Press Release

Erlangen, Nürnberg, Fürth, Schwabach, 5 April 2023

figuren objekte bilder
23. internationales 2023
Erlangen, Nürnberg, Fürth, Schwabach
12 to 21 May 2023

The Programme

Advance booking starts: Saturday, 15 April

From 12 to 21 May, the 23rd international will take place in Erlangen, Nürnberg, Fürth and Schwabach. As one of the foremost festivals of contemporary puppet, visual and object theatre in Europe, it is also a meeting point for dance, performance art and new media. With around 180 performances and more than 70 companies from 27 different countries, it is one of the biggest theatre festivals held anywhere in Germany. From its origins in classical puppet theatre, the festival has long seen its role as that of encouraging artistic encounters between different genres, as well as bringing together different perspectives and cultural tastes. Featuring unusual formats, public performances and a broad-ranging festival programme, this year’s event will become even more international by dedicating a special series to global perspectives. Over the course of the ten-day festival programme, more than 20,000 visitors are expected to attend the numerous venues across the four host cities.

It has been four years since the biennial festival organised jointly by the cities of Erlangen, Nürnberg, Fürth and Schwabach was able to take place in its established format. Two years ago – in the middle of the pandemic – the event had to be rescheduled repeatedly and was ultimately only permitted to take place in digital format or by implementing regulations preventing contact. However, the expressive possibilities of the internet also brought forth new forms of performing art – the net became a play partner, a character. Over the course of 2021, most of the announced events could be made up on several weekends, which was important not only for the audience but above all for the artists. The current programme also includes selected digital formats, and the public space plays a greater role than before. The artists will actively involve the city centres and – especially in Erlangen – the city districts in the festival events. The monumental cardboard architectures of Olivier Grossetête‘s team, created together with the citizens of Erlangen, promises to be spectacular.

This year’s festival programme is a balanced mix of established and popular festival guests and new discoveries. Aurélien Bory’s French Compagnie 111 will open the festival in Erlangen with “Questcequetudeviens?”, a homage to the flamenco dancer Stéphanie Fuster. Also familiar to festival audiences is the Compagnie Mossoux-Bonté, whose dance and image theatre will be presented with “Les Arrière-Mondes” in the Tafelhalle. The live cinema specialists from Hotel Modern confront Dutch colonial history in “Our Empire”, and will open the festival in Fürth. You can look forward to more familiar names, including Neville Tranter and his Stuffed Puppet Theatre, which will be performing in Schwabach for the first time, the Puppentheater Halle, the Figurentheater Wilde & Vogel, the Theater Waidspeicher, the performance group Berlin from Belgium and the theatre anarchists from half past selber schuld. The excessive stage show “Ginkgo” by Nicole Beutler Projects from the Netherlands at the Markgrafentheater in Erlangen, “Farm Fatale” by the French star director Philippe Quesne, the dance productions by Cristiana Casadio and Petrikor Danse by Bettina Szabo at the Tafelhalle or the Theater Chemnitz at the Kulturforum Fürth, offering a stage for women from Vietnam to tell of their lives and experiences as contract workers in Germany – all of these promise to be festival highlights.

You can expect experimental performances from Studio Julian Hetzel + Ntando Cele, presenting their latest work “SPAfrica”, the O-Team, Robbert & Frank and Swiss choreographer Anna Anderegg. Nico and the Navigators will put augmented reality glasses on the audience in “Du sollst Dein Leben rendern!” at the E-Werk in Erlangen and Nathan Ellis with “work.txt” will ask the audience at the Kulturforum Fürth to participate. With 17 companies showing 19 different productions for young audiences, children’s and youth theatre is again widely represented this year. Most of these productions forgo the use of language. At the close of the festival,the venerable Berliner Ensemble with Suse Wächter, arguably Germany’s most well-known puppeteer, will bring “Brechts Gespenster” to life in the Markgrafentheater.

Currently, postcolonialism and decolonisation are important topics in art and culture. We must recognise that the colonial past and the resulting self-image influence our thoughts and actions to this day. Recognising this fact and adopting new perspectives opens up the chance for us to gain a more informed and accurate view of the world. Artists from Afghanistan, India, Iran, Syria, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, El Salvador, Mexico, Cuba and Uruguay will expand our cultural horizons in this year’s programme series “#GlobalePerspektiven“. Not all of them will travel from their home countries; some already reside in Europe, either voluntarily or involuntarily. The theatre machinists of Akhe from St Petersburg were forced to leave their Russian homeland and are now preparing their first production in exile for Erlangen.

In December 2021, the Nürnberg puppeteer, puppet builder, stage designer and visual artist Joachim Torbahn passed away. Together with Tristan Vogt as Thalias Kompagnions, he shaped the puppet theatre scene in Germany and internationally. The city of Nürnberg is paying tribute to his work in a large exhibition at the Künstlerhaus entitled “Hin und weg”. In Erlangen, the artist duo Böhler & Orendt let extinct species have their say in the spectacular installation “The Carrion Cheer, a Faunistic Tragedy”. The German-American photographer Francesca Hummler‘s Ethiopian adopted sister interacts with a family heirloom in “Unsere Puppenstube,” and at kultur.lokal.fürth Yvonne Dicketmüller presents 3D-printed costumes, hand-woven loudspeakers and e-textiles embroidery. At the Junges Forum in Erlangen, students from theatre programmes are offered the opportunity to present their own work and rigorously engage with contemporary puppet theatre. The accompanying programme also includes discussion rounds, workshops and films.

Advance ticket sales start on Saturday, 15 April, at, advance booking offices in the Erlangen, Nürnberg, Fürth and Schwabach metropolitan area and all Reservix advance booking offices throughout Germany. A programme folder with the most important dates is available at advance booking offices and cultural institutions in the region and can be downloaded from the website.

The detailed festival catalogue is available free of charge at advance booking offices in the region as of 5 April as well as at the daytime and evening box offices during the festival. The purchase of a festival pass for €10.00 entitles you to a 20% discount on the ticket price for almost every event.

We would be pleased to inform you personally about the programme at a press conference on Thursday, 4 May 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at the Künstlerhaus Nürnberg. You will also have the opportunity to preview the exhibition “Hin und weg. Puppen und Maltheater von Joachim Torbahn”.

The downloadable press release in PDF format includes an overview of all participating companies along with the corresponding dates and times.

Stadt Erlangen – Kulturamt
Abteilung Festivals und Programme
Gebbertstr. 1, 91052 Erlangen
Tel. +49 (0)9131 86-1408

Stadt Nürnberg, 2. BM – GeschB. Kultur
Königstr. 93, 90402 Nürnberg
Tel. +49 (0)911 231-4000

Stadt Fürth – Kulturamt
Königsplatz 2, 90762 Fürth
Tel. +49 (0)911 974-1688

Stadt Schwabach – Kulturamt
Königsplatz 29a, 91126 Schwabach
Tel. +49 (0)9122 860-305