"I see the prize as an 'encouragement prize'. It is intended to honor and strengthen theatres in their role as places of aesthetic engagement with social issues. The selection of prize winners reflects the unique artistic diversity of the theatre landscape in Germany," said Monika Grütters (Minister of State for Culture 2013 - 2021).
The Federal Theatre Prize is aimed at small and medium-sized theatres - especially those outside the major cities - whose programmes in the 2014/15 season formed the basis of the evaluation. With the prize money totaling 900,000 €, the federal government wants to encourage these theatres to continue successful examples of cultural work that has an impact on urban society.
A total of 180 guests attended the prize ceremony at the Akademie der Künste Berlin on January 29, 2016. The moderator, Tobi Müller, led through the evening. Balbina provided the musical entertainment.
"The Anhaltisches Theater Dessau has implemented an ambitious and distinguished program in all sections under high political pressure to cut. The production "Kristallpalast", a cooperation of the two divisions dance and drama, which were temporarily threatened with closure, showed in an exemplary way the opening of the theater to the history of the city and its inhabitants. The jury understands the award to the Anhaltisches Theater Dessau also as an encouragement to continue this program line under more difficult financial conditions and a new artistic direction." - Jury statement
"The group Das letzte Kleinod is an outstanding example of contemporary theater work in the rural area between Bremerhaven and Buxtehude. There, at the Gestenseeth train station, is where the group is based, and from there it sets off with the audience on expeditions throughout the region in its own theatrical railroad, the "Ocean Blue Train" with up to ten carriages. Her plays deal with the themes of the cultural landscape on the North Sea coast: work, flight, migration, colonialism, research, piracy and war. From this regional location, the group has developed new, contemporary formats on the highly topical subject of flight and displacement, which it also realizes in international collaborations. In addition, productions for children and young people form an important program line." - Jury statement
"Heimathafen Neukölln, which is run by a four-person team of committed theater women, makes folk theater for the neighborhood, preferring to draw its material from the immediate surroundings, staging texts by Neukölln authors and repeatedly developing research projects around site-specific history(s). With its colorful mix of theater, concerts, poetry slams, cabaret, and readings, in which stories of migration, asylum, and flight have long played a central role, it attracts a broad audience and, despite free structures, seeks continuity in its repertoire. In doing so, small pearls of empathically role-changing play succeed again and again with the least scenic means, for which the works of director Nicole Oder, who in 2014/15 worked on the play development "Ultima Ratio" about a church asylum case in Neukölln, which was also strongly noticed beyond the region, can stand as an example." - Jury statement
"With the award for the Figurentheaterzentrum Lindenfels Westflügel, the jury would like to honor a theater genre that is often overshadowed by media attention. The "Westflügel" is a venue that presents a remarkably broad spectrum of national and international figure theater to the public. At the center of the program are the productions of the house ensemble "Wilde & Vogel"; in addition, numerous international collaborations, works by up-and-coming artists, as well as workshops and other platforms for discourse are initiated; there is also close cooperation with the "FITZ! - Zentrum für Figurentheater Stuttgart". Thus, the "Westflügel" has developed not only into a remarkable production venue, but beyond that into a think tank of today's figure theater." - Jury statement
"For 15 years now, the FFT Düsseldorf has been creating a program between the participation of the city's inhabitants and experimental artistic positions in the performing arts. Together with regional and international artists, it constantly invents new formats that succeed in combining different disciplines of conceptual thinking with aesthetic actions. In doing so, the FFT creates a sphere of city, art and theater at eye level, which strives not only to understand figures of thought as an artistic process, but to convey their complexity and transfer them to the reality of life." - Jury statement
"The FUNDUS Theater in Hamburg's Wandsbek district is a children's theater unique in its kind in Germany, which sees itself as a social experimentation site and turns children into explorers of the reality that surrounds them. Successful scenic projects such as the class swap, the children's bench and the hair salon allow children from the most diverse backgrounds to experience the world through role reversal. Empathy and curiosity thus become the most important instruments for playfully shaping the future. With the FUNDUS Theater, the jury would like to award a particularly courageous and alert children's theater that successfully goes its way off the beaten track." - Jury statement
"In the season following the highly acclaimed start to the directorship of Shermin Langhoff and Jens Hillje, the Maxim Gorki Theater continues to lead the way in reflecting the diversity of the city of Berlin in its choice of material as well as in the composition of its mostly post-migrant ensemble with diverse backgrounds of experience - and in doing so shows what future urban theater in Germany, a country of immigration, could look like. With play developments and productions that either discover new texts for the theater or make the canon newly readable with decisive interpretations, this theater has won and retained a young and heterogeneous audience. In doing so, the Gorki also repeatedly undertakes uncomfortable settings, such as the offensive thematization of the Armenian genocide (and Germany's role in it) in the theme weeks "It's Snowing in April" or the collaboration with the Center for Political Beauty ("First European Fall of the Berlin Wall")." - Jury statement
"The Bremerhaven Municipal Theatre (Stadttheater Bremerhaven) has shown in an exemplary way how a house away from large theater metropolises can approach the city and its population and deal with the history, the current situation and the pressing problems of its location. Through cross-disciplinary productions and research projects both in the theater itself and at exposed outdoor venues, the theater confronts the specific situation of a heavily indebted port city caught between unemployment, shipyard crisis and economic change." - Jury statement
"The Städtische Bühnen Osnabrück succeeds in an impressive way in creating a qualitatively remarkable and stringent program with all sections equally. Sustainable promotion of authors is just as central here as ambitious music theater, which is open to rarely performed and contemporary operas. With large-scale research projects and a straightforward festival concept inherited from the former management team, the theater networks intensively in the public sphere. The consistent cultivation of ensemble work ensures a stable anchoring of the house throughout the city." - Jury statement
"Theater der Altmark (Landestheater Sachsen-Anhalt Nord) is characterized by a concept that, in addition to a broad and ambitious program with a committed citizens' stage, pursues a determined opening into the city. In courageous cooperation formats, the Landestheater in Stendal deliberately crosses the boundaries between art and social work, thus pointing to the growing void of the social in society. With its social interventions, it closes exemplary social deficits, assumes direct responsibility for living together, and thus actively sets an artistic sign for the situation in the city and the country." - Jury statement
"Leipzig's Theater der Jungen Welt is not only a house with a great tradition in children's and youth theater, it has also positioned itself very well for the present and the future: The repertoire is conceived with unusual play developments, with contemporary drama and experimental dance projects - which a strong ensemble then realizes for the stage at a continuously high level. Original material and diverse directorial manuscripts repeatedly challenge the young audience (and adults!) in an exemplary way, also aesthetically, to deal with their own contradictory feelings and attitudes as well as with the ambivalences of the world around them." - Jury statement
"Few municipal theaters open themselves up to the independent scene as sociably as Theater Oberhausen, whether in the context of the double-pass cooperation (with the collective geheimagentur, which invented the lecture musical "Sweat Shop" here in 2014/15), or in the cooperation with the Mülheim Ringlokschuppen and the urban exploration project "54th City," for which four independent groups created theatrical visions of the future of the Ruhr region at the beginning of the season. With an excellently positioned ensemble behind him, artistic director Peter Carp has repeatedly succeeded in recent years in establishing remarkably advanced aesthetics in the city and in attracting international directors to his house (in 2014/15, for example, Andriy Zholdak, Bram Jansen and Simon Stone). In a particularly productive way, the balancing act between artistically challenging signatures and regional connection succeeds here." - Jury statement
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