World's theatre gathers in Düsseldorf

An airplane in front of the Schauspielhaus theatre hall, siren songs from Australia and a live stream from Cape Town - the festival Theater der Welt has started on Thursday in Düsseldorf. The programme's performances will be staged mainly in front of a live audience. Participants in the fest are 350 artists from five continents and 17 countries.

From 17 June to 4 July, the festival will present 24 outstanding international productions. Six of these are world premieres, which have been developed as co-productions and bring groups of artists together across national borders and continents.

There are 34 performances that are planned to be staged live in front of an audience in various halls in Düsseldorf, as well as on open stages. Most of the performances will also be broadcast online.

The festival opened with the premiere of the novel The Life and Times of Michael K. by Nobel Prize-winner J. M. Coetzee, which was broadcast live online from Cape Town at the Schauspielhaus.

An impressive background in front of the building presents the installation of the Berlin art group Raumlabor, which is made from parts of a dismantled military transport aircraft.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival is able to tell stories of the world at large, enriched with discursive, performative and experimental projects. Seven contributions to the festival tell stories from the African continent. These include an account of a journey through Namibia featuring the discovery of a German colonial past that remains unresolved. The sound installation Siren Song by the Australian artists Byron J. Scullin, Tom Supple and Hannah Fox will reference Düsseldorf's pioneering role in the development of electronic music openly for a broad public in and around the Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz.

The programme also includes the world premiere of Sibylle Berg's novel GRM Brainfuck about young people in post-Brexit Great Britain.

The festival Theater der Welt has been in existence for over 40 years. It takes place every three years in different cities and regions of Germany. It has never been cancelled. For the first time ever, the festival in Düsseldorf was postponed for a year due to the worldwide pandemic.

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