Founded in 1979, the national contest Theatertreffen der Jugend sees itself as a platform and place of impulses and exchange, where young theater professionals can negotiate their working methods and their different themes and positions and are encouraged in their individual, artistic forms of expression. The entire spectrum of young theater production is represented, including works from schools, youth clubs at municipal and state theaters, as well as productions from the independent scene or independent youth institutions. The meeting focuses on the invited productions and the encounter and exchange of young players and their directors in a variety of formats.
The competition that precedes the meeting is looking for productions by young actors who, regardless of whether they work from texts or on the basis of researched or biographical material, find their own themes and forms to put their theater art and perspectives up for discussion.
The Theatertreffen der Jugend is part of the Treffen junge Szene of the Berliner Festspiele and is funded as a national contest by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
A jury of 10 members will select the award winners. The expert jury – made up of theatre professionals and three former participants among others – will select around twenty productions from the applications. After visiting performances of the pre-selected plays and talks with the ensembles, the award-winning productions will be invited to Berlin. The central focus of the jury is on perspectives that pertain specifically to young artists, and the appropriate development and realisation of the material by the entire ensemble. Rather than perfect acting skills, the personality and attitude of the performers play a decisive role for an invitation to the Theatertreffen der Jugend.
Every day, one of the selected ensembles will perform their productions in front of an audience at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele. To set up and rehearse, each ensemble will be allocated one day and the entire technical support of the Berliner Festspiele. All performances will be recorded.
At least as important as the public performances is the exchange between the groups. The Campus of the Theatertreffen der Jugend offers many opportunities for this in various theatre workshops, performance talks and discussions as well as in the framework of sponsorships. In the atmosphere of openness and curiosity at the meeting, there are numerous opportunities to continue conversations about writing, playing and directing, even when detached from the fixed programme. The festival newspaper, produced daily, reports on everything that takes place in front of, on and behind the stage. Former participants in the Berliner Festspiele’s other Treffen junge Szene complement the supporting programme with readings and music. The Forum of the Theatertreffen der Jugend has an extensive programme aimed at directors, theatre teachers, theatre educators and students. It includes various impulse and intensive workshops and discursive formats such as performance talks and discussions on specific topics. The forum focuses on collegial exchange.