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»Curiosity and Passion«


A picture-journey through Europe

This book takes you into the world of European theatre and to one of the most unconventional festivals of Europe: to the euro-scene Leipzig.

Read and leaf through ten years of theatre, through languages and pictures at the end of the 20th century. The 1990s were a time of rapid changes not only in politics, but in the arts as well. Even the large theatre festivals that emerged in the 70s and 80s have changed their look. Thoroughly and sometimes to the point of overdoing it, they have tackled their objective of getting beyond cultural barriers in theater and dance productions and in the exchanging of experiences and ideas.

In the example of the euro-scene Leipzig, these changes can be experienced in many different forms. As a committed establishment in the East, it developed into a well-respected hub in the East-West theatre business. In the euro-scene Leipzig, the experimental impulses of the Western avant-garde of the 70s and 80s came to life again and the young theatre avant-garde of Eastern Europe emerged. Socially critical and formal experiments came along with grand, prestigious evenings. But, nothing was simply taken over which had already been circulating in the international »festival circus«. The euro-scene has had success with this programme – in 2000, it will be celebrating its 10th anniversary.

This book describes artists, companies, and festivals in change. The artistic companions of the festival are introduced. Interviews and portraits with famous choreographers and directors lead to Belgian director Alain Platel and Les Ballets C. de la B., to French star choreographer Maguy Marin, to Italian Romeo Castellucci and his Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio, and to the theatre of Jo Fabian in Berlin.

In a broad spectrum, members of the theatre avant-garde of the 90s, like Jan Fabre, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, the Teatr Ósmego Dnia and Silviu Purcarete are introduced. The crystallisation points of this century are touched on: the language of the body, the linking of theater with video and the plastic arts, the extremely formal stylisation of pictorial theater, along with socially critical theatre. Entirely personal impressions of the euro-scene co-founder Michael Kulow and of current Festival Director Ann-Elisabeth Wolff offer a behind the scenes look at the festival. Colleagues from both home and abroad describe their views of the passion and workings of the »festival business« and of contemporary theatre: Nele Hertling, Tom Stromberg, Renate Klett, Klemens Wannenmacher and Martin Roeder-Zerndt. This broad spectrum is rounded off by contributions which draw attention back to the history of the euro-scene: including an analysis of post East German theatre in Leipzig, a conversation with cultural politician Dr. Georg Girardet, memoirs of Leipzig journalist Michael Hametner, an offbeat interjection of language-artist Wolfgang Krause Zwieback, and finally a conversation about the perspectives of this wonderful festival.

Below each side, these more than one hundred theatre- and dance companies from all over Europe pass you by, so to speak, in a photographic time loop. The curiosity about the theatre in Europe can only be satisfied in the theatre, in the guest performances and encounters. This book, we hope, will always awaken this curiosity.

Ann-Elisabeth Wolff
Michael Freundt
Leipzig, July 2000