Edition 23

Four years have passed since the biennial festival, organised by the cities of Erlangen, Nürnberg, Fürth and Schwabach, could last take place in its customary format. Two years ago – in the middle of the pandemic – the event had to be rescheduled repeatedly and could ultimately only be presented digitally or with limited contact. From 12 to 21 May 2023, the international figuren.theater.festival will take place for the 23rd time. Audiences will once again be able to experience the entire spectrum of the performing arts in over 180 performances by more than 70 companies from 27 countries, from contemporary puppet theatre to mixed media and lecture performances.

Until now, the international figuren.theater.festival has focused primarily on Europe. In consideration of the current debates on post-colonialism and decolonisation in art and culture, we believe that the festival must continue to open up to other theatre cultures. Because we have to admit that the colonial past – consciously or unconsciously – still shapes the Western world’s self-image today, this is an opportunity to broaden our horizon and to allow for a new, more just worldview to emerge. Artists from Afghanistan, India, Iran, Syria, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, El Salvador, Mexico, Cuba and Uruguay will present their perspectives on the world. Not all of them will travel from their home countries, as some already reside in Europe, either voluntarily or involuntarily. European and German theatre-makers too, are incorporating new perspectives into their work and are thus participating in the #GlobalePerspektiven series. Two panel discussions, a film screening and an exhibition complete the special focus this year.

In December 2021, the puppeteer, puppet maker, stage designer and visual artist Joachim Torbahn, who together with Tristan Vogt as Thalias Kompagnons shaped the German and international puppet theatre scene, passed away far too soon. The city of Nürnberg honours his work in a large exhibition. In Erlangen, the artist duo Böhler & Orendt shed light on extinct animal species in their spectacular multimedia installation “The Carrion Cheer, a Faunistic Tragedy“, while in “Unsere Puppenstube“, the German-American photographer Francesca Hummler, captures the interaction of her adopted sister from Ethiopia with a family heirloom. At kultur.lokal.fürth Yvonne Dicketmüller presents 3D-printed costumes, hand-woven loudspeakers and e-textile embroidery.

Numerous interventions will turn the public space into a stage, while the Young Forum offers students of Figurentheater programmes the opportunity to present their own works and to engage intensively with contemporary puppet theatre. The accompanying programme also includes panel discussions, artist talks, workshops and film screenings.