There’s no fake news here! Selected young arts journalists, photographers, video journalists, bloggers and radio journalists cover the Theatertreffen on
This year will see the final edition of the Theatertreffen-blog in its present form. However, supporting talented emerging journalists will remain a part of Theatertreffen: After this year’s festival, we will develop a follow-up project. But for now – Curtains up for this year’s bloggers!

Key visual Theatertreffen-Blog 2020

© Eike Walkenhorst

Practicing Criticism

On the final edition of the Theatertreffen-blog in its present form

“Everything will go back to normal next year.” This is how determined and confident we sounded in May last year, when we announced the special Corona-edition of the Theatertreffen-blog. The pandemic was young, pep talks and disappointments, cancellations and revocations alternated. We did not know what was yet to come. Actually, we did not even know exactly what we were talking about. The virus was in the world, but the world did not seem to consist entirely of the virus yet.

Now we know a little more. In 2021, Theatertreffen and with it the blog will not be returning to the pre-pandemic form which we wanted to present to last year’s bloggers. We had repeated our invitations to all of them, hoping that we could be as live as we were used to, that we would celebrate togetherness and exuberance. It was not to be. The events of Theatertreffen will be primarily virtual and we will have to keep our distance. But it is truly wonderful and encouraging that several of the participants selected for 2020 will still join us again. We are as happy to work with them again as we are to welcome the writers that will join us for the first time and make our team complete.

Together with them, we intend to Practice Criticism in the literal sense – just like the Theatertreffen-blog and its many alumni have been doing since 2009. But afterwards, the curtain will come down on this form and this team for the time being. The new era demands a different form and different answers to new questions. What can we still see through the digital keyhole of a festival which will continue to lead its performance spaces out of its analogue and stationary character? Who are we writing for if not for those who cannot see the performance? The theatre will have been so transformed by the Corona-pandemic that theatre critics and their craft will not remain unaffected by the changes. Thinking about how we can continue needs knew skills, channels and collaborations. And we have only just begun this process.

So, this will be the last round for now – and an occasion to say thank you. To our wonderful colleagues at Berliner Festspiele and especially the Theatertreffen-team led by Yvonne Büdenhölzer, who was always this project’s staunch protector and supporter. To our reliable sponsors, Stiftung Presse-Haus NRZ, to our media partners, guest authors, accomplices and critical readers. But especially to all those who wrote, thought and developed with us – the alumni, project leaders and assistants. And a final thank you goes upwards: to our mentor Dirk Pilz, who passed away far too soon and who cared more about working with young talents than almost anyone else. It has been a great pleasure for him and for us!

Janis El-Bira
Head of Theatertreffen-Blog 2016–2021

The Bloggers 2021

Six culture bloggers are invited to follow the festival for twelve days. The team’s reports from the virtual editors’ room will already begin on 10 May 2021.

To the bloggers



Project Leader: Janis El-Bira
Assistance: Anna-Maria Domeier

The Theatertreffen-Blog

Days will turn into nights and nights into days for the editorial staff of the Theatertreffen-Blog. Five to seven young arts journalists with various fields of expertise and focuses will provide swift and critical on-site coverage of the Theatertreffen with the support of experienced mentors. They are not only busy writing reviews and keeping a critical eye on the festival from a wide range of angles, but also concerned with developing new formats, working together as a close-knit editorial team and honing their own journalistic skills. Potential participants can apply to take part in the Theatertreffen-Blog following an open call which is posted at the end of each year.
Overview of all editions


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, and the feminist blog, among others, as an original source. The Theatertreffen-Blog’s media partners include the Berliner Zeitung, EXBERLINER, 3sat/Kulturzeit,, Theater der Zeit, ZEIT ONLINE and blogger Mary Sherpe from as well as Johanna von Stülpnagel from 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. Since 2016, Janis El-Bira has been heading the Theatertreffen-Blog.

Funded by
Logo Stiftung Presse-Haus NRZ