The Theatre Studies department at the Institute for Theatre, Film and Media Studies at the Goethe University offers two M.A. programmes in Dramaturgy in cooperation with the Hessian Theatre Acadamy (HTA):
The M.A. Dramaturgy was founded in 2002 and offers a full university course in Frankfurt that combines theory and practice.
Dramaturgy as Political Practice
We understand “Dramaturgy” as a political practice. Dramaturgy can open the creative process – the artwork in progress – where it threatens to refuse the demands of the constitutively excluded Others. Dramaturgy remembers, that conflict is key for every theatre and opposes its ‘extorted reconciliation’ (Adorno). With dramaturgy, we can negotiate the question of who is allowed to take up space and perform on stage and who isn’t again and again. The vanishing point of every political dramaturgy is that impossible theatre that negates the present as the realm of possibilities: In the interest of a different theatre or perhaps of something completely different from what we call theatre today.
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Master’s programmes in Dramaturgy and CDPR:
Hölderlin Lectures 2023/24
Detailed information on the Hölderlin Lectures can be found on the following website:
November 15, 2023, 18h
Vivian Liska (Antwerp/Jerusalem): The Defense of Decisionism from the Spirit of Judaism. Kafka, Scholem, Benjamin
Westend Campus, IG Farben House, Room 457
In cooperation with the FzhG
A central feature in the thinking of numerous German-Jewish authors and intellectuals of the early 20th century is the tension between a temporality of suddenness and immediacy on the one hand and a time of postponement – of waiting, hesitation and delay – on the other. The lecture will reflect on this tension against the background of Carl Schmitt’s decisionism and his view of the decision-making power of a quasi-divine sovereign. In doing so, the lecture will draw on thought patterns in the writings of Schmitt’s Jewish contemporaries – Franz Kafka, Gershom Scholem and above all, and explicitly in confrontation with Schmitt, Walter Benjamin – which configure this tension in the light of Jewish tradition. The aim is to show how their respective approaches can be read as a critique of the presuppositions of Schmittian decisionism.
Dezember 2023, 18h
Eylül Fidan Akıncı (New York/Arnhem): Choreo-dramaturging the Anthropocene
Campus Westend, Hörsaalzentrum, HZ 10
The new climatic regime is manifest in our lives with an unprecedented urgency, but the planetary damage has been ongoing for much longer. Likewise, ecological activism and discourse have a global history, while we are groping for resistance and solace within a politically and digitally induced amnesia, obfuscation, and denialism. These are only the starting conundrums of what I consider to be characteristically the Anthropocene episteme. By positing the Anthropocene as a crisis of sense and sensibility, this lecture will argue how performing arts has a unique advantage to figure, rupture and radically transform this widespread yet unevenly distributed doom scenario.
February 06, 2024, 18h
Krassimira Kruschkova (Vienna): “The incomprehensible archive. A solo performance by Arkadi Zaides in the context of contemporary dance”
Westend Campus, IG Farben House, Room 1.411
Arkadi Zaidesʼ choreography Archive (2014) focuses on the Camera Project of the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories B’Tselem, which distributes video cameras to Palestinians to enable continuous documentation of human rights violations. The selected footage exclusively shows Israeli soldiers, settlers and activists in various confrontational situations. The Palestinian people filming remain absent, behind the camera, but their movements, voices and viewpoints are present. It is about the paradoxical absence/presence mode of archival practice and – as the lecture also suggests with other artistic examples (by Meg Stuart, Rabih Mroué, Walid Raad, Francis Alÿs, Shaymaa Shoukry, Jonathan Burrows/Matteo Fargion and others) – about the situational paradoxes of the poetics and politics of performance today.
14. Mai 2024, 18h
Jasper Delbecke (Gent) „Tracing the Essay in Performing Arts. Five Essay Pieces“
Campus Westend, IG Farben-Haus, Raum 1.411
The talk will expand on the emergence of “the essay” as a form, concept, and method within the field of performing arts during the mid-2010s. Drawing inspiration from the rich tradition of the literary essay and informed by the contemporary proliferation of the essay form across cinematic (essay film), photographic (photographic essay), installation-based (essay-installation), and exhibition-related (essay-exhibition) domains, Delbecke dissects the reasons behind and manifestations of this form within the field of performing arts during this specific era. Through the lens of five distinct artistic practices – those of Muraya Ogutu, Silke Huysmans & Hannes Dereere, Ho Rui An, Mobile Akademie Berlin, and Jozef Wouters/Decoratelier – Delbecke scrutinizes the formal elements present in these works. Furthermore, he examines in study how artists turn to the essay form and/or adopt an essayistic mode of working in response to the activist imperative prevalent in socially and politically engaged forms of theatre, performance, and the broader arts landscape since the turn of the millennium.
11. Juni 2024, 18h
Katalin Trencsényi (London): „Expanded Dramaturgies of Curating“
Campus Westend, IG Farben-Haus, Raum 1.411
Starting from Marianne Van Kerkhoven’s ideas about micro and macro dramaturgy, the lecture explores the notion of curating beyond staging performances and shaping a repertoire and examines how festivals are creating “cultural gathering spaces” (J. Applebaum) and “spaces for dialogue” (H. Perry) outside the walls of their building, venturing into site-responsive, process-focussed, and interdisciplinary practices. For illustrating this move from product to process, from consumption of art to civil participation in local issues of concern, the lecture presents examples from the work of two festivals from the Nordic region of Europe. Based on research interviews – with art curator Taru Elfving, whose special interests are research-based practices, participatory and process-based approaches; Trevor Davis, director of Metropolis (Copenhagen), an “art-based metropolitan laboratory for the performative, site-specific, international art”, organised by Københavns Internationale Teater (KIT) which creates “temporary, mobile spaces”; and Hanna Parry, artistic director of Baltic Circle International Theatre Festival, who initiated the festival’s nature restoration project in Ähtäri in collaboration with climate and rewilding expert Snowchange Cooperative – the lecture seeks to find out what the guiding ideas and principles behind this new type of work are and how they are framed within an art festival.
The Jour fixe invites students of the Hessen Theatre Academy to take part in discussions with guests from theatre and cultural policy on the rehearsal stage of the Institute for TFM in an informal context.In the past years with: Amelie Deuflhard, Martine Dennewald, Marcus Droß, Tim Etchells, Sigrid Gareis, Heiner Goebbels, Kirsten Haß, Carl Hegemann, Katja Herlemann, Stefan Hilterhaus, Marta Keil, Susanne Kennedy, Burkhard Kosminski, Elisa Liepsch and Julian Warner, Matthias Lilienthal, Jan Linders, Stefanie Lorey, Florian Malzacher, Bettina Masuch, Barbara Mundel, the production office „Ehrliche Arbeit“, Milo Rau, She She Pop, Carena Schlewitt and André Schallenberg, Jan Philipp Stange, Julia Stoschek, Tom Stromberg, Hasko Weber and many more. On irregular Wednesdays at 19 o’clock (c.t.). Le Studio. Rehearsal stage of the Theatre Studies department (Probebühne der Theaterwissenschaft), Jügelhaus, building section D, room 108, 1. Floor, Campus Bockenheim.
Scenic performance projects
The Frankfurt Theatre Studies programme puts great emphasis on integrating experience with artistic practice into the programme, no matter whether students aim for a career on stage or behind the scenes later in life. Students regularly work with professional artists within the framework of scenic performance projects, theory-practice-project workshops and weekend-seminars on the rehearsal stage of the Institute. In past years with: Robin Arthur, Sebastian Blasius, Laurent Chétouane, Prof. Dr. Katrin Deufert und Thomas Plischke, Tim Etschells, Manuela Infante, Jason Jacobs, Rupert Jaud, John Jesurun, Katharina Kellermann, Chris Kondek, Prof. Stefanie Lorey, Lina Majdalanie, Uwe Mengel, Gerardo Naumann, Boris Nikitin, Prof. Mike Pearson, Katharina Pelosi, redpark, Felix Rothenhäusler, Diego Rotman, Tucké Royale, Johannes Schmit, Jan-Philipp Stange, Katharina Stephan, Tore Vagn Lid, Camila Vetters, Rosa Wernecke, Ivna Zić.
Research-Colloquium and Masterclass
The Theatre Studies Department highly values the connection of teaching and research. We are committed to teaching our research. That is why each semester, we offer a Research-Colloquium for Master-students, where we discuss current questions in research as well as the final projects of students. Furthermore, we regularly hold Master Classes. They give students the opportunity to present and discuss their own academic work within the framework of a public event with international academic and theatre practitioner guests. Past events have concerned themselves with these topics: “[Bühnen]Besetzungen” (Winter 20/21), “Sound Knowledge: Exploring the Dramaturgies, Philosophies, and Politics of Listening” (Winter 19/20), „Implosion of the municipal theatre? History, Analysis, Perspective“ (Winter 18/19), „Theatre and Identity Politics“ (Winter 17/18), „Theatre of the A-Human“ (Winter 15/16), Kafka and Theatre“ (Winter 13/14). Presentations, contributions and results are documented here:
Dramaturgy and CDPR students will be supported in their artistic projects by choaches who come from the field of dramaturgical practice. That’s why we work with practitioners from municipal and state theatres as well as from the Free Scene. In the past few semesters, students worked with: Björn Auftrag, Laurent Chétouane, Marcus Dross, Martin Hammer, Maria Magdalena Ludewig (T), Katja Leclerc, Kris Merken, Malin Nagel and Jonas Zipf.
Friedrich Hölderlin Guest Lectures in General and Comparative Theatre Studies
Within the framework of this lecture series we will situate Theatre Studies in the context of those philosophical and political questions that are always at play when thinking about theatre, but that are often obscured. Next to questions that strictly concern theatre, the talks of our guests will also deal themselves with questions on theatre theory and theory referring to theatre. These talks deal with theatre in all its four meanings, in accordance with the Leipzig discourse on theatricality: Theatre, anti-theatre, theatre in a wider sense and not-theatre. Our extended understanding of “Theatre“ is situated closely to newer findings in the field of Theatre Studies: We want to establish a notion of Theatre Studies that places it outside of the national-philological explanation of 1930s Germany as well as outside of the limitation of the staged performance, suggested by Max Hermann, the founder of Theatre Studies in the German-speaking context, at the turn of the 19th century. Theatre is more than the ephemeral product of an evening, but is also process, interaction, action and especially critical practice.
By choosing Hölderlin as the namesake for this lecture series, we seek to remember that Hölderlin, who lived in Frankfurt for some time, wasn’t just a great poet, but also a great theatre theoretician and dramaturgical thinker, who opened up the thinking of modern theatre with his Sophocles translations, fragments of writing and comments on “Ödipus” and “Antigone”. This is especially true when considering the ineluctable condition of “mediation”.
Recordings of past lectures:
With the project “Digital Theatre Research” the institute is pioneering in the field of digital documentation, digital mediation and experimentation with theater.
At “Digital Theatre Research” documentations of conferences, lectures, symposia and other events will be uploaded. On the “Digital Stage” you will find video experiments, tutorials and documentations of student projects. In the “Laboratory Video⇄Stage” various workshops with specialists from the interface of video and theatre took and take place.