The Berliner Festspiele is a modern promoter of cultural events with a unique structure: it simultaneously implements exhibitions at the Martin Gropius Bau as well as performances at its Festivals, academy programmes and guest production series. The interplay of different art forms that results from this is unrivalled and highly significant for the development of the modern arts. Contemporary in its perspective, international in its aims and exceptional in its format – this combination has led to the Festspiele establishing a good name for both its own and its co-productions in the world of art, while its festivals are fixtures in the European cultural calendar. Festivals such as MaerzMusikForeign AffairsTheatertreffenJazzfest Berlin and Musikfest Berlin are of a high quality, as are the large-scale retrospectives in the Festspiele’s art and exhibition venue. These always set new standards in the presentation of innovative contemporary art, for example with focus on »Between the Arts”, or »Festival as a Time Laboratory”. Festivalgoers have become significantly younger over the past few years, and the Festspiele itself has been committed to the support of children and adolescents for decades.

Between the Arts

The borders between the arts are more open today than ever. As a matter of course, artists from the most diverse backgrounds play with established disciplines, genres, presentation formats and work contexts with great relish, creativity, provocation and transgressive energy. Time based arts are headed for spatialisation and spatial arts are becoming more time-oriented.

No other institution could be better suited to illustrate these current developments than the Berliner Festspiele with their unique structure, featuring both a theatre and an exhibition hall. Under the artistic direction of Thomas Oberender, not only the arts, but also the venues, Haus der Berliner Festspiele and Martin-Gropius-Bau, are entering into an intensive cooperation on joint projects.

Three examples: Director Susanne Kennedy, whose work has been presented twice at the Theatertreffen, is developing a production of Monteverdi’s opera »Orfeo” together with Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop, staging it as a walkable parcours through several rooms of the Martin-Gropius-Bau. The first large-scale monographic show of artist Tino Sehgal’s work took place simultaneously at the Martin-Gropius-Bau’s Main Floor and on the grounds of the Festspielhaus in the middle of the excitement of the festival Foreign Affairs. The exhibition »Fassbinder – NOW” at the Martin-Gropius-Bau was complemented by a »Focus Fassbinder”, dedicated to this great director and author by the 52nd Theatertreffen. The Stückemarkt, as well as continuing its traditional support of playwrights’ theatre, opened itself to create new spaces for free, open and experimental work.

Between the venues, between the arts – one institution, one hundred formats.