before the show

Full house for Thomas Frank: the first lecture on NEW GERMAN THEATRE lured over 60 interested Rijekans into the baroque Foyer of the National Theatre.

We were amazed as more and more people poured into the Foyer on the first floor of the Croatian National Theatre (HNK) in Rijeka on Thursday, 29.03.2012, and quickly grabbed more chairs to accommodate everyone. Not only students from the department of German literature, our partner in this event, filled the room, but also theatre students and theatre makers from Rijeka and around, as well as members of the general public.

Thomas Frank, who studied theatre studies in Germany and Scotland, worked in the independent theatre scene in Germany, namely at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt and Sophiensaele Berlin before establishing brut Vienna as one of the most renowned international co-production spaces in Austria, proved to be an expert on the independent theatre scene or off scene.
After describing the aesthetic development from the 60s up until today, he exemplary introduced the works of some key actors in the contemporary experimental theatre scene: Rimini Protokoll, pioneers of documentary theatre with their acclaimed show “Radio Muezzin”, where Muezzins recount their everyday lives. The second example showed excerpts from “Gob Squad’s kitchen” by German-British performance collective Gob Squad, where actors re-stage Andy Warhols films and eventually replace the actors with members from the audience.
The radio theatre group LIGNA provided another illustration of trends in the performing arts. Their piece “the new man” does not require any actors, but the audience is guided through headphones and creates its very own theatrical experience. You can try it out at our ZOOM festival in early September 2012, where Ligna is one of our headliners.

But as much as theatre is about makers, it also needs places of production. Thomas Frank presented the most influential production houses in the German speaking Realm, namely
HAU Berlin
Sophiensaele Berlin
Künstleraus Mousonturm Frankfurt
Theaterhaus Gessnerallee Zürich
brut Wien

Other acclaimed houses are PACT Zollverein Essen, Kampnagel Hamburg, Forum Freies Theater Düsseldorf.

The subsequent discussion mainly focussed on the relation between the independent scene and the established, rather conservative institutions, which is a hotly debated topic in Croatia at the moment.

After the discussion, Thomas Frank took some time to answer questions by the students of German language.

We thank our supporters Magdalena Lupi of HNK theatre, for hosting us in her splendid theatre and Petra Žagar-Šoštarić from the department of German language and literature, university of Rijeka for the cooperation and of course our wonderful volunteers Mirna Martinovic, Mirjam Milohanić and Krešimir Jerić.

And our donators: Nacionalna zaklada za razvoj civilnog društva, Grad Rijeka,
Ministarstvo Kulture Republike Hrvatske

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