German Federal Cultural Federation

Tobi Müller – former member of the Theatertreffen-jury – described the situation of German-language theatre as a “fight for the future” in 2023. He said that the self-legitimation of the artistic form has brought the theatre into competition with other media of social communication. In the resulting struggle for its public voice, he claimed, contemporary theatre became involved in an increasingly shrill battle for attention in order to remain audible in society.

The 2023 edition of Theatertreffen is a refreshing departure from this attitude of self-defence for two reasons: Firstly, this year’s edition once again presents outstanding productions that meet the challenge of developing a future language and attitude for the theatre in all conceivable variety. Instead of imitating (popular) digital mediality, the theatre confidently develops its own narrative methods and realms of experience: “Ophelia’s Got Talent”, enthusiastically celebrated by the audience, “Das Vermächtnis (The Inheritance)”, a monumental alternative to streaming services, or the immersive sound design of “Die Eingeborenen von Maria Blut” are splendid examples for the creation of new forms.

Secondly, Theatertreffen has never hesitated to subject itself to experiments to test its own future viability. Whether it addressed gender equality through quota or debate, confidently shifted its own location into the digital sphere or facilitated encounters in the discursive programme TT Context, Stückemarkt or the co-operation with “Burning Issues”: Theatertreffen has always successfully dared to reinvent itself and thus inspires its partners.

The political and artistic questions raised by the 2023 Theatertreffen are chiefly informed by transnational conflicts. The ten selected productions often deal with a crisis-ridden reality that can only be described collectively and through many different voices, not only since the current war in Europe. To describe this reality, the new team of directors has created the new format 10 Treffen (10 Meetings) which will frame the ten selected productions. Once again, Theatertreffen’s response to challenging circumstances is the welcoming gesture of reinventing its own frame of reference. 10 Treffen gives a voice to European artists who can find an intellectual home in Berlin, in Germany and its theatres. In art and debate, Theatertreffen dedicates itself to a discussion that Michel Foucault once described as a “means for a future”.

The German Federal Cultural Foundation wishes an exciting 2023 Theatertreffen to all artists and participants onstage and behind the scenes as well as to the audience. We would like to thank Berliner Festspiele and its director Matthias Pees, the jury and the entire festival team with its directors Olena Apchel, Carolin Hochleichter and Joanna Nuckoswka for this 60th edition of Theatertreffen.

Katarzyna Wielga-Skolimowska
Executive Board / Artistic director

Kirsten Haß
Executive Board / Administrative Director