Residenz, the venue for independently produced, performative theatre at the old spinning mill Spinnerei in Plagwitz, in its second year of the Corona-experience. We had planned the previous season at a time when the words Corona, pandemic and lockdown had not yet been part of our active vocabulary. Current conditions could not be any more different.
While public life has been suspended to protect the general population, we are imagining a theatre programme with no idea of how we will be able to realise it – or even whether we will be able to realise it at all.
The Residenz-programme was doubly affected by the counter-measures against the pandemic during the 2020 / 21 season: The planned events had to be cancelled, just like everywhere else. But due to prevailing travel restrictions, the European artists’ residencies also had to be limited significantly.
At the same time, we saw a spirit of solidarity and cooperation throughout our artistic and institutional networks, sustained by attention, respect and flexibility. And all this even though all participants were already beleaguered by their own difficult situations. This might perhaps be the most important performative experience of the past season – and its impact should not be underestimated.
How do we move on from here? Until further notice, the capacities of Residenz as a venue are drastically reduced. Programming, especially with artists who work in international contexts, is uncertain to a hitherto unknown degree. Equally uncertain is the experience of the theatre per se, since naturally relies on real-time encounters between physically present people in the same space. The internet is a possible arena, but it is rarely the first choice.
We must not allow the consequence of these experiences to be for us to fall back into outdated nationalisms and to only produce the work of local artists, to be watched by isolated audience members in front of their screens at home. It is precisely because of the social and physical immediacy, the tactile, sensory and haptic experience which the theatre affords, that we need these options for differentiation in our perception of reality and possibility. Performance artists are able to stage such experiential spaces.
This season‘s Residenz-programme will be structured into three thematic sections which we will develop together with the artists. This format takes the fundamentally changed requirements for Residenz as a production and performance venue for interdisciplinary and international performing arts into account. The programme’s topics are highly virulent even without a pandemic: We will step into a greenhouse for data with the digital experts of doublelucky productions (Berlin), research current feminist trends in political performance art with the curating duo Marta Keil and Grzegorz Reske (Warsaw) and dive deep into the primordial soup of physical experience with choreographer Doris Uhlich (Vienna). Before and between the different topical sections, there will be opportunities to honour unfulfilled promises of the past season. But see for yourselves!
Topical Section 1
Humus im Treibhaus der Daten (Humus in the Greenhouse of Data)
In cooperation with doublelucky productions (Berlin)
Topical Section 2
Breaking the Spell. Feminist Performance and Practices of Being Together
In cooperation with Marta Keil & Grzegorz Reske (Warsaw)
Topical Section 3
Körper Kontakte (Body Contacts)
In cooperation with Doris Uhlich (Vienna)