Forced entertainment

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Forced Entertainment is a post-dramatic British artist group led by Tim Etchells . It was founded in 1984 in Sheffield and creates works across genres in the fields of theater , installation , performance , digital media and film .


  • Tim Etchells (Artistic Director, Director and Writer)
  • Robin Arthur (performer and designer)
  • Richard Lowdon (performer and designer)
  • Claire Marshall (performer)
  • Cathy Naden (performer)
  • Terry O'Connor (performer)


Since the beginning of the 1990s, Forced Entertainment has been guesting and producing regularly in German-speaking countries, especially with their performances and durational performances, at theaters such as the Berliner Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz , the Frankfurt Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and the Tanzquartier Wien . The core group is partially supplemented by numerous guest performers and employees from other artistic disciplines specific to production. Aesthetically, the group's theater works are located between elements of classical performance on the one hand and the conventions of classical theater. They cite elements of performance, make them usable for their theater works, which are committed to the theater market and the audience of international theater festivals, and derive their often comical energy from this programmatic short circuit. A more recent, striking example of this examination of performance in the theater is her stage version of Sophie Calles "Exquisite Pain", which premiered in 2005 . The performances by Forced Entertainment are not based on dramas, rather the question of the (replacement) text for the respective evening (where you are in the theater) is constantly replayed and an excursion into alternative drafts of what a theater evening is about and how it could work. A characteristic of the style of play of Forced Entertainment is that roles are never continuously embodied, but rather the performers themselves are shown in their mostly flirtatious, pitiful attempts to play often small, undramatic, emblematically reduced types. So not only the question of the plot of the evening, but also that of the competence of those "who got onto the stage" is often in the foreground of these playful post-dramatic theater performances.

Durational Performances

From 1993 onwards the group developed a particularly unique style in their "Durational Performances" pieces, the structure and length of which breaks with the theater convention that you have to watch the piece from beginning to end. This arises less through a particularly open form that encourages coming and going, but rather through the uniformity of events along the rules of the game that are soon understood. In "Speak Bitterness" (first performance 1994) the performers sit at a long table across from the audience. From an apparently inexhaustible arsenal of small pieces of paper on the table, they draw very small and very large mishaps, which they first read for themselves and then "publicly confess" . Gentle in tone, relaxed in execution, "Speak Bitterness" seems to want to go on forever and never aim at provocation.

In "12 am: Awake & Looking Down", Forced Entertainment's first "Durational Performance" (premiered in 1993), the top rule is that no word is spoken. Instead, text signs and an extensive cloakroom are available on the stage, from which the performers draw a never-ending stream of emblematic short-term disguises at a relaxed pace, each of which they name with one of the signs ("Phantasy Fred" etc.) . The duration, which is always predetermined, varies between six and eleven hours. "Who Can Sing A Song to Unfrighten Me?" (First performance 1999) lasts exactly 24 hours and seems to want to use all the possibilities of improvisational theater like a Carneval cornucopia . This happens according to the rule of the game that the performers try to dispel the worries and fears of the audience.

In contrast to classic long-term performances such as I like America and America likes Me ( Joseph Beuys , 1974) or Relation in Time ( Marina Abramović and Ulay , 1977), the performers are less frequent in these performances, as well as in the performances that are limited in time to a manageable scope Carrying existential test arrangements, but always maintain a playful distance from the test arrangements of the respective performance, characterized by humor and superiority.


  • Emanuelle Enchanted
  • Speak Bitterness
  • Pleasure
  • Quizoola!
  • Bloody mess
  • Exquisite pain
  • The World in Pictures
  • Void story
  • Sight is the sense that dying people tend to lose first
  • Tomorrow's parties.


  • 1998: "Golden Gate Award for the Best Short Documentary"
  • 1999: Award in the CD-ROM category, " Transmediale ", Berlin
  • Awarded by Photo UK, The UK Year of Photography and the Electronic Image, London
  • 2016: International Ibsen Prize


  • Tim Etchells: Certain Fragments. Contemporary Performance and Forced Entertainment . Routledge, London 2001, ISBN 0-415-17383-3 .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Media Art Net: Relation in Time .
  2. ^ A raft on the stream of time FAZ of December 19, 2011, page 37.