Berlin theater meeting

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The Berliner Theatertreffen is an annual event of the Berliner Festspiele and is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation . Every year an independent jury, consisting of seven theater critics, selects ten “remarkable” theater productions of the season from German-speaking countries and invites them to the Theatertreffen in Berlin. The decision about the invitation is usually made in January of each year, the approximately two-week festival takes place in the following May. The festival center is the Haus der Berliner Festspiele . In addition, various Berlin stages will be used and, if necessary, alternative venues will be used if special requirements of the invited productions require this.

In addition to the 10 "remarkable" productions from German-speaking countries, the festival is divided into further program pillars and overarching formats: The Stückemarkt is the oldest funding initiative for contemporary drama in German-speaking countries and invites theater professionals from Europe to come up with their new plays or already completed theater projects apply. Shifting Perspectives is an international guest performance platform. The TT Context discourse program flanks the festival's artistic contributions. In the International Forum, young theater professionals are supported in a two-week scholarship program. The Theatertreffen blog is a platform for young cultural journalists.


In 1963 the Berliner Festwochen invited five guest performances by German theaters - a kind of pilot project. In 1964, the first theater meeting, called the “Berlin Theater Competition”, took place during the 14th Berliner Festwochen in October. The basic structure was the one that is still valid today: a jury of theater critics selected ten remarkable productions and invited them to Berlin. In the founding year, Nicolas Nabokov was director of the Theatertreffen.

The term “showcase of the West” initially referred to the entire Berliner Festspiele, from 1964 mainly to the Theatertreffen. Although it was not one of the first reasons for the Theatertreffen's necessity to be a “showcase of the West”, the slogan was often used as an argumentation aid, especially during the Cold War. For a long time, repeated invitations to East German theaters had to be symbolic.

From 1965 the Theatertreffen operated under the name “Treffen” and was also moved to May in order to make it easier to incorporate productions from the current season. There was also a decoupling from the other events of the Berliner Festwochen. In 1966 the current name “Theatertreffen” appeared for the first time. In 1967 the Berliner Festspiele GmbH was founded as the sponsoring company for the Theatertreffen. Gerhard Hellwig was in charge of the Theatertreffen from 1965 to 1968.

In 1965 the International Forum of the Theatertreffen was established (until 1973 under the name “Encounter of Young Stage Members”, until 2005 under the title “International Forum for Young Stage Members”). This makes it the oldest continuously working institution of its kind. Initially it was only an information and discussion event for young professionals from the Federal Republic of Germany (the GDR did not participate here either), but after agreements with institutions in Austria and Switzerland, the group of participants was able to participate in 1970 to be extended to these two countries.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Theatertreffen played an important role in establishing new generations of directors in the theater business. So were Peter Zadek (21), Claus Peymann (19) and Peter Stone (18) to date, most invitations to theater meeting.

Walther Schmieding headed the Theatertreffen from 1969 to 1972, Ulrich Eckhardt from 1973 to 1981.

In 1978, the Theatertreffen's Stückemarkt was founded as the first funding initiative for new drama in German-speaking countries. In the first twenty years of the festival, the Stückmarkt management selected five pieces each year from the free premieres in order to present them to a wider audience at the Theatertreffen. There was not yet a jury - the Stückemarkt management was solely responsible for the program.

In 1980 the cooperation between the International Forum and the Goethe Institute began , which opened the International Forum to the whole world. At the same time, the focus of the forum shifted to practical work; After a phase of experimentation since 1975, workshops became an integral part of the forum program in 1980.

From 1982 to 1988 the Theatertreffen was directed by Ulrich Eckhardt and Börries von Liebermann. From 1989 to 2001 Torsten Maß was director of the Theatertreffen.

In May 1989, a few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall , theaters from the socialist part of the country were finally allowed to travel to the festival. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the original justification for the founding declaration came to the fore again, namely “to give a picture of the state of German-speaking theater” instead of being a “showcase of the West” due to the isolated location of West Berlin.

In 2003 the Stückemarkt opened to writers from all over Europe; the presentation of new dramas for theater people turned into a competition for as yet unknown authors. Every year, an expert jury sifts through all the submitted plays, of which between five and seven are presented in staged readings during the Theatertreffen.

Iris Laufenberg directed the Theatertreffen from 2003 to 2011 , after Dieter Hansen took over as director in 2002.

In 2005 the festival newspaper was launched, which was created in collaboration with the Berliner Zeitung until 2008 and promoted the next generation of cultural journalists. In 2009, the Theatertreffen blog emerged from the festival newspaper.

Yvonne Büdenhölzer has been the director of the Theatertreffen since 2012 .

In 2012, the Stückemarkt expanded its definition of the author: for the first time, project work by theater collectives was admitted to the competition.

Since 2015, the International Forum has been increasingly open to global societal development dynamics in order to question theater as a space of political publicity. Since then, the workshops and discourse events in this area have focused on theater in the field of tension between art, politics and society.

Since 2016, the Stückemarkt has been awarding a work contract together with the Federal Agency for Civic Education / bpb .

In 2017, the international platform of the Theatertreffen Shifting Perspectives was launched, which brings non-European guest performances to the festival in addition to the 10 remarkable productions from German-speaking countries.

For the 55th Theatertreffen (2018), the overarching discourse program TT Context took place for the first time, accompanying the artistic program pillars of the Theatertreffen.

At the end of April 2019 it became known that the Berlin Theatertreffen wants to introduce a quota for women . "In the next two years, at least half of the ten selected plays should come from women directors," said festival director Yvonne Büdenhölzer .

The 57th Theatertreffen (2020) and all side events were initially canceled in mid-March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic . In April the decision was made to allow the virtual theater meeting to take place from May 1st to 9th. Six of the ten selected productions were made available as streaming online over six days, with live chat being enabled at the same time. On May 9th, the virtual Theatertreffen will result in an evening online broadcast of the winners' determination and a final discussion with the seven theater critics of the jury: Margarete Affenzeller, Cornelia Fiedler, Wolfgang Höbel, Georg Kasch, Andreas Klaeui, Shirin Sojitrawalla, Franz Wille; Moderation: Christine Wahl. On the early evening of the same day, the special framework conditions of the Corona-Theatertreffen are honored with a streamed conversation on the topic of "System check - the crisis is not Corona" with Thomas Oberender and the curator Ibou Coulibaly Diop. A live chat on is planned for both final events .


As part of the Theatertreffen three prizes are awarded: The Berlin Theater Prize of the Prussian Sea Action Foundation is awarded to a person or group who has made a special contribution to German-language theater. The 3sat Prize honors a trend-setting, artistically innovative performance from the productions invited to the Theatertreffen, and the Alfred Kerr Acting Prize honors the outstanding performance of a young actor.

Program pillars


The Theatertreffen's play market was founded in 1978 as a discovery festival for as yet unknown authors from Europe. It established itself as the first funding initiative for contemporary drama in German-speaking countries.

In 2012 a process of opening up the Stückemarkt to a contemporary concept of author was started. Since then, authors have been able to apply for theater texts and theater projects in which the medium of language is a main aspect in a Europe-wide open competition. A five-person jury of artists will select five pieces from the entries. As part of the Theatertreffen, the selected works will be presented according to their form - as guest performances, scenic readings, performances, site-specific formats and the like. a.

Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives is the international platform of the Theatertreffen, founded by Daniel Richter, head dramaturge of the Theatertreffen, which presents guest performances outside of Europe in addition to the ten remarkable productions from German-speaking countries.

TT context

As a comprehensive discourse program, TT Context accompanies the artistic program pillars of the Theatertreffen (the selection of ten, the play market and the international guest performance platform Shifting Perspectives).

International forum

The International Forum is a two-week, internationally advertised program for professional theater makers up to 35 years of age who work artistically in the field of drama. It sees itself as a platform for a comprehensive theoretical and practical exchange. The International Forum includes workshops with artists from the Theatertreffen as well as performance visits. The participants receive a scholarship.

Theatertreffen blog

Since 2009, selected young journalists have been accompanying the Theatertreffen on the Theatertreffen blog with reviews, essays, photo and video contributions. The blog's predecessor was the festival newspaper, which was created from 2005 to 2008 in collaboration with the “Berliner Zeitung”.

The TT blog was funded by the Rudolf Augstein Foundation from 2011 to 2015 . The TT blog has been funded by the NRZ Press House Foundation since 2016.


Lists of the invited productions at the previous theater meetings:


  • Berliner Festspiele (ed.): Fifty Theatertreffen. 1964-2013. Publisher Theater der Zeit, Berlin, 2013.
  • Eckhardt, Ulrich / von Liebermann, Börries (ed.): 25 years of Theatertreffen in Berlin. 1964-1988 . A book from the Berliner Festspiele published by Argon-Verlag, Berlin, 1989.
  • Berliner Festspiele (ed.): 1951-2000. 50 years of the Berliner Festwochen. An annotated chronicle. Berlin, 2000.
  • Adler, Henrik / Sartorius, Joachim (ed.): The book of the Berliner Festspiele. Berlin, 2011.


  • 50 years of the Theatertreffen: We're going to Berlin! Documentary, Germany, 2013. Written and directed by Andreas Lehmann, Production: Kobalt Productions, 3sat, ZDF. First broadcast: May 18, 2013 on 3sat.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Berliner Festspiele: Berliner Festspiele - Theatertreffen: Rules of Procedure. Retrieved June 15, 2018 .
  2. Anke Dürr: Berliner Theatertreffen: These are the best productions . In: Spiegel Online . January 30, 2018 ( [accessed June 15, 2018]).
  3. ^ Federal Agency for Civic Education: Berliner Stückemarkt | bpb. Retrieved June 15, 2018 .
  4. Ulrich Eckhardt, Börries von Liebermann (Ed.): “The 'Rules of Procedure' in Transition”. In: 25 years of the Theatertreffen in Berlin. Quoted from Almanach of the Berliner Festwochen 1964. A book from the Berliner Festspiele published by Argon-Verlag, Berlin 1989, p. 33 .
  5. "A magnifying glass of theatrical developments" . In: @GI_weltweit . ( [accessed June 15, 2018]).
  6. "A magnifying glass of theatrical developments" . In: @GI_weltweit . ( [accessed June 15, 2018]).
  7. ARCult Media GmbH: International Forum - Scholarship Program of the Theatertreffen der Berliner Festspiele. Retrieved June 15, 2018 .
  8. In the Theaterschlaraffenland . In: @GI_weltweit . ( [accessed June 15, 2018]).
  9. ^ Berliner Festspiele: Berliner Festspiele - Theatertreffen: Theatertreffen-Chronik 1964–2018. Retrieved June 15, 2018 .
  10. Stückemarkt Berliner Theatertreffen: Maya Arad Yasur receives work commission - Theater-News - Verlag Theater der Zeit. Retrieved June 15, 2018 .
  11. "A magnifying glass of theatrical developments" . In: @GI_weltweit . ( [accessed June 15, 2018]).
  12. Berliner Theatertreffen plans Frauenquote ,, published and accessed on April 30, 2019
  13. Theatertreffen is canceled ,, published and accessed on March 16, 2020
  14. Theatertreffen virtual - in the nachtkritikstream from May 1st to 9th on and ,, accessed May 8, 2020
  15. Foundation's own prizes «Prussian Sea Trade Foundation. Accessed June 15, 2018 (German).
  16. 3sat Prize for Wiebke Puls at the 55th Theatertreffen -. Accessed June 15, 2018 (German).
  17. ARCult Media GmbH: Alfred Kerr Actors Prize. Retrieved June 15, 2018 .
  18. Stückemarkt Berliner Theatertreffen: Maya Arad Yasur receives work commission - Theater-News - Verlag Theater der Zeit. Retrieved June 15, 2018 .
  19. Patrick Wildermann: Finally good lyrics again! In: Der Tagesspiegel Online . April 29, 2015, ISSN  1865-2263 ( [accessed June 15, 2018]).
  20. Berlin Festival