Impulse Theater Festival

Düsseldorf, Cologne and Mülheim an der Ruhr

13— 23 June 2019

Academy #2 — OVERCOME YOURSELF!

Independent theatre between empowerment and self-optimisation
20.-23.06.
Led by: Jascha Sommer and Sina-Marie Schneller (Cheers for Fears)
Languages: German and English

Continuous reflection on and revision of one’s own artistic practice and its conditions is an important component of the work of practitioners in the independent theatre. While in the past criticism of “theatre” as an institution may have occupied the foreground, independent theatre itself has now become more institutionalised. As a consequence the question arises afresh, in which direction independent theatre and its structures should be adapted and improved — and for whom.

In this context, current efforts can partly be regarded as empowering the scene and those active within it but also as a route to optimisation both on an individual and an institutional level: associations advocate more professional structures, raising the scene’s profile and raising funding. Artists make use of training and advance their own development through mentoring programmes and feedback sessions. Solidary networks work on removing hierarchies from the power structures within institutions and groups and removing mechanisms of exclusion.

The ACADEMY invites interested parties to examine the narrow borderline between selfoptimisation and empowerment in several days of workshops and a conference. How do strategically planned working processes change how artists understand themselves and their works? What are the effects of solidary forms of organisation? And what role might the independent theatre play in cultural politics and society in future? Is it a critical corrective and area for experimentation or is it more a model for the efficient cultural institutions of tomorrow?


The ACADEMY #2 is a co-production with Cheers for Fears. Cheers for Fears is funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia and by the Kunststiftung NRW.


© Christian Herrmann
© Sven Neidig
© Stephan Glagla

21.06. Conference

10:00–12:30 UNDER CONTROL? — Guidance and optimisation in artistic processes

Language: English and German

Management techniques are omnipresent: life and business coaches, trainers and counsellors claim how work and the everyday can be guided, calculated and optimised – in ways that range from one’s own well-being and performance to the working process and its results. This development is also being felt in the independent theatre and in artists’ training. Theatre makers are accompanied by mentors and coaches, artistic works developed in workshops and feedback sessions and projects evaluated once they have been completed. But does this guarantee that the art will be any good? And how much scope remains for work, intuition and improvisation where the results are truly open?

Artists and academics from a variety of disciplines discuss the links between artistic practice and management discourse, reflect on what effects techniques to raise performance and quality have on artists and artistic outcomes and discuss potential alternatives to current developments.

Keynote by Axel Haunschild (Institute of Interdisciplinary Labour Studies, Leibniz Universität Hannover)

Impulses and discussion by and with: Sara Brandtstedt (freelance management coach), Dragana Bulut (choreographer, represented in the Impulse SHOWCASE with HAPPYOLOGY), Stefan Hölscher (Institute of Theatre Studies, Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Axel Haunschild (Institute of Interdisciplinary Labour Studies, Leibniz Universität Hannover), Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt (Institute of Art and Culture Studies, University of Copenhagen)

12:30–14:30 Break and Artistic programme

With Ale Bachlechner, THIS IS NOT A COMPETITION, Noam Brusilovsky, PARURESIS, and katze und krieg, AUF DEM GEPARDEN

14:30–17:00 OPTIMISED SCENE? — Transformations of the independent theatre between institutionalisation, empowerment and new alliances

Language: English and German

In recent years the independent theatre has successfully advocated better working conditions, higher funding budgets and greater visibility. In many places theatre makers are thinking about how to dismantle institutional hierarchies, create new opportunities for access and organise themselves in more solidary fashion. The panel attempts to assess the situation: how have artistic processes and their outcomes been changed by these developments? How diverse and solidary is the sector really? And who is sitting in the audience? Can the independent theatre continue to claim it is a critical corrective? And what role can it play in future in cultural politics and society: as an area of resistance, a mainstream cultural institution or something in between?

Keynote by Marta Keil (Performing Arts Institute, Warsaw)

Impulses and discussions by and with: Melmun Bajarchuu / Adele Dittrich Frydetzki (INITIATIVE for SOLIDARITY at the THEATRE), Matthias Frense (Ringlokschuppen Ruhr), Julian Kamphausen (Performing Arts Programm), Marta Keil (Performing Arts Institute, Warsaw), Moritz Kotzerke (Wem gehört die Kunst?), S.E. Struck / Philine Velhagen (PALAIS TEMPORÄR) and Elisa Liepsch / Julian Warner (editors “Allianzen: Kritische Praxis an weißen Institutionen”)

Followed by shuttle bus to the SHOWCASE in Düsseldorf

Biographies

Ale Bachlechner is a performance and video artist and works at the shared studios city center studio in Cologne. She studied Comparative Literature in Innsbruck and Media Arts at the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne. Her works include the temporary dating agency ‘Twelve Roses’ (2013) in Beirut, Lebanon, the performance coaching institute ‘This Is Not A Competition’ (2016) and the online TV format ‘Studio Hallo’ (2018). Since 2018 she has been a member of the Junges Kolleg of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Melmun Bajarchuu studied philosophy, sociology and political science in Hamburg, Germany. She works at the crossroads of theory, art and politics as a thinker, discourse partner, curator, dramaturg and artistic production manager, focusing specifically on poststructural, postcolonial and queerfeminist perspectives. Additionally, she researches micropolitical practices of resistance in the performing arts and is a collaborator in the INITIATIVE for SOLIDARITY at the THEATRE.

Sara Brandtstedt is a consultant, trainer and coach who works on processes of change in companies, businesses and organisations. She specialises in developing teams, facilitating processes of transformation within organisations and inspiring people for “new work” and leadership in an agile world.

Noam Brusilovsky is a writer and director. He studied at Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts in Israel and Theatre Directing at the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst Ernst Busch in Berlin from 2012. In recent years he has worked regularly as a radio playwright and director for Deutschlandfunk and Südwestrundfunk. In the theatre he has created projects at the Sophiensæle Berlin and the Konzert Theater Bern. His theatre productions have been presented at several festivals and his radio plays have been broadcast on all ARD stations and won numerous awards. In 2018 he was nominated as “Young Playwright of the Year” in Theater heute magazine’s critics’ poll.

Dragana Bulut graduated with an MA in Solo/Dance/ Authorship at the Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz of the Universität der Künste Berlin. Since 2005 she has developed her own choreographic work, in which she questions different configurations of aesthetics, labour and economics through the staging of social choreographies. For her playful, yet critical pieces she won the Prix Jardin d’Europe 2010 European Prize for Young Choreographers. In 2013/15 she was Artist-in-Residence at Akademie Schloss Solitude.

Adele Dittrich Frydetzki studied Applied Cultural and Theatre Studies in Hildesheim, Gießen and Warsaw. In her work she is interested in applying critical theories to theatre-aesthetic and institutional practices with the aim of transforming these in a cheerful and critical manner. Alongside her artistic work with the independent Hildesheim company DIE SOZIALE FIKTION she also collaborated with her contemporaries in the independent theatre and in city and state theatres as a co-director, curator, translator and performer. Most recent projects include Willkommen Anderswo Festival Bautzen and ‘Mittelreich’ with Anta Helena Recke. She is part of the INITIATIVE for SOLIDARITY at the THEATRE.

Matthias Frense is Artistic Director and Managing Director of Ringlokschuppen Ruhr in Mülheim. He studied Drama at the University of Hull and Theatre Directing at the Hamburger Theaterakademie. In the course of his first engagement at the Thalia Theater Hamburg the directors he worked with included Jürgen Flimm, Dimiter Gotscheff, George Tabori and Robert Wilson. Frense worked as Production Manager for Cirque du Soleil in Munich and the Ruhrtriennale in Essen. Under Artistic Director William Forsythe he produced numerous theatre and interdisciplinary art productions between 2002 and 2004 at TAT Frankfurt. Since 2006 he has curated the theatre programme at Ringlokschuppen Ruhr.

Axel Haunschild is Director of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Labour Studies at the Leibniz Universität Hannover. He has taught at the universities of Hamburg, Innsbruck and Trier and also at Royal Holloway College London. His areas of research include new forms of work and organisations, creative industries and the job market for artists, participation in decision-making and work-life boundaries. He is currently participating in a project on the independent theatre (with Franziska Schößler, Trier University) at the German Research Foundation’s research unit ‘Crisis structures in the arts. Dynamics of institutional transformation in the contemporary performing arts’.

Stefan Hölscher is conducting research into the workshop as an artistic-political format as a Fritz Thyssen project together with Kai van Eikels at the Ruhr University Bochum’s Institute of Theatre Studies. From 2001 to 2008 he studied Applied Theatre Studies in Gießen, where he was a research assistant between 2009 and 2013 and also worked on setting up the MA in Choreography and Performance. His dissertation ‘Wealthy Bodies — contemporary dance between aesthetics and bio-politics’ was published by transcript in 2015.

katze und krieg are the two performance artists katharinajej and Julia Dick. They live and work in Cologne. They met in 2007 while studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Braunschweig. They go shopping together in Aldi extremely slowly wearing beautiful ball-gowns, shake lampposts and fences while shouting loudly to reawaken animal instincts or open a shop in the middle of a pedestrian zone selling performances that fulfil all people’s needs. They create interventions as part of exhibitions and festivals in German-speaking countries and internationally — for example in 2018 as part of the Impulse Theater Festival’s City Project.

Marta Keil is a curator in the performing arts, researcher and dramaturg and Co-Director of the Performing Arts Institute in Warsaw. Together with Grzegorz Reske she curated the festival Konfrontacje Teatralne in Lublin from 2012 to 2017. She also founded and curated the East European Performing Arts Platform and from 2014 to 2015 led the programming department of Teatr Polski in Bydgoszcz. As a curator and dramaturg she has worked with e.g. Agnieszka Jakimiak, Rabih Mroué, Agata Siniarska and Ana Vujanović. She teaches at the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw and has published several books including ‘Choreography: Politicality’ (2018) and ‘Reclaiming the Obvious: on the Institution of Festival’ (2017).

Moritz Kotzerke studied Communications Design in Düsseldorf and Transdisciplinary Design in the graduate programme Heterotopia at the Folkwang Universität der Künste. This year he initiated a whispering conference at the Fundus Theater Hamburg and is researching alternative gathering practices. For the congress ‘Who does art belong to?’ in 2017 he developed a workshop with Celine Bellut and Christian Berens on the relationship between complexity and art and afterwards became part of the small working party for the second phase of the project ‘Who does art belong to?’. His other activities include the co-moderation of the collective allocation of funds at AZ Mülheim an der Ruhr and being a panellist at the (Inter-)Kulturkonferenz 2018.

Elisa Liepsch works as a dramaturg at the Künstler*innenhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt, having previously worked with Frie Leysen on Theater der Welt 2010 and at the Deutsches Nationaltheater/e-werk in Weimar. Together with Julian Warner and Matthias Pees she edited the book ‘Alliances: Critical Practice at White Institutions’. From autumn 2019 she will work for the Beursschouwburg in Brussels.

Sina-Marie Schneller studied Theatre and Literature in Bochum. She is a freelance moderator, programme maker and networker. As the co-ordinator of the mobile academy Cheers for Fears and a board member of the Landesbüro Freie Darstellende Künste NRW she works to create networks between young arts practitioners and academics and to increase their opportunities to work and collaborate.

Jascha Sommer is a performance and video artist, programmer and moderator. As Artistic Director of the mobile academy Cheers for Fears together with Sina-Marie Schneller he initiates cross art form encounters within festivals, summer academies and productions. He studied Literature and Theatre Studies as well as Scenic Research at the Ruhr University Bochum and the Université Paris X Nanterre La Défense. He is currently completing a postgraduate course at the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne.

Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt is a performance artist, theorist and curator currently enrolled as PhD associate at the University of Copenhagen. Schmidt studied Comparative Literature and Modern Cultural Studies in Copenhagen, and guested Theatre Science at FU Berlin and Applied Theatre Science in Gießen. She taught art theory at the BA Dance, Context, Choreography at HZT Berlin from 2011 until 2016. In her PhD, Schmidt examines temporality, measurement and self-accountancy in the work of young performance artists educated within the Bologna Process. Her main concerns are contemporary forms of collective organisation and infrastructural performance as response to neoliberal demands and austerity politics.

Julian Warner is a freelance cultural anthropologist operating where art meets academia. He was previously a research assistant at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. He has worked as a performer and dramaturg for a range of performances with Oliver Zahn and as part of HAUPTAKTION. Julian Warner was the ethnographer and dramaturg for Anta Helena Recke’s black copy of ‘Mittelreich’ and is co-editor of the anthology ‘Alliances: Critical Practice at White Institutions’ and works as a curator at the Künstler*innenhaus Mousonturm and the Sophiensæle. He lectures at the universities of Göttingen and Hildesheim as well as LMU Munich.

Ticket for the conference (FULLY BOOKED)


20.–23.06. Workshops


Workshop 1: THE SELF. A toolkit for post-patriarchal self-optimisation

Magdalena Emmerig / Rahel Gloria Spöhrer (THE AGENCY) and a personal trainer
Language: German

How does my self need to be constructed for me to be able to exist in the world of independent theatre? Do I need qualities with “masculine” connotations to be recognized and to be successful — and do I even want to embody these? Which alternative qualities and self-narratives can be found? Together with the artists’ collective THE AGENCY and a personal trainer the participants will create a counter toolkit that serves the radical self-analysis of the patriarchal and neoliberal strategies we embody and contains tools that will help us to act in an anti-patriarchal manner and to subvert the often gendered logics of norms, efficiency, power and exclusion. In readings, talks, self-analysis and analysis of systems, physical exercises, digital research and investigations of artistic practices and works, tools will be developed to imagine a post-patriarchal self.

Biographies

Magdalena Emmerig is a costume and stage designer. After training as a tailor at Theater Augsburg she went to Berlin where she worked with Constanza Macras, Thomas Bo Nilsson and others while studying stage and costume design at the weißensee kunsthochschule berlin. Together with Belle Santos, Rahel Gloria Spöhrer and Yana Thönnes she founded the performance collective THE AGENCY, with which she works as a stage and costume designer. THE AGENCY experiments in an immersive manner with manifestations of neoliberalism. Their performances, in which the audience is gently included, revolve around potential subversive actions under post-digital conditions.

Rahel Gloria Spöhrer is a dramaturg and performer. While studying Law, Philosophy and Cultural Studies, she assisted directors including Phil Collins, Dominic Huber, Anna-Sophie Mahler, Hans-Werner Kroesinger and Damian Rebgetz. In 2015 together with Magdalena Emmerig, Belle Santos and Yana Thönnes she founded THE AGENCY. Recently their work ‘Perfect Romance’ was seen at the Münchner Kammerspiele and the Sophiensæle Berlin and the work ‘Medusa Bionic Rise’ was presented at Tanz im August in Berlin and the Athens Biennale. In 2018/19 THE AGENCY is researching the topic of “new masculinity” and with the aid of the Rodeo Festival’s Bloom Up scholarship will travel to Japan and Munich for residencies.


Workshop 2: THE WORK. Feedback between collective obstinacy and market conformity

Billy Mullaney / Manolis Tsipos (alumni of DAS Theatre Amsterdam) and Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt (Institute of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen)
Language: English

What kind of theatre will be created if the state of the work is continually made subject to discussion in feedback processes? Does retrospective and prospective collective thinking change artists’ signatures? Does this result in more alert and less self-centred artistic positions — or rather in smoother products that operate in an optimised manner on the art market? Participants will discuss these questions together with the artists Billy Mullaney and Manolis Tsipos (alumni of DAS Theatre Amsterdam) and the cultural researcher Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt (doctoral candidate at the University of Copenhagen) and explore a range of critical formats with reference to examples of their own work.

Biographies

Billy Mullaney is an Amsterdam-based artist and educator working in theatre, choreography, and performance art. His performance and pedagogical work both treat on representational practices in and of various sites of performance, the modes of spectatorship they conventionally engender, and how interventions in the former affect the latter. He has performed as a solo artist as well as with frequent collaborator Emily Gastineau under the name Fire Drill. Billy is currently a masters candidate at DAS Theatre and an artist in residence at WOW Amsterdam.

Manolis Tsipos is a cross-disciplinary performance artist and mentor active within the European contemporary performing arts field. He coaches workshops on the DasArts Feedback Method internationally, and he is a writer of prose (texts for the stage, novels) and of poetry with publications in Greece, France and the USA. He holds two an MA degree in Theatre from DasArts and in Environmental Politics & Management from the University of the Aegean. Lastly, he is founding (and active until 2014) member of the Institute for Live Arts Research |Π|, and also founding (and active until 2011) member of the performance group Nova Melancholía.

Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt is a performance artist, theorist and curator currently enrolled as PhD associate at the University of Copenhagen. Schmidt studied Comparative Literature and Modern Cultural Studies in Copenhagen, and guested Theatre Science at FU Berlin and Applied Theatre Science in Gießen. She taught art theory at the BA Dance, Context, Choreography at HZT Berlin from 2011 until 2016. In her PhD, Schmidt examines temporality, measurement and self-accountancy in the work of young performance artists educated within the Bologna Process. Her main concerns are contemporary forms of collective organisation and infrastructural performance as response to neoliberal demands and austerity politics.


Workshop 3: THE ORGANISATION. Fighting for solidarity and participation within independent theatre structures

Melmun Bajarchuu / Adele Dittrich Frydetzki (INITIATIVE for SOLIDARITY at the THEATRE) and Marta Keil (Performing Arts Institute, Warsaw)
Language: English

Which practices are required to achieve solidary forms of organisation, an opening up of decision-making processes and fair opportunities for access in the theatre? And how does work on theatre change once those involved in an organisation or a production regard themselves as accomplices and question their own position and privileges? Do these struggles purely affect working conditions or do they also impact on the outcomes of artistic work and how these are perceived publicly? And how is it possible not simply to reflect oneself but to regard these struggles as conflicts with current social and economic conditions? The participants will discuss these questions together with Melmun Bajarchuu and Adele Dittrich Frydetzki from the INITIATIVE for SOLIDARITY at the THEATRE and Marta Keil from Performing Arts Institute, Warsaw using accounts of their own experiences, concepts and ideas for alternative forms of organisation.

Biographies

Melmun Bajarchuu studied philosophy, sociology and political science in Hamburg, Germany. She works at the crossroads of theory, art and politics as a thinker, discourse partner, curator, dramaturg and artistic production manager, focusing specifically on poststructural, postcolonial and queerfeminist perspectives. Additionally, she researches micropolitical practices of resistance in the performing arts and is a collaborator in the INITIATIVE for SOLIDARITY at the THEATRE.

Adele Dittrich Frydetzki studied Applied Cultural and Theatre Studies in Hildesheim, Gießen and Warsaw. In her work she is interested in applying critical theories to theatre-aesthetic and institutional practices with the aim of transforming these in a cheerful and critical manner. Alongside her artistic work with the independent Hildesheim company DIE SOZIALE FIKTION she also collaborated with her contemporaries in the independent theatre and in city and state theatres as a co-director, curator, translator and performer. Most recent projects include Willkommen Anderswo Festival Bautzen and ‘Mittelreich’ with Anta Helena Recke. She is part of the INITIATIVE for SOLIDARITY at the THEATRE.

Marta Keil is a curator in the performing arts, researcher and dramaturg and Co-Director of the Performing Arts Institute in Warsaw. Together with Grzegorz Reske she curated the festival Konfrontacje Teatralne in Lublin from 2012 to 2017. She also founded and curated the East European Performing Arts Platform and from 2014 to 2015 led the programming department of Teatr Polski in Bydgoszcz. As a curator and dramaturg she has worked with e.g. Agnieszka Jakimiak, Rabih Mroué, Agata Siniarska and Ana Vujanović. She teaches at the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw and has published several books including ‘Choreography: Politicality’ (2018) and ‘Reclaiming the Obvious: on the Institution of Festival’ (2017).


Workshop 4: THE SCENE. Between critical corrective and efficient cultural institution

S.E. Struck / Philine Velhagen (PALAIS TEMPORÄR) and Julian Kamphausen (Performing Arts Programm)
Language: German

In recent years the independent theatre has become a serious player in cultural policy with an international network. At the same time many independent theatre makers continue to operate within improvised structures – whether this is due to lack of support from local or regional cultural policy makers or from a deliberate personal choice. What future role does the independent theatre want to take in cultural policy and society? Will it remain a critical corrective and area of experimentation or rather a paradigm for the agile and efficient cultural institutions of tomorrow? And does more professional and better equipped automatically mean better? S.E. Struck (SEE!) and Philine Velhagen (Drama Köln), who with PALAIS TEMPORÄR have created an artistic laboratory and mobile centre in Cologne without being tied to any institution, invite workshop participants to a discussion about future models for the independent theatre together with Julian Kamphausen (Performing Arts Programm).

Biographies

Julian Kamphausen has worked in the performing arts since 1994, including eight years in state and city theatres. In addition to his own art projects e.g. balafo.de for the Federal Cultural Foundation, he also regularly works as a director of shows such as the gala “Artists Against Aids” or the 50th anniversary celebration for Amnesty International. He conceives and curates conferences, including since 2013 the annual meeting of the independent performing arts for the Performing Arts Programme and since 2016 the Performersion, a co-operation between the Performing Arts Programme and re:publica to create a network in the immersive and performing arts. Since 2018 he has run the festival Hauptsache Frei in Hamburg together with Susanne Schuster.

S.E. Struck is an artist, director and choreographer. She has completed a six-year training in Japanese butoh dance and is also qualified in the Alexander technique and body-mind centering. In 2005 she founded the performance label SEE! together with Alexandra Knieps. Since 2007 she has been part of PeterLicht’s creative team. Since 2015 she has taught regularly at Siegen University, Cologne University’s Institute of Art and Art Theory and the Fachhochschule Dortmund. Together with Angie Hiesl, Stephanie Thiersch and Philine Velhagen she is currently working on PALAIS TEMPORÄR, a mobile social sculpture to generate decentralised visions for the performative arts in Cologne.

Philine Velhagen is a maker of theatre and radio drama. She studied Theatre Studies and Comparative Literature at LMU Munich. After graduating she assisted Christoph Schlingensief, Stefan Pucher, Barbara Frey and others at Theater Basel. Since 2002 she has produced numerous projects and plays In Germany and abroad, often together with the theatremaker and screenwriter Barbara te Kock. In her radio plays she

submits herself and others to real life experiments as part of “applied researches”. She is currently working on various radio and theatre formats for public and private spaces and together with SEE!, Angie Hiesl and Stephanie Thiersch on PALAIS TEMPORÄR, a mobile social sculpture to generate decentralised visions for the performative arts in Cologne.