A group of people stand in the garden of the Haus der Berliner Festspiele at night.

© Berliner Festspiele, photo: Fabian Schellhorn


Aspiring arts journalists, authors and theatre enthusiasts will attend and critically reflect Theatertreffen on theatertreffen-blog.de as well as on Instagram.

The 2024 Theatertreffen-Blog

An illuminated yellow poster with the words “Theatertreffen” as well as a string of lights and silhouettes of people in a dark surrounding.

Eröffnung Theatertreffen 2024

© Berliner Festspiele, photo: Fabian Schellhorn

“Reviews are the worst thing about this job,” comments director Jette Steckel, invited to the 2024 Theatertreffen with “Die Vaterlosen”, in a guest article written for the Theatertreffen-Blog. Here young art journalists took a critical look at the 10 productions and themes all around the Theatertreffen. Reviews, essays and interviews were published continuously throughout the festival. You can read, for example, about “Lord of the Rings” fan Leonard Haverkamp’s experience of the accessible installation “Riesenhaft in Mittelerde”™ or Marta Ivkić’s review of “Bucket List”. And you can also learn more about the creative interactions of the 29 participants in the International Forum in Elliot Douglas’s article “The power of collaborative theatre”.

Perspectives on Theatre Criticism

Art and criticism: They need each other and they squabble. Knowing your opponent’s standpoint can help to hone your own point of view.

By Grete Götze

Responsible for Conception and editing Theatertreffen-Blog 2024

The relationship between art and criticism has always been fraught. Goethe’s 18th century quote is well-known: “Strike him dead, the dog! He is a critic!” In the early 20th century, Virginia Woolf described her own unease with criticism and her wish for a different approach in more detail: “If behind the erratic gunfire of the press the author felt that there was another kind of criticism, the opinion of people reading for the love of reading, slowly and unprofessionally, and judging with great sympathy and yet with great severity, might this improve the quality of his work?”

Both the creators of art and their critics claim that they love art. But the opinions of what this means specifically for criticism differ widely. It’s about love, but also about insults, the freedom of art, power. This was made evident not least by the events at Staatstheater Hannover last year, where the former ballet director Marco Goecke smeared the feces of his dachshund into the face of the FAZ-newspaper’s dance critic after a short verbal altercation. The choreographer paid the price for letting his feelings run away with him: He was suspended, dismissed and banned from the premises. This story is the basis of this year’s production “Die Hundekot-Attacke” from Theaterhaus Jena.

What can we do to place the equally hostile and symbiotic relationship of theatre and criticism into a new light? I think: We can present different perspectives on theatre criticism. That is why this edition will feature several guest contributions: Claude de Demo, company member at Berliner Ensemble, will write about how she perceives theatre criticism from an actor’s point of view. Jette Steckel, whose production of “Die Vaterlosen (Fatherless)” has been invited to this year’s Theatertreffen, looks at it from the position of a director. And how do authors feel when their plays are written about and judged, perhaps not even in their original version? Nis-Momme Stockmann will tell us about it when he visits our editorial team.

Of course, the fact that conditions of theatre criticism have changed also comes into play. Newspaper circulations are decreasing; cultural television and radio programmes are becoming rarer or are moved into the late hours of the evening. Online sites have to find financing somewhere, and of course it matters who provides the funding. In addition, all interest – and all decrease of interest – is made measurable by technical devices. Two members of the web portal nachtkritik.de and Simon Strauß, theatre critic of the daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, will give us an impression of their everyday editorial work.

And finally: Of course it matters who criticises theatre. That is why it would have been even better to be able to invite emerging journalists from across the world. The reality of financial capabilities results in a perspective limited to Europe. But even so, and look at this. Our critics do have different points of view: They look at theatre from the perspectives of Switzerland, Austria, East Germany, the Anglo-Saxon region and with a Bosnian-German perception. How cool will it be to have them report on their view of the theatre world for two and a half weeks? Committed to the audience, the readers and the art. But with a keen eye for what matters to theatre makers with whom they, after all, share their love of the theatre. And with strong arguments for their aesthetic judgements.

The 2024 Bloggers

Five bloggers were invited to cover Theatertreffen in a variety of journalistic formats and to provide critical reflection.


Concept and Editors: Grete Götze, Tamara Marszalkowski
Assistant: Luisa Böhm
Tel +49 30 254 89 193

The Theatertreffen-Blog

Five to seven authors and theatre enthusiasts provide critical on-site coverage of Theatertreffen. Qualifications will be honed, journalistic writing skills will be developed and new formats will be invented. Applications for participation in the Theatertreffen-Blog can be submitted in the context of an open call which is usually published towards the end of the previous year.


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 Theatertreffen-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 Theatertreffen-Blog’s media partners included the Berliner Zeitung, EXBERLINER, 3sat/Kulturzeit, kultiversum.de, Theater der Zeit, ZEIT ONLINE and blogger Mary Sherpe from stilinberlin.de as well as Johanna von Stülpnagel from 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 Theatertreffen-Blog was funded by the Rudolf Augstein Foundation. Since 2016 the Theatertreffen-Blog has been funded by Stiftung Presse-Haus NRZ.

The Theatertreffen-Blog was founded in 2009 by Nikola Richter, who was its head until 2013. In 2014 and 2015, Bianca Praetorius took over this position. From 2016 to 2021, Janis El-Bira was head of the Theatertreffen-Blog. In 2022, Antigone Akgün and Ozi Ozar took over the conception and editing of the project. The 2023 Theatertreffen-Blog was headed by Antigone Akgün in close cooperation with Zofia nierodzińska. In 2024, Grete Götze and Tamara Marszalkowski took over responsibility for the concept and editing.

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