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“Everyone cares about something”: the artist Nástio Mosquito, who was born in Angola and now lives in Ghent and Lisbon, strongly believes this. Many of the artists participating in this year’s SPIELART programme derive structural analyses from personal experiences by transferring these into political contexts. Such experiences might be illness (Stacy Hardy in Laila Soliman’s MUSEUM OF LUNGS) or the death of a close relative. Sello Pesa finds his very own way of bringing the violence pervading everyday life in South Africa to the stage. The artists tell stories of war, flight and migration, but also of the will and struggle of women to live without external or internalised oppression. What unites many of the works is an indisposition towards the neoliberal western structures that are increasingly dominating everyday life and art here, as well as an awareness of the interconnectedness of the world.

In geographical terms, we are continuing on the path we began a good two years ago. Whereas our focus last time was South Africa, this time we are also featuring productions from Mozambique, Nigeria, Namibia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon. A further focus of the programme is the Middle East, with works by Laila Soliman, Tania El Khoury, Farah Barqawi and Sama Waly.  

This year, SPIELART has also moved further into the city. We are hosted once again by tried-and-tested venues, but we have also found new venues, and we have got to know the people there: from Haus der Kunst, the Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst, the Museum Fünf Kontinente, Lothringer13, Lothringer13_Florida, to the Münchner Kammerspiele and the Bellevue di Monaco, through to the Harry Klein club and a boxing club. God’s Entertainment’s UNTER DEM TEPPICH (UNDER THE CARPET) and Nadia Beugré’s LEGACY have been adapted for Munich or re-worked together with Munich residents.

After an unbelievable 25 years, Tilmann Broszat, our – allow us to say this here – esteemed founder, is leaving SPIELART. This year, as a farewell to him, we are featuring loyal artistic allies who have been with us since the early years: behind the label Hygiene Heute are Stefan Kaegi and Bernd Ernst, who back then were still students of applied theatre studies in Gießen. Our programme once again features their audio walk KANAL KIRCHNER, which was premiered at SPIELART in 2001. And, of course, we could not leave out Forced Entertainment, who are gifting us three durational performances with free admission, SPEAK BITTERNESS, 12 AM, and AND ON THE THOUSANDTH NIGHT.    

SPIELART 2019 does not end on a nostalgic note, though. In the final two days we are presenting, under the title NEW FREQUENCIES, 17 positions by younger artists, from performances, choreographies, videos and lectures through to a gig with a puppet show, each lasting between 15 minutes and 3 hours (scheduled).  

A series of discussions running through the festival adds thematic depth to the theatre productions. This is further enriched by a communications programme and, for the first time, a schools’ programme. And of course, once again, we have a festival centre, open daily, where visitors can get together to talk, socialise and make merry.

“Our visions begin with our desires”, said the writer and activist Audre Lorde. A desire for intellectual richness and complexity. For community and communities. For encounters which change things. For pausing and engrossing ourselves, for generosity and respect. For pleasure.  

On behalf of the SPIELART-Team

Sophie Becker
Artistic Director