Berlin’s “Theatertreffen” festival set to open (May 4 – 20, 2018)
Held each year in May, this festival focuses on exclusively on theater in the German-speaking world. A panel of approximately seven theater critics within the German-speaking world set out to choose “the ten best productions of the year” each year: selections are made from among works presented in the German-speaking countries of Austria, Switzerland and Germany between 66 and 14 weeks prior to the commencement of the festival. The reasons for selection are published later in the Theatertreffen festival magazine. Also, the panel’s critics send letters stating their reasons for selecting the works to their directors. This year, 33 works were nominated from a total of 409 performances given in 54 German-speaking cities, and after careful consideration 10 final selections were made.
Notable among the final selections are such large productions as The Silver Bullet, written by Elfriede Jelinek and directed by Falk Richter, contemplating 2000 years of human history and Donald Trump; Returning to Reims, directed Thomas Ostermeier; and a seven-hour long production of Faust, directed by Frank Castorf and starring Martin Wuttke.
Other featured productions include Woyzeck, directed by Ulrich Rasches and performed by the Basel Theater; The Odyssey by young German director Antu Romero Nunez, of Portuguese and Chilean parentage, who began attracting attention while still a graduate student; and Anta Helena Recke, the only chosen female writer and also a person of color, who directed the work Middle Kingdom (production by the Munich Kammerspiele).
This theater meeting is held every year in Berlin in May since 1963. From among the roughly 2,000 theater productions performed each year in the German-speaking countries of Austria, Switzerland and Germany, a jury of freelance theater critics select ten outstanding works to be invited to this festival, which has gained a reputation as a proving ground for young theater makers. During the festival period, the organizers of the Theatertreffen, the Berliner Festspiele, cooperates with the Head Office of the Munich Goethe Institute and Switzerland’s Arts Council Pro Helvetia to organize two weeks of workshops known as the International Forum. This forum is attended by theater-makers under the age of 35, not only from the German-speaking countries but also from other countries around the world. With introductions of scripts and discussions, the forum serves as a platform for young theater people. In addition to the introduction of scripts, it also functions to present two weeks of workshops.