Theatertage am See - call for applications

The 39th Theatertage am See will take place from 19 to 24 March 2024.

Is theatre allowed to do that?

Motto Theatre is allowed to!

The motto of the 39th Theatertage am See sounds like an act of defiance and is reminiscent of Kurt Tucholski's well-known question, alias Ignaz Wrobel (Berliner Tageblatt, 27.01.1919, No. 36), as to what satire is allowed to do. His answer: Everything.

That should also apply to theatre.

But is that right?

Is it really that simple?

Sure, the Basic Law guarantees freedom of speech and art, and we are proud to live in an open and democratic society.

But aren't there some restrictions after all? The fact that, for example, offensive, racist, anti-Semitic, discriminatory, misogynistic, homophobic, conspiracy-ideological ... statements are not allowed is initially considered a social agreement. But what does that mean for theatre in this specific case?

Is the story of the Moor Othello still allowed on stage, even without a trigger warning? How is the femicide of Emilia Galotti or Luise Miller to be judged? And if the classical bonus applies in these cases, what taboos apply to current plays?

Today there are certainly fewer moral taboos, also as far as the forms of representation are concerned, there is great freedom on stage.

On the other hand: the debate between fighters for "wokeness" and opponents of "cancel culture" is often irreconcilable, also in theatre. In this context, what Tucholski states may often be true: "Above all, the German makes a mistake: he confuses the represented with the represented". And probably not only the German!

Theatre has always explored boundaries and not infrequently transgressed them. Theatre provokes, questions, challenges valid or prevailing conditions, values, moral or aesthetic ideas, deconstructs realities or rather ideas of realities. And in doing so, it stirs things up. In open societies, theatre is an indispensable part of democratic and participatory discourse. Totalitarian systems instrumentalise theatre as a mediator of prevailing conditions. Theatre is not allowed to do many things there, it has to serve the system. And yet it is precisely under such conditions that theatre develops its true potential. The exciting venues shift to backyards, living rooms, the underground and there theatre develops the power through passion that makes people strong and encourages change. This shows: theatre needs freedom and finds its way to it, against all odds!

The stage is a fictional space in which the world can be portrayed in all its facets, with utopias and dystopias, aberrations or everyday stories, dreams and realities.

This is a unique place to model how social and individual processes unfold, how characters develop positively or radicalise, how systems develop in a totalitarian or democratic way, end-time scenarios can be created or longings for harmony and happy endings.

And what a great opportunity this is to show processes, constellations, relationships, characters - indeed, human action in general - and to put them up for discussion by the audience!

This also applies to "school, youth and amateur theatre": You can do anything!

Thanks for your interest. Application deadline was 25.11.2023

(Translation by DeepL)