Hamburg is to host the 15th “Theater der Welt” from May 25 to June 11, 2017 marking the return of the International Theatre Institute’s festival (ITI) to the place of its genesis, according to a press release on March 24th, 2017. ITI is the largest organization of the performing arts under the umbrella of UNESCO. Ivan Nagel, a German theatre scholar and critic, founded the “Theater der Welt” festival as “Theater der Nationen” in 1979. After a guest performance in 1989, Hamburg will now host the theatre festival for the third time.
Dr. Carsten Brosda, Senator for Culture, said: “The 'Theater der Welt’ festival shows us the diversity of contemporary theatre with a programme that transcends borders in many respects: borders of genres and sectors, borders of countries and regions, borders of art and culture to what is allegedly beyond these spheres. The festival invites the world to come to Hamburg and to show us what motivates people, the essentials, what divides us and what connects us. The port is a place of intercultural exchange and understanding and could not have been a better choice for the programme’s focal point.”
Thalia Theatre is hosting the festival in collaboration with Kampnagel, funded by the Ministry of Culture of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
Global spectators and artists in Hamburg
The “Theater der Welt 2017” will present 45 productions including 27 premieres and first performances under the theme “Global meets Local”. It will bring international artists in drama, dance, literature and visual arts, film and music from every continent together with local artists and include productions by Thalia und Kampnagel. A supporting programme of discussions and music performances will complement dramas on stage. Joachim Lux, Festival Director, Amelie Deuflhard, Sandra Küpper, András Siebold, Artistic Directors of the 2017 festival, noted: “The 'Theater der Welt 2017’ is the biggest international theatre festival ever hosted in Hamburg. The entire programme unites the local and global and presents a diverse, broad range of worldwide theatre developments. Spectators and artists from all over the world are invited to Hamburg for 18 days – to see a counter model to the contemporary zeitgeist of nationalism and isolationism.”
Harbour as inspiration for “Theater der Welt”
Hamburg submitted an application to host the festival led by Prof. Barbara Kisseler, the deceased, former senator for culture. This year’s “Theater der Welt” takes the harbour as inspiration and venue. The port is a gigantic hub of international trade and the scene of arrivals and departures tinged with poetic significance – wanderlust and homesickness as well as discovery. Thus, globalisation and trade, escape and migration will play big roles during the festival.
The main theatre venues include the port, Thalia Theater and Kampnagel as well as Baakenhöft in HafenCity, the cocoa warehouse in the former Afrikaterminal, MS Stubnitz, Thalia Zelt and the Haven Festival Centre as well as the Elbphilharmonie, Oberhafen and places in HafenCity and not forgetting the waterways.