog has demonstrated how an internet-savvy generation communicate, also beyond the borders of the Berliner Festspiele. And at the same time, it is an archive of the Theatertreffen diverse facets.

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Theatertreffen-Blog 2011

Reviews, laboratory, archive and network – Seven participants from Germany, Israel, Austria, Switzerland and the USA were selected from a range of international applicants and produced their own contributions in German and English. They took part in regular planning meetings and seminars on video journalism, theatre photography and theatre criticism, visited Theatertreffen productions, conducted interviews, conceived their own formats such as the ‘Guttenberg’ review, the dialogue review, ‘left of the circle’ or the ‘She He Chat’, and explored the technical possibilities of online arts reporting. Working together with the editors of our media partners Berliner Zeitung (Dirk Pilz), exberliner (Florian Duijsens) and Kultiversum.de (Sophie Diesselhorst) and supported by the illustrations of the cartoonist Johanna von Stülpnagel the young culture bloggers reported live around the clock for almost three weeks in a wide range of styles about all aspects of the festival. In 2011 the Rudolf Augstein Stiftung sponsored the Theatertreffen blog for the first time.

A positive development: in 2011 the blog was recognized as an independent medium. Interview requests came in by e-mail from other festivals and bloggers asked for banners with links. The three more heated debates conducted on the blog, about the differences between German and British theatre, about the director Herbert Fritsch’s use of the word “Luder” and the interview with Iris Laufenberg, where she looked back on her time at the Theatertreffen, were all linked to the right places: Guardian Online, Mädchenmannschaft.net and nachtkritik.de. There was also a formal debate about whether a ‘Live-Blog’, which is known in the German-speaking world mainly as a means of football commentary, might also work for platform debates. User numbers were in line with the previous year: with around 1,000 individual visitors per day, the blog reaches a theatre-literate readership on the net. In total we counted 27,000 visits and 150,000 page hits.

The blog is now archiving around 140 articles on the 2011 festival including voxpops, photos, picture galleries in sound, essays and audience views, as well as 250 comments. The debate about contemporary theatre continues, this year’s tt bloggers have come together and will continue to exchange views through Twitter hashtag #tt11.

Visit Theatertreffen-Blog 2011

Theatertreffen-Blog 2010

Laptops, cameras, rucksacks and recorders were in use non-stop for three weeks. Eight young arts journalists, one of whom was English-speaking, captured all the action in the German-speaking theatre for the 2010 Theatertreffen-Blog: tt blogging in 2010 covered a lot of fundamental questions alongside debates on the merits of the productions invited to tt10, such as the decline of the Botho Strauß generation and the preciousness of the big critics, the people behind the scenes, the ubiquitous current crisis, working conditions in the theatre, especially in independent productions, alternatives to the list of invitations to the tt, and yes: about the meaning and purpose of theatre, intrinsically and going forward into the future. There were around 140 multimedia articles on the visiting productions, the Stückemarkt, the International Forum and the additional programme, supported by the mentors Dirk Pilz (Berliner Zeitung, nachtkritik) and Stefan Brausshausen (3Sat/kulturzeit). Sophie Diesselhorst (kultiversum) provided editorial support and Thomas Aurin explained the work of a theatre photographer. User numbers doubled from 2009: 14,938 visitors made 23,219 visits and hit a total of 227,828 pages. This means that every reader who looked at the blog read an average of 9.81 pages – enough to construct their own individual theatre newspaper without having to wait for delivery, go to a newsagent or recycle the pages afterwards.

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Theatertreffen-Blog 2009

The Theatertreffen blog is a step forward in both journalistic and media terms from the previous tt festival newspaper and the Theatertreffen’s productive collaboration with the Berliner Zeitung. 2009 ZEIT ONLINE and Theater der Zeit also joined us as cooperative partners. Professional arts journalists like Dirk Pilz (Berliner Zeitung, nachtkritik.de), Rabea Weihser and Dirk Hugendick (ZEIT ONLINE) tutored the daily editorial sessions. Nicole Gronemeyer (Theater der Zeit Verlag) was helping with final editing. Further support was provided by the guest mentors Teresa Bücker (community management, Freitag.de) and Kyo Mali Jung (video journalist, ZDF). They focused on new forms of online journalism and collaborated with the seven blog editors to achieve stronger links between theory and practice.

The blog was intended to concentrate less on traditional reviews – there are enough of these for the all the invited productions – and focused instead on individual, direct and contemporary approaches to the festival and to making theatre. It could extend the Theatertreffen’s reach out beyond its specific venues and indeed beyond the capital.

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Statements of Theatertreffen Blog 2009

Anna Postels

The blog: a real work-in-progress product, in the beginning serious journalism, later more personal, surprising, blogging and nevertheless always true to the aims of journalism. Conclusion: Especially the quickness, the directness and the transitory nature of theatre perfectly fit the personal character of blogging! Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before…

Statements of Theatertreffen Blog 2009

Matthias Weigel

Remarkable: the atmosphere in the tt-blog-team. We enjoyed exhausting ourselves for the tt09.

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Theatertreffen

Database 1964-2018

The database with all productions, theatres and directors since 1964 as well as the St├╝ckemarkt authors.