German Federal Cultural Federation

“Why do we do this? We cut the answer to this question”, says Fabian Hinrichs in “Kill your Darlings! Streets of Berladelphia”, the production which received René Pollesch’s second invitation to Berlin’s Theatertreffen in 2012. These words became a witticism. While in the context of the play, the exclamation mainly related to capitalism’s self-referential production logics, Pollesch and Hinrichs always also meant the absurd beauty and the potentially cruel self-deception of the theatre’s situation. Berlin’s Theatertreffen celebrates and reflects this beauty in all of its ambivalence.

The jury of the 2024 Theatertreffen has once again succeeded in considering the multitude of voices within the German-language theatre landscape in their selection: They allowed the grand and the small, the abstract issues of society and the personal answers to coexist respectfully, and thus they have compiled a zeitgeisty programme in the best sense of the word.

If you see Theatertreffen as a piece of contemporary history that year after year tells us about the collectively debated issues of the past twelve months, it becomes evident that the multiple conflicts and crises of global politics have made their way into the stories of families and lives told by the theatre today. Several works take abstract, politically philosophical points of departure to zoom in on the personal experience contexts of their characters. Passing down the unspoken and the traumatic often seems to be what connects the generations of these family histories. A sense of immobilized time in endless repetitive loops is felt. In the new dramatic material of “The Silence”, “Extra Life” or “Bucket List”, this seems to be the theatrical concern of the hour. But classic drama like “Nathan der Weise (Nathan the Wise)” or “Die Vaterlosen (Fatherless)” also seems to focus on the transgenerational delegation of unresolved guilt. At the same time, however, the productions talk about the beauty and dignity of individual life and the potentiality of new beginnings.

Theatertreffen reflects these personal stories from the selection of ten productions: After every show, there will be someone to give an impulse key note. This person will often have a profession far removed from the theatre and will place their impressions of the production at the audience’s disposal during the so-called Audience Talk.

We wish all Theatertreffen-visitors a festival full of exciting experiences and an inspiring exchange of ideas. We congratulate Nora Hertlein-Hull on this first edition under her direction. And we would like to thank Matthias Pees, director of Berliner Festspiele, as well as the team and this year’s jury. We send our best wishes to everyone involved on and behind the stage. 
“We do everything for someone else. For someone we love, for example”, Pollesch wrote. We will miss him and his labour of love.

Katarzyna Wielga-Skolimowska – Executive Board / Artistic director
Kirsten Haß – Executive Board / Administrative Director