Berliner Festspiele 70

Berliner Festspiele

Press release from 30 November 2020

Berliner Festspiele will turn 70 in 2021. To celebrate this occasion and in the hope of a positive development concerning the pandemic, Berliner Festspiele will launch their anniversary year at Gropius Bau with an interdisciplinary programme lasting several days and a “living archive” in March, and with international guest performances at the Festspielhaus featuring renowned artists as well as those as yet unknown in Germany. At the same time, Gropius Bau will hold the first comprehensive retrospective of the work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. The opera performance “Sun & Sea”, winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennial, will be presented as part of the series Immersion in June. 

On 5 September 1951, the first Berliner Festwochen, as they were originally called, were launched at Berlin’s Schillertheater. It was the beginning of an unusual festival history between East and West, in the theatre and public spaces, presenting pop and avant-garde, exhibitions of contemporary art, cinema and the cultures of the world. 2021 will be a year of more than one anniversary for Berliner Festspiele. Not only does the institution itself turn 70, but Gropius Bau was opened as a museum of applied arts 140 years ago and the festival MaerzMusik will see its 30th edition.

“Wild Times, Planetary Motions”
Live Art, Music and Installations at Gropius Bau
From 10 to 14 March 2021, a programme conceived jointly by all artistic directors and curators of Berliner Festspiele under the title “Wild Times, Planetary Motions” will take place at Gropius Bau. Artists including Jimmy Robert, Nikhil Chopra with Yuko Kaseki, Augustin Maurs, The Monochrome Project, Manuela Infante, Monira Al Qadiri & Raed Yassin, Olivia Wenzel, Alexander Hawkins & Siska and SERAFINE1369 will present installations and performances. The programme will be presented in a day version and a nocturnal version, each lasting six hours.

Archive 70 Years of Berliner Festspiele
As one part of “Wild Times, Planetary Motions”, seven archive spaces at Gropius Bau will investigate the relationship between Berliner Festspiele and non-European and Eastern European art and grant access to experimental formats of theatre, contemporary music, visual arts and in urban spaces. One of these archive spaces will turn into a “living archive”, rendering the Festspiele’s history tangible through the testimony of people who shared the institution’s history, of researchers, (former) employees and visitors. In 2021, the website will also present insights into Berliner Festspiele’s history in the form of photographs, films and a chronicle.

Yayoi Kusama's Retrospective at Gropius Bau
and Opera Performance “Sun & Sea” at Kühlhaus Berlin

Immediately following the collaborative project “Wild Times, Planetary Motions”, the first comprehensive retrospective of the work of Yayoi Kusama (19 March to 1 August 2021) in Germany will open at Gropius Bau. Curated by Stephanie Rosenthal, this exhibition will present the work one of Japan’s most distinguished contemporary artists in an unusual concept. On an area of nearly 3000 m², her central creative periods from more than 70 years are outlined. The retrospective also includes a number of current works, among them a new Infinity Mirror Room. 

As part of the programme series Immersion, the opera performance “Sun & Sea” by the artists Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė, winner of the Golden Lion at the Biennale di Venezia, will be presented at Kühlhaus Berlin (10 to 13 & 15 to 17 June 2021).

International Guest Performances, Co-productions and Festivals at Haus der Berliner Festspiele
During a short hiatus in the refurbishment of Haus der Berliner Festspiele in spring 2021, we will present international guest performances and co-productions there. The first will be “INFINI 1-17” by scenographer Jozef Wouters (5 to 6 March 2021), followed by “Temple du Présent. Solo for an Octopus” by director Stefan Kaegi (Rimini Protokoll) in collaboration with Judith Zagury and Nathalie Küttel (ShanjuLab), (9 to 11 March 2021). The choreographer and dancer Anna Teresa De Keersmaekers (Rosas) will perform the German premiere of her solo “The Goldberg Variations, BWV 988” (25 to 26 March 2021) as part of MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues. “Outwitting the Devil” by choreographer Akram Khan (8 to 10 April 2021) is a Berlin premiere, and “Screws”, a parcours devised by circus artist and choreographer Alexander Vantournhout will be seen in Germany for the first time (9 to 11 April 2021). The series of guest performances will be concluded by a performance trilogy that Berliner Festspiele co-produced: “Porca Miseria” by choreographer and dancer Trajal Harrell (17 to 18 April 2021).

Furthermore, and COVID-19 conditions notwithstanding, Berliner Festspiele will implement their festivals MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues (19 to 28 March 2021), Theatertreffen (7 to 23 May 2021) and Theatertreffen der Jugend as part of the National Contests (28 May to 5 June 2021) at Haus der Berliner Festspiele, at external venues or online. As in the previous year, we aim to make the projects and festivals accessible to as many people as possible while taking pandemic developments into account – in the hope of continuing to provide performance and production opportunities to the many contemporary artists concerned.

Further Information
We will continue to keep you updated about the state of our programming and our safety concepts concerning the pandemic. More detailed information on the programme will be announced early next year. Advance ticket sales are expected to begin in February 2021.

Please find more information about the anniversary 70 Years of Berliner Festspiele on Berliner Festspiele’s website. Press photos are available for download in Berliner Festspiele’s press section.

Press Contact:
Sara Franke, Trang Vu Thuy

Tel. +49 30 254 89 -269/ -267

Follow us: