(Thinking)Room for Theatre
Discussion between independent theatre and dance artists and municpal and state theatres
The independent performing arts have clearly gained social relevance and visibility in recent years. They have been responsible for key innovations both aesthetically and in organizational terms. Now independent theatres have reached the Theatertreffen – an indicator that the gulf which was once supposed to exist between independent and subsidized municipal and state theatres is slowly disappearing?
As a consequence of the changing employment market, more than half of all performing artists are now self-employed. Trained dancers, actors and directors are increasingly becoming freelance immediately on graduation. It is almost impossible to integrate this enormous increase with the existing funding structures, with the result that working in the theatre today is regularly based on self-exploitation. By contrast, the permanent theatres offer comparative stability and a solid infrastructure, however, they too are under increasing pressure both financially and to justify themselves.
The question of theatre’s significance in society arises in renewed form in the face of such shifting social, global and media contexts. In order to react to this, collective re-thinking and an extension of the existing collaborations between independent companies and the municipal and state theatres seems to be necessary. Opening up the possibilities of new and practical forms of co-operation between the independent and municipal and state theatres is called for – on an equal basis.
What does the relationship between the municipal theatres and the independent scene look like now, what are the aesthetic, structural and production approaches which define both sides, and where are they compatible and where do they diverge? Can both systems’ visions of the future lead in a constructive direction?
Fanni Halmburger performer / She She Pop
Martin Stiefermann choreographer
Matthias Lilienthal artistic director and managing director of the HAU
Barbara Kisseler culture senator, Hamburg
Barbara Mundel artistic director Theater Freiburg
Christiane Theobald spokesperson of the BBTK, deputy artistic director and producer for Berlin State Ballet
Moderation Barbara Gronau