29.5.–9.6.2024 Cologne, Düsseldorf and Mülheim an der Ruhr

About us


Programme + Production, email hidden; JavaScript is required info[at]impulsefestival.de
Haiko Pfost, Artistic Direction
Armin Leoni, Production Management
Melissa Müller, Production
Susanne Berthold, Production ACADEMY
Laron Janus, Production CITY PROJECT
Anna Bründl, Dramaturgy CITY PROJECT
Wilma Renfordt, Dramaturgy
Pascal Jung, Assistance Team + Production

Technical Department
Nino Petrich, Technical Director

Press/Marketing, email hidden; JavaScript is required presse[at]impulsefestival.de
Ann-Charlotte Günzel, Press
Lena Busse, Social Media / Marketing
Alice Ferl, Audience Development
Theresa Heussen, Visitors programme

Editorial team
Patricia Maurer, Editor-in-chief
Katharina Sacken, Proof-reading
David Tushingham, Translation

Venue Design
Johannes Weckl
Ansgar Prüwer

sensomatic, Print
V2A.NET, Website

NRW KULTURsekretariat
Dr. Christian Esch, Director
Christina Dath, Administrative Manager
Martin Maruschka, Press
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Impulse jury 2024
The panel is responsible for assessment and selection of the SHOWCASE. It is made up of Impulse’s artistic team together with external regional experts and a representative of the audience of the SHOWCASE-partner.

Kathrin Bieligk, Scout Austria
Haiko Pfost, Artistic Director Impulse Theater Festival and Scout cross-regional
Sahar Rahimi, Scout Southern Germany
Wilma Renfordt, Dramaturg Impulse Theater Festival and Scout Northern Germany
Lena Schleicher Baltrusch, representative of the audience, studiobühneköln
Barbara Weber, Scout Switzerland

Further regional experts:
Anna Bründl, Scout cross-regional
Jan-Philipp Possmann, Scout Southern Germany

Biographies of the members of the Impule Panel 2024

Kathrin Bieligk is a dramaturg for theatre and performance and curator of discursive formats, and lives in Vienna. As a member of the executive board of the Dramaturgische Gesellschaft, she co-programmes their annual congresses and initiated the dramaturgical platform for Austria. She is a member of the advisory panel for theatre, dance and performance responsible for funding recommendations in the Viennese independent sector and of the curatorium at Tanzquartier Wien. She also teaches on the A!Drama course at mdw Wien and serves on a number of juries for playwriting grants and prizes. She has previously held posts at Werk X, in Bregenz, Linz, Wuppertal and Bonn, at the Vienna Burgtheater and at the Theater am Turm in Frankfurt. Before working in the theatre, she curated exhibitions.

Haiko Pfost, born in the Black Forest in 1972, trained as an industrial manager and studied Theatre, Religious Studies and Psychology in Berlin. He has worked as a festival dramaturg for Festival Theaterformen in Braunschweig and Hanover (2003-2004), steirischer herbst in Graz (2005-2006), the International Schillertage in Mannheim (2007 and 2009) and was a member of the selection panel for the festival Politik im Freien Theater in 2010/2011. In 2004/2005 he was director of the opening ceremony, curator and dramaturg of the Volkspalast, the temporary cultural repurposing of the Palast der Republik in Berlin. Together with Thomas Frank he founded brut Wien in Vienna in 2007 and ran the organization until 2013. They were awarded the Nestroy special prize for best programme in 2009. From 2014 to 2018 he worked as a freelance curator, dramaturg, lecturer and consultant, for example heading the three-year workshop and development programme ‘The Autonomous Actor’ in Finland (2015-2018). He has served on numerous juries, including funding panels for the cities of Munich and Vienna, the performance prize H13 and the festival Hauptsache Frei. He has lectured on the course of Advanced Studies in Applied Dramaturgy at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna and in the winter semester 2021/22 he taught as Christoph Schlingensief Fellow at the Ruhr University Bochum. Haiko Pfost is Artistic Director of the Impulse Theater Festival for the festival editions from 2018 to 2024.

Sahar Rahimi, born in Tehran, is a director, writer and performer and currently lives in Munich. She has studied at the Institute of Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen and is a co-founder of the performance group Monster Truck. She works in the fields of theatre, performance, installations and video in both the independent sector and in city theatres. At the centre of her work lies an interest in the ambivalent border zones between the powerful and the powerless.

Wilma Renfordt studied Theatre Studies, Art History and Literature at the Free University Berlin. She has been a member and dramaturg of the theatre group copy & waste, collaborated on exhibitions and texts for the project office of Friedrich von Borries in Berlin, and worked as a freelance writer and dramaturg for institutions including the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, the Gessnerallee in Zurich and the Sophiensæle Berlin. In 2017 she was the dramaturg of the steirische herbst festival in Graz. She has been Dramaturg at the Impulse Theater Festival since 2017 and in 2022 also joined the project staff responsible for the conception of a digital archive of the independent performing arts.

Barbara Weber studied Theatre Directing at the University of Hamburg’s Institute of Theatre, Music Theatre and Film. She has worked as a theatre director since 2001 and won the Fonds Darstellende Künste’s award at the 2005 Impulse Theater Festival. From 2008 to 2013 she was the Director of the Theater Neumarkt in Zürich together with Rafael Sanchez. Since 2013 she has worked as a freelance curator, director and producer. She was Artistic Director of the long-term festival ZH-REFORMATION. CH and responsible for the talks programme at KUNST:SZENE Zürich 2018. Barbara Weber is Artistic Director of the anniversary project ‘200th birthday: Johanna Spyri’.

Impulse Theatre Festival 2018-2024

The Impulse Theatre Festival has been the leading platform for independent theatre in the German-speaking countries for thirty years. Every year NRW KULTURsekretariat's Impulse Festival presents exemplary works that have been produced outside the classic system of city theatres that test, expand and question the medium of theatre. Many of the artistic innovations that have brought theatre in the German language alive in recent decades – such as Rimini Protokoll, René Pollesch and She She Pop – have been seen at Impulse, being discovered there by the theatre world and the press and gaining an international reputation.

Artistic Director for the festivals from 2018 to 2024 is the curator, dramaturg and theatre researcher Haiko Pfost. Under his leadership, the festival could already continue to extend its role as the meeting point for the independent theatre from all German-speaking countries while simultaneously generating enthusiasm for independent theatre among new audiences. The three core programmes — SHOWCASE, ACADEMY and CITY PROJECT — rotate each year between the three partner institutions studiobühneköln, FFT Düsseldorf and Ringlokschuppen Ruhr.

The showcase presents a chance to see outstanding productions of the past year and the most interesting newcomers of the season: these are challenging works that represent a plurality of diverse theatre forms and aesthetics and in that plurality epitomize independent theatre. Assessment is carried out by the six-strong Impulse jury that meets once a year to discuss suggestions for the programme. It consists of Impulse’s artistic team, regional scouts and a representative from the audience of its showcase partner.

The Impulse ACADEMY regards itself as forum that is key to understanding the identity of independent theatre. Workshops, lectures, panels and experimental formats will consider issues arising out of independent theatre-making practice: its annual chosen themes cover aesthetic and political questions as well as financial and production matters. The Impulse ACADEMY is aimed primarily at professional theatremakers, students, producers and academics but does not exclude interested members of the public.

The CITY PROJECT combines urgent issues of our time with a local context — a working method within the performing arts developed by independent theatre. It is particularly accessible in terms of form and encourages a wide audience to sample independent theatre.