Festival Theaterformen is an international theatre festival that takes place once a year. For eleven days in the summer, it presents 15-20 plays. The plays often deal with social themes. They have generally not been produced in Germany, but in different countries and on different continents. The Artistic Director, Martine Dennewald, invites plays and artists to Lower Saxony. The festival wants to provide the visiting artists and the audience with an environment where no one is disadvantaged. The festival team wants to take critical action against discrimination. The following text describes what the team does in order to achieve this aim.

Critical Action Against Discrimination Guidelines 

Festival Theaterformen 
Version: October 2019

We, the Theaterformen team, rise to the challenges and themes that artists articulate with their work year after year. We want to meet their demands down to the very last conceptual and organisational detail. Their imagery, their cultural, geopolitical and social contexts form the basis of our work. 

As an institution, as a partner in discussion, as a work environment, the festival should not remain hidden behind the artistic works it presents: it is not possible to hide behind the scenes and be dogmatic, manipulative, dictatorial and inaccessible when we ask for a critical, cooperative, respectful and friendly relationship to each other on the stage. Our actions as a festival team should be orientated to this artistic demand. 

Festival Theaterformen should be a space of solidarity, where there is room for discussion and an exchange of views without having to be the same or conformist. We want to shape Festival Theaterformen so that a close and constructive relationship between festival staff, artists and the audience is made possible.  

How can we implement this position in our everyday working lives?

Discrimination – such as racism, sexism, classism and ableism – takes place on an individual, structural and institutional level. We want to work against discrimination with our actions on all these levels. We are in a process in which we question our work and our actions. To this end, we have obtained professional support and external feedback. We are prepared to recognise how we ourselves are involved in discriminatory relationships. 

What should we do for that? 

When planning the programme and selecting the plays, in our hiring policy and publicity work – in all areas of our work that we actively plan – we intend to work actively against discrimination. If discrimination occurs, we are fundamentally on the side of those affected and will align our actions accordingly. We use our privileges to act critically against discrimination. We will regularly assess our capacity to act in this regard. Because our capacity to act is limited by institutional and financial factors and by time, we cannot meet all expectations completely. 

The current festival team will remain the same until July 2020, after that the Artistic Director will change. The opening up to anti-discrimination action is a process that began in autumn of 2018 and will now continue until July 2020 under the leadership of Martine Dennewald. All members of the team aim to bring the knowledge they have acquired during this time with them into future jobs and to make an impact elsewhere.

We are publishing our thoughts here to make our intentions transparent, criticisable and verifiable and describe in the points below some areas of work in which we can take critical action against discrimination. These guidelines for critical action against discrimination are a revised version of the ones first formulated in April 2019.

Process consulting for critical action against discrimination

As a festival team, we undertook training in critical action against discrimination in five training blocks that took place between September 2018 and September 2019. The work with the Institute for Discrimination-free Education (IDB) included reflecting on work processes within our institution as well as an analysis of our publicity work, the way we handle discrimination in festival work and the formulation of possible anti-racist strategies for the future. 

Further training

To date, members of the team have taken part in workshops on accessibility, critical whiteness, empowerment, classism, gender-neutral language, critical action against discrimination in international culture work and surtitling for the deaf. Further anti-discrimination training courses will be made possible and financially supported. 

Working environment and hiring policy

We value a working environment sensitive to discrimination, in which we actively pursue solidarity in our working relationships with each other. We encourage people with experience of discrimination to apply to work with us and strive to provide a working environment that is critical of discrimination. Conflicts should and can be solved in a collegial manner, insofar as the person affected wishes, in one of the monthly awareness meetings. When conflicts occur that require the support from outside the festival, the festival management is responsible to obtain that support – for example a mediator.  


In order to be able to incorporate feedback and criticism into the anti-discrimination process and to further develop our organisation, we ask for feedback on various levels – in meetings with employees, via feedback forms, which all the artists and seasonal employees receive, and in discussions with the directors. We also ask external consultants such as employees from the Amadeu Antonio Stiftung for specific feedback regarding the productions. Every piece of feedback is received and assessed. The feedback received is accessible to all team members. Anyone can express themselves in this regard in the awareness meetings. In these meetings, we also discuss necessary steps to be taken. The Artistic Director of Festival Theaterformen is then obliged to decide on what action to take as a result. Anna Mülter (muelter@theaterformen.de) can be contacted at any time regarding these matters.

Working with other organisations

If possible, Festival Theaterformen will work with organisations that employ People of Colour or disabled people. Collaborations will be planned so that there is added value for both parties. The festival’s efforts to create a working environment critical of discrimination would not be possible without the work of many organisations that work exclusively or primarily in this area. Within the boundaries of its possibilities, the festival wishes to be an allied partner for these organisations. 


Festival Theaterformen will create an awareness team, which is visible and can be spoken to during the eleven days of the festival. The awareness team is the first point of contact for people affected by discrimination and/or who have witnessed discriminating behaviour. The awareness team offers support for those affected during the festival and is in contact with the festival management. The awareness team is available to all the artists and anyone taking part in the festival. For theatre projects that are commissioned by the festival and produced locally, the festival offers critical support: during rehearsals, the shows and wrap-up, we will provide the international directors and local participants with an external expert in discrimination issues.

Procedure in concrete cases of discrimination

In cases of discrimination, we are fundamentally on the side of those affected. The perspectives, wishes and needs of those affected guide our actions. In cases of conflict, we will involve a third party, who can act in support of the person affected. We will ensure the person is protected and has the ability to withdraw. We will assess whether our actions are in the best interests of the person who has experienced discrimination. Actions punishable by law will be reported.


Festival Theaterformen

Since 1990 Festival Theaterformen has presented a variety of contemporary theatre productions in the German cities of Braunschweig and Hanover: everything from huge spectacles to intimate chamber plays, classical drama, documentary theatre, site-specific performances and multimedia installations. Over the years the festival has continually reinvented, reoriented and repositioned itself, and theatre productions from outside of Europe make up a considerable part of the programme. More than half of the 345 productions presented at the festival – up until and including 2019 – were world premieres, German-language debuts, German premieres or European premieres. Many projects are commissioned specially for Festival Theaterformen or made possible through co-productions.


In 2019 the 20th edition of Festival Theaterformen took place in Hanover. On the occasion of its 16th edition in 2015, Theaterformen celebrated its 25th anniversary. Hanover and Braunschweig have held the festival alternately since 2007 - in Braunschweig in the even-numbered years, in Hanover in the odd-numbered ones. You will find the overview texts of the respective editions and links to the websites of former editions in the archives. We have also provided access to information about "Presence of the Colonial Past" from 2010 and "Shared Spaces" from 2013 as downloads. The publications available document the fringe events of both focal points, formulate intentions and goals, and sketch co-productions.


Festival Theaterformen 2020 (Braunschweig)

The Festival Theaterformen has celebrated its 30th anniversary with a pandemic-appropriate special edition entitled “A Sea of Islands”. From 2 to 12 July, we ran the following programme: six art installations, eight online contributions, postal items sent by two theatre groups, eight concerts, the participatory programme “Perform at Home” for school groups and audiences at home, and live talks with the international theatremakers every evening. This edition of the festival, which was Martine Dennewald’s final edition as curator, came to an end on Sunday evening. The outcome of the festival has been very positive: 1455 visitors came to see the installations in Braunschweig. The online programme – free of charge and specifically conceived for this special edition of the festival – was also well received: overall, the festival recorded 285 page views on its Vimeo channel, which is where the online contributions were uploaded, between 2 and 12 July.

The pandemic-appropriate special edition 2020

In April 2020, with the backing of the festival advisory board, the artistic director Martine Dennewald shifted the festival away from the one that had originally been planned, which usually takes just under two years to prepare, and turned it into a pandemic-appropriate edition. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Festival Theaterformen had planned to present, in Braunschweig’s theatres, 18 international productions connected with the same number of different islands across the world.

The special edition of the festival remained true to its originally invited artists and its thematic focus. The Faroe Islands, the Comoros and the Caribbean, Nauru, Timor and Sri Lanka: the focus was on islands – each of these with their own political peculiarities, geostrategic problems and projection screens for a different and a better life. In the face of the coronavirus crisis, the focus on the supposed periphery, on spatially isolated but nonetheless globally connected places, had taken on an unforeseen timeliness.

"For myself and the festival team, this task was a big risk: under very uncertain circumstances, we and our artists took a chance with an untested festival format, developed new artistic projects and premiered these, and geared our communications strategy and communications programme towards these unprecedented times. Thanks to the trust the artists and visitors placed in us, we were able to get the maximum value out of the festival and also reach an online audience far beyond Germany’s borders”, says Martine Dennewald.

Online formats

The first online works to be published – which were shown for just under 52 hours on demand on the festival website – included Ogutu Muraya’s The Ocean Will Always Try to Pull You In, which achieved the highest number of clicks, with around 2190 page views. This was followed by salt. A Talk, the pre-produced conversation between the British theatremaker Selina Thompson and the US-American author Saidiya Hartman, with 2042 page views. Two contributions were shown from Indonesia by the choreography star Eko Supriyanto: Ibuibu Belu: Daily Life, a documentary play about the traces left behind by the COVID-19 virus in Belu, and Salt, a video dance piece. According to Vimeo, these two pages were viewed 1107 times altogether. 

Setting up the installations in Braunschweig required extraordinary modes of operation

In Braunschweig, the festival opened up six installations to the public from 2 July. The works, which were on display at the Staatstheater Braunschweig’s performance venues, at the LOT Theater, in the Theaterpark and in Braunschweig’s city centre, required special modes of operation. For example, the New York artistic duo 600 HIGHWAYMEN conceived its installation A Thousand Ways from a long distance away and sent the festival team meticulous instructions for how to implement it across the Atlantic. Likewise, the Egyptian theatremaker Laila Soliman trusted the festival team with the first-time implementation of her new work Wanaset Yodit. In addition, the Latvian artist Voldemārs Johansons from Riga installed his storm installation Thirst by remote control – logged in to a mini robot, Johansons adapted the image and sound of his artwork to the performance space. By contrast, because they live in Lisbon, Ibiza and Hanover, Marlene Monteiro Freitas (Cattivo), Laura Liz Gil Echenique (Los Sobrevidentes) and Lotte Lindner & Till Steinbrenner (Ihr) were able to travel to Braunschweig to set up their installations.

Artistic Director: Martine Dennewald
Braunschweig Staatstheater Director: Dagmar Schlingmann


Festival Theaterformen 2019 (Hannover)

Untold Stories Disappear

14 plays from twelve countries were shown in Festival Theaterformen’s 20th edition, including three world premieres, two European and four German premieres. In total, there were more than 200 different events on the eleven-day programme, which provided a stage for (life) stories that are rarely told: around 200 participants from Hannover were involved in half of the plays, which were staged by international directors from cities such as Buenos Aires, Cairo, Antwerp, New York and Sydney. The wide-raging accompanying programme of concerts in the festival centre, the conference “Performing Entangled Histories”, play introductions, post-show discussions and outreach programmes were met with an enthusiastic response. The festival drew an interested regional and cross-regional audience as well as international visitors from the industry.

Around 200 people from Hannover and Lower Saxony entrusted the artists, choreographers and directors with their life stories, memories and thoughts, with which they made plays for the festival. These included the two world premieres Die Geschwindigkeit des Lichts by Marco Canale, which combined the stories of around 100 participants from different backgrounds to create a shared German biography, and My Body Belongs to Me by Ruud Gielens and Laila Soliman, who developed the documentary theatre piece MBBTM with a group of Sudanese women who live in Lower Saxony – a call to arms against female genital mutilation (FGM) and an appeal for female empowerment all over the world. 

Martine Dennewald, Artistic Director of the Festival, sums it up: “Around 200 Hannover citizens were open to engaging with our directors and their ideas as active participants this year. In plays, installations and talks, they presented the diversity of stories and identities that our city is made up of to an enthusiastic audience. They shared with us the things they struggle with, what they long for, where they feel good and how they found their home here. Together with the directors and the festival team, they formed an artistic family, and we also found new audience members in their circles of friends, who will hopefully continue to accompany us in the years to come.” 

With Lokis (Lukasz Twarkowski) and Odisseia (Cia Hiato), HATE (Laetitia Dosch), Untitled (Zoukak Theatre Company) and Cezary zieht in den Krieg (Cezary Tomaszewski), we also welcomed strong artistic talents from a young generation of international theatre makers, whose powerful imagery, stage presence and humour could not be resisted. They completed the kaleidoscope of different theatre forms at the festival and in their own way brought untold stories to the stage.

Website 2019



Festival Theaterformen 2018 (Braunschweig)

The 19th edition of the festival was dedicated to different perspectives on the consequences of colonialism and its effects on collective as well as individual fates today. The opening play Saigon was exemplary of this – a melodrama that interwove two different timelines in order to tell the story of biographies torn between France and its former colony, Indochina. This play for the main stage was contrasted with pieces that asked similar questions beyond the auditorium: in Collisions by Lynette Wallworth, the audience was transported to the Australian desert with VR-glasses, where they witnessed a nuclear test. In £¥€$, people gambled with the global economy and the fates of countries with bad credit at casino tables, while Julian Hetzel’s Schuldfabrik in the Burgpassage led the audience behind the scenes of a soap shop and into the trade with feelings of guilt and atonement. So once again there was a great diversity of theatre forms to be seen at the festival – from classical theatre to the most cutting-edge VR technology, from dramas for the stage to interactive performances around the city. Martine Dennewald sums it up: “The critical examination of global power relations and their effects on individual biographies were the main focus of the 2018 Theaterformen Festival. Theatre and dance, performances, installations and a virtual reality film explored history and the present; through diverse artistic forms, we were able to experience how people’s lives all over the world are interdependent and how clearly it is Europe’s responsibility to think about and deal with its colonial heritage.”  

In order to provide a solid theoretical framework for the questions thrown up in the theatre pieces, a series of talks took place. Four podium discussions addressed colonial continuities in Germany, white guilt (or lack of it), artistic alliances for indigenous land rights and the artistic processing of colonial genocide. The closing round-table discussions on the last day of the festival offered the opportunity for the festival to reflect about itself as the organizing institution.

The programme Watch & Write brought twelve culture journalists from ten African countries to Braunschweig as guests to accompany the festival in writing and have an exchange with each other about their work. The result of the time spent together at the festival is the founding of an online platform that will enable them to continue discussions and cooperation beyond the festival.

Artistic Director: Martine Dennewald
Braunschweig Staatstheater Director: Dagmar Schlingmann

Website 2018 


Festival Theaterformen 2017 (Hannover)

The directors of this year’s edition came from Africa and Europe, from North and South America. There were a total of around one hundred events in the eleven-day programme, including pre-show discussions, panel discussions, workshops and live concerts in the festival centre, along with the international shows. The festival attracted an enthusiastic audience from the region and beyond, as well as international visitors from the theatre sector. Martine Dennewald, who this year curated her third festival, takes stock: “Theaterformen 2017 exclusively invited shows by female directors, choreographers or collectives that consist of at least half female artists. It was an attempt to balance out the structural inequality in this edition of the festival, not in the sense of ‘fair’ division or a quota, but rather to completely reverse it as a slightly subversive gesture, and it had a double effect: firstly, because the hidden curatorial principle was only noticed by very few people; this disproves the theory that there is a specific women’s aesthetic or set of themes, and it speaks for the self-evident strong presence of female directors and choreographers in an international context. On the other hand, because there were discussions about women’s situation in the theatre after the festival; the festival has therefore lived up to its role of giving a wide spectrum of artistic positions a voice and presenting theatre pieces to the Hannover public and the guests from abroad that should have gotten more attention a long time ago.”

Tristesses, Mare Nostrum, De-Apart-Hate and Portrait of Myself as My Father addressed political and socially relevant issues. 600 Highwaymen showed their latest work The Fever, a production that literally placed the audience in the centre of the action. Whereas the audience in the production by Anna Rispoli, Lotte Lindner & Till Steinbrenner slipped into the skin of strangers and had conversations about love in unusual locations such as a sauna, a nudist villa or a changing room in the TUI Arena. The audience of Walk, Hands, Eyes (Hannover) by Parisian artist Myriam Lefkowitz were particularly moved. For this walk through the city of Hanover, in which the participant keeps their eyes closed, Lefkowitz worked with refugees before the festival and trained them as guides for her one-to-one performance.

The pick of the best: blog.theaterformen.de

In this edition of the festival, the premieres were also celebrated on the multi-lingual blog.theaterformen.de; journalists who have fled their home countries and students blogged in creative text, photo, audio and video formats about the day-to-day events of the festival. Sound bites from the audience alternated with reviews of the plays, and audio interviews with the artists with recordings of concerts. The blog was published in Arabic, German, English, French, Tigrinya and Farsi. The blog is still online.

Donations for suspended tickets 

Thanks to donations, almost one hundred refugees had the opportunity to visit theatre performances of their choice.

Artistic Director: Martine Dennewald
Schauspiel Hannover Director: Lars-Ole Walburg

Website 2017


Festival Theaterformen 2016 (Braunschweig)

There were around 90 events on the schedule of the 11-day international Theaterformen programme that has come to an end on June 19th in Brunswick: The festival offered a world premiere, four European premieres and just as many German premieres and can strike a positive balance with an audience capacity of 84%. Theatres from Asia, South America and Europe, discussion formats and live concerts, a seminar weekend as the main focus of the festival, “Theatre from (South-East) Asia” and events with the Kunstverein Braunschweig attracted an interested regional and super-regional public as well as international visitor. The subtle drama GOD BLESS BASEBALL by Toshiki Okada from Japan opened the festival. Two days after that, the Malayan tigers in TEN THOUSAND TIGERS conquered the main stage of the Staatstheater Braunschweig. Five further productions came to Brunswick from the metropolises of (South-East) Asia, which were devoted to, among other things, Japanese youth culture, the phenomenon of the hipster and South Korean Gagok singing.

Artistic director Martine Dennewald says: “We succeeded in telling stories with a program that for the most part was from outside Europe that otherwise would never be heard in Germany; to provide a context for the invited theatre works without stealing from them their foreign quality; making is possible to comprehend their aesthetics and content without subverting them. I am very pleased at the enthusiastic response to our focus on theatre and performances from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo – by our audience in Brunswick and the region as well as by the national German press. 

In the second half of the festival artists from Argentina, Finland, France, Syria and the Ukraine with their works were our guests in Brunswick. The Argentinean director Lola Arias was here at Theaterformen for the third time and showed her new piece MINEFIELD that was coproduced with Theaterformen, which was greeted with standing ovations by the Brunswick public on both evenings. Lola Arias produced MINEFIELD with veterans from the Falkland Islands war, who had fought on opposing sides 34 years ago.

Artistic Director: Martine Dennewald
Braunschweig Staatstheater Director: Joachim Klement

Website 2016


Festival Theaterformen 2015 (Hannover)

Festival Theaterformen celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2015 and steered the course of events in Hanover. Eight German premieres and a total of 130 events were held during the eleven-day anniversary edition programme. It was the first Festival under the artistic directorship of Martine Dennewald. The Festival opened with Marco Layera’s LA IMAGINACION DEL FUTURO. The container installation STILL (THE ECONOMY OF WAITING) opened the same day on the Opernplatz. Hanover's spectators were very interested in Julian Hetzel’s work and many of the performances were sold out. With the productions by Rimini Protokoll and BY HEART from Tiago Rodrigues, the Festival presented several other performances that demanded active participation from the spectators. A cast of forty-three players from Hanover, selected early this year by the directors, Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone, performed THE RECORD by 600 HIGHWAYMEN. Rimini Protokoll, Tiago Rodrigues, Xavier Le Roy and 600 HIGHWAYMEN respectively showed two of their current productions. For Martine Dennewald, the idea of showing several pieces by one company is a means of encouraging the spectators to make comparisons. Many spectators were drawn to the Festival Centre in 2015. A lot of visitors attended the fringe events presented by Theaterformen. These included open-air concerts, the festival breakfasts and the video installation, MY OTHER LIFE by Mats Staub.

Artistic Director: Martine Dennewald
Schauspiel Hannover Director: Lars-Ole Walburg

Website 2015


Festival Theaterformen 2014 (Braunschweig)

The 2014 Festival opened with an adaptation of Macbeth from Verdi. Brett Bailey gathered an intercontinental team from South Africa, Belgium and Serbia for his present-day version of this archaic story. It played to a full house in the Braunschweig State Theatre on both evenings and was received with standing ovations. Festival Theaterformen coproduced this project with the world-acclaimed director together with partners in Vienna, Brussels, London and Paris. The three premieres Goethes Zebra by Hans-Peter Litscher, Statue of Loss by Faustin Linyekula and sounds like war: Kriegserklärung by the Berlin performance collective andcompany&Co. were received with enthusiasm by the public. The works of Faustin Linyekula and andcompany&Co., dealing with the topic "100 Years World War I", were specially created for Theaterformen and the Lift Festival in London.
The end of this year's festival also marks the departure of its artistic director Anja Dirks after six festival editions. Anja Dirks curated the first festival in 2009.

Artistic Director: Anja Dirks
Braunschweig Staatstheater Director: Joachim Klement

Website 2014


Festival Theaterformen 2013 (Hannover)

Theaterformen set a priority of the 2013 Festival with "Kinshasa Connection", a project sponsored by the German Federal Cultural Foundation within the context of "Shared Spaces". In addition to the wide-ranging fringe events and film programme, the focus is on In Case Of Fire Run For The Elevator by Boyzie Cekwana, Faustin Linyekulas' Drums And Digging and La Fin de la légende by Dieudonné Niangouna - plays that were initially shown at the partner festival Connexion Kin in Kinshasa and subsequently in Hanover. Ten Theaterformen grant-holders were also present at both festivals. Within the context of this theme, Theaterformen commissioned Agentur Kriwomasow with the audio exhibition Congo Connection that was presented in the Landesmuseum Hanover. The Iranian production and the opening Theaterformen event Iwanow by Amir Reza Koohestani, Late Night by the Blitz Theatre Group from Greece, Olmamis mi? by the company Studio 4 Istanbul, and the Syrian Intimacy by Omar Abusaada brought important issues of world politics to Hanover's stages and ensured unusual encounters and moving moments. Three spectacular productions created the topical emphasis "Posthuman dramaturgies": Sans objet by Aurélien Bory, Rimini Protokoll's Remote Hannover and Urwald by the Swiss Far A Day Cage company. Two different interpretations of Shakespeare's Lear were the last premieres, both in sold-out houses, of the festival's 14th edition: She She Pop performed Testament with their fathers in the Schauspielhaus, and Konstantin Bogomolow presented his Russian version of Lear in Ballhof Eins. The Office National de Diffusion Artistique (ONDA) from Paris also held their meeting during the festival. The ITI - International Theaterinstitute hosted their annual general assembly at Theaterformen. 

Artistic Director: Anja Dirks
Schauspiel Hannover Director: Lars-Ole Walburg

Website 2013

Shared Spaces

In the summer of 2013, the network Shared Spaces was established in Kinshasa. Among the initiators are, alongside Theaterformen, other festivals, international artists and curators. One of the first projects was the co-production of several performances. Three of them were first shown at the Festival Connexion Kin and then presented in Hanover as part of the focus Kinshasa Connection. The focus also included discussions and the academy of the festival grant-holders. The reader, that is available here, documents the colloquia during Theaterformen, outlines the co-productions and reports on the aims and ideas of shared spaces, as formulated at the inauguration.

Read online
Reader (PDF file)


Festival Theaterformen 2012 (Braunschweig)

The 13th edition of Festival Theaterformen opened with the piece 100 Percent Braunschweig of Rimini Protokoll. Overall, 16 contemporary theatre productions were shown in eleven days. 140 artists from twelve countries were part of the festival. Home Sweet Home, the installation of British artistduo subject to_change, became a total crowd puller. Many visitors not only came to build their own houses but also came back constantly to discuss about public spaces, about an atomic power plant which was built in the south of Braunschweig or about the International Kindergarden. Further productions presented within the festival focus "You are the city" were Domini Públic – Public Space by spanish artist Roger Bernat, and Izlog – Shop Window by Bobo Jelčić and Nataša Rajković from Croatia. Many productions staged in smaller theatres like Miet Warlop’s Springville from Belgium or Look at the Streets ... this is what hope looks like of Syrian artist Omar Abu Saada were even sold out before the festival started. And also, the artists who had shown their plays in the big house of Braunschweig State Theatre – like Forced Entertainment with The Coming Storm, Christoph Marthaler with Meine faire Dame or Rimini Protokoll with 100 Percent Braunschweig – played in front of packed houses.

Artistic Director: Anja Dirks
Braunschweig Staatstheater Director: Joachim Klement

Website 2012


Festival Theaterformen 2011 (Hannover)

At a secret place Festival Theaterformen opened in 2011 with Brett Bailey’s version of Orfeus from South Africa. Works of Mokhallad Rasem (Iraq), Omar Ghayatt (Egypt), Lina Saneh and Rabih Mroué (Lebanon) and Amir Reza Koohestani (Iran) belonged to the main focus Middle East. The pieces Pièce pour la technique du Schauspiel de Hanovre of Phillipe Quesne and Anna Rispoli’s L'Invenzione dell' Ascensore in the Dutch Expo-Pavilion were specially produced for Festival Theaterformen. The Ship O’ Fools of Janet Cardiff and Goerge Bures Miller runnned aground in front of the Opera. And in the Opera house, Velma from Switzerland staged Velma Superstar. Beyond that, Elevator Repair Service from the United States, Béla Pintér and Company from Hungary, Toshiki Okada from Japan and Swiss Massimo Furlan presented their new pieces in Hanover.

Artistic Director: Anja Dirks
Schauspiel Hannover Director: Lars-Ole Walburg

Website 2011


Festival Theaterformen 2010 (Braunschweig)

20 years of Festival Theaterformen! Nevertheless, with the programme 2010 we looked into the future. Several pieces from Buenos Aires focussed on a future society. Under the subject Presence of the Colonial Past theatrical works of Brett Bailey, Boyzie Cekwana and Faustin Linyekula were shown. Discussing the colonial past was – and still is – as significant for the future of Africa as for the future of Europe.

Artistic Director: Anja Dirks
Braunschweig Staatstheater Director: Joachim Klement

Website 2010

Presence of the colonial past

No other continent is approached with the same ignorance as is Africa. But why is that so? Presence of the Colonial Past, the focus of the Theaterformen Festival 2010 in Braunschweig, has essentially explored this question in the most divergent formats. The focus embraced a series of films, four theatre productions, a thematic weekend and finally this online publication, which documents the experiences and impulses initiated at Theaterformen 2010.

Read online
Reader (PDF file)

Festival Theaterformen 20th anniversary

In 2010 Festival Theaterformen celebrated its 20th anniversary. It was time to recall the eleven editions of the festival that took place in Braunschweig and Hannover between 1990 and 2010. The anniversary volume gives an extensive and richly illustrated overview of all the productions staged at Theaterformen in the last 20 years. Those who took part and shaped the festival over the years share their personal experiences with us: curators, artists, sponsors, staff and spectators. 20 Jahre Theaterformen takes us on a trip down memory lane summing up two decades of German and International festival history.

Read online (available in German only)


Festival Theaterformen 2009 (Hannover)

After a successful opening at the Aegi Theatre with Aurélien Bory’s Taoub many productions did not take place on conventional stages: Dries Verhoeven’s Niemandsland led through Hanover, Some Things Happen All At Once of Rosa Casado and Mike Brookes was staged in the main hall of the new city hall and the Belgian Compagnie Marius located Samuels Beckett’s All That Fall in the Georgengarten at Wilhelm Busch Museum. The Process (Franz Kafka) of Andreas Kriegenburg, Schukschins Erzählungen of Alvis Hermanis and Philippe Quesne’s La Mélancholie des Dragons were great successes. On the Ballhof stages: Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea of 1927, City Circus Zero Work of andcompany&Co. with Junges Schauspiel Hannover, The Rehearsal of Cuqui Jerez, Faustin Linyekula’s More more more... future, Patience Camp of Thom Luz and La Omision de la Familia Coleman von Timbre 4 / Claudio Tolcachir.

Artistic Director: Anja Dirks
Schauspiel Hannover Director: Wilfried Schulz

Website 2009


Festival Theaterformen 2008 (Braunschweig)

For the chorus in the ancient Greek tragedy Die Perser, director Claudia Bosse mobilised over 300 citizens, who were captured in portrait photos by Ukrainian artist Boris Mikhailov. The French Théâtre Dromesko brought a culinary offering with the soup kitchen La Baraque, featuring songs and marionettes; and then there was the walk-in cake served up by Canadian theatre company Théâtre des Confettis. For six hours, Ivo van Hove's actors captivated spectators with Roman Tragedies, a compilation of three Shakespearean dramas. German director Armin Petras also made his festival debut with Dorota Masłowska’s Two Poor, Polish-speaking Romanians.

Artistic Director: Stefan Schmidtke
Braunschweig Staatstheater Director: Wolfgang Gropper

Website 2008


Festival Theaterformen 2007 (Hannover)

Starting in 2007, Braunschweig and Hanover began hosting the festival in turns. This year the programme featured unusual formats, including a theatre circus (Cirque désaccordé from France) and a Brazilian youth project (Afro Reggae). The Australian Back to Back Theatre performed their piece Small Metal Objects on Hanover’s famous Kröpcke square, mixing with the public in the pedestrian zone. Theaterformen 2007 hosted the world premiere of Simon Stephens’ Pornography, a co-production with Schauspiel Hannover and the Schauspielhaus Hamburg, which was later invited to Berlin’s Theatertreffen festival.

Artistic Director: Stefan Schmidtke

Website 2007


Festival Theaterformen 2004 (Braunschweig / Hannover)

This year's festival addressed the socio-political issues of fundamentalism and democracy. Lebanese journalist and theatre maker Rabih Mroué contributed two productions (Biokhraphia and Looking for a Missing Employee), alongside Polish director Krysztof Warlikowski (Macbeth) and the English-German performance group Gob Squad (Room Service). German director Frank Castorf made his Theaterformen debut in 2004. The festival also offered a broad dialogue forum, with presentations and discussions featuring thinkers like Zygmunt Bauman, Slavoj Žižek and Antonio Negri.

Artistic Director: Veronica Kaup-Hasler
Schauspiel Hannover Director: Wilfried Schulz
Staatstheater Braunschweig Director: Wolfgang Gropper


Festival Theaterformen 2002 (Braunschweig / Hannover)

The international programme featured Gerardjan Rijnders & Tom Lanoye from the Netherlands (Mamma Medea), Richard Maxwell from the US and groups from Croatia and Argentina, with Joachim Schlömer (La Guerra d’Amore, dance theatre), Christoph Marthaler and René Pollesch representing the German-speaking countries. Works inspired by the fine arts included pieces by David Claerbout and Yang Zhenzhong, and Fred Keleman adapted Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451 for the stage. In their project Sonde Hannover, newly founded formation Rimini Protokoll used binoculars and surveillance cameras to observe the city from above.

Artistic Director: Veronica Kaup-Hasler
Schauspiel Hannover Director: Wilfried Schulz
Staatstheater Braunschweig Director: Wolfgang Gropper


Festival Theaterformen 2000 (Braunschweig / Hannover)

With a focus on theatre of figures and of objects, the fifth festival showcased productions from Australia, Canada, Russia, Israel, and Argentina. The smallest show, It’s Your Film, was live cinema; four actors from British theatre company Stan's Café performed in a small booth for one viewer. Run by director, filmmaker and artist William Kentridge, the Handspring Puppet Company came from South Africa to present the Chimp Project. Pina Bausch (Kontakthof) and Belgian choreographer Alain Platel (Allemaal Indiaan) provided insights into contemporary dance theatre. Further highlights included Hamlet, directed by Peter Zadek (with Angela Winkler as Hamlet), and Jean Genet’s The Maids, staged and performed by Ignaz Kircher and Gert Voss.

Artistic Director: Marie Zimmermann
Schauspiel Hannover Director: Ulrich Khuon
Staatstheater Braunschweig Director: Wolfgang Gropper


Festival Theaterformen 1998 (Braunschweig / Hannover)

The festival focused on contemporary German directors, with Elmar Goerden (Das Meer war groß), Martin Kusej (King Arthur), Karin Beier (The Tempest) and Heiner Goebbels directing the Ensemble Modern (Eislermaterial, Schwarz auf Weiß). The incredible triumph that off-beat rock musical Shockheaded Peter, by Julian Crouch, Phelim McDermott and musicians Tiger Lilies, enjoyed on the continent started with the European premiere in Hanover. Other productions showed works by Jan Fabre (Belgium), Eimuntas Nekrosius (Lithuania), Johan Simons (the Netherlands) and Forced Entertainment (Great Britain).

Artistic Director: Marie Zimmermann
Schauspiel Hannover Director: Ulrich Khuon (until 2000)
Staatstheater Braunschweig Director: Wolfgang Gropper


Festival Theaterformen 1995 (Braunschweig, Wolfenbüttel, Hannover) 

The Staatstheater Braunschweig’s fire curtain came crashing down, necessitating a last-minute change of venue. This is why Hanover for the first time hosted a production of Festival Theaterformen: The Hanomag-Halle was home to a visually stunning production, Dante’s Divine Comedy, staged by Croatian director Tomaz Pandur. Wolfenbüttel had the honour of being the only city in Germany to host The Seven Streams of the River Ota, one of Canadian theatrical wizard Robert Lepage’s most spectacular productions. Mama!, a musical from Soweto, written and directed by Mbongeni Ngema of Durban’s Playhouse Company, made its European debut at a factory site in Braunschweig. In addition, Anatoli Vassiliev presented Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin with a young ensemble from Moscow.

Artistic Director: Thomas Petz
Staatstheater Braunschweig Director: Jürgen Flügge


Festival Theaterformen 1991 (Braunschweig / Wolfenbüttel)

The focus of the second Theaterformen festival, part of which took place in neighbouring Wolfenbüttel, was Eastern Europe. Two specially commissioned productions played a central role: the St. Petersburg-based Maly Drama Theatre’s dramatisation of Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed, directed by Lev Dodin; and Nathans Tod (Nathan’s Death), written and directed by George Tabori, as a co-production with the Bavarian State Theatre. In addition, Polish director Andrzej Wajda staged Stanislaw Wyspianski’s The Wedding, Romania’s Silviu Purcarete directed Ubu Rex with Scenes from Macbeth, and Swiss “historical detective” and storyteller Hans Peter Litscher presented Lessing's Blessings.

 Artistic Directors: Bernd Kauffmann & Peter Ries
Staatstheater Braunschweig Director: Mario Krüger


Festival Theaterformen 1990 (Braunschweig)

Bernd Kauffmann launched the festival in Braunschweig in November of 1990. Funding came from a state-sponsored programme for the East-West German border regions. The thematic focus of the first Theaterformen festival was William Shakespeare. Two of the Bard’s works, in particular, were juxtaposed: The Tempest, a co-production with C.I.C.T (Paris), directed by Peter Brook; and Titus Andronicus, staged by Peter Stein. Smaller productions and a supporting programme of films, videos and performances rounded out the first edition of the festival.

Artistic Directors: Bernd Kauffmann & Peter Ries
Staatstheater Braunschweig Director: Mario Krüger