On this season's motto

Dear Citizens of Leipzig,
Dear Audience,

The theatre can always be found between the poles of reality and the world of the stage. Between a reality that never ceases to set new, unexpected or unrelenting priorities and a stage world that may address precisely these realities – or perhaps create entirely different worlds of its own making.

The more demanding and dynamic reality becomes, the more certainly it will make its way onto the stage – be it through its themes, discourses or concepts.

In the winter of 2021/22, reality prevailed on us to such an extent for the third time running that it prevented live theatre for months. This was an entirely new experience for us.
But we were also allowed to see that all three times, you – our audience – came back to us after these closures – and that we were able to play to sold-out houses. Seeing people standing in line for a theatre ticket at the box office – it had an impact on those of us who make theatre and want to make theatre. Reality may have interfered with the theatre and won outright during the times of the pandemic, but now the time for theatre has truly come.

“wirklich nur theater” – really only theatre. These three words are our current motto. And if you rearrange them and place different emphases, they will yield several new versions of this motto. And they will also yield a different kind of theatre each time.

A playful motto for a season programme that questions the relationship between reality and theatre, that connects with reality and never loses sight of playfulness. The theatre is multi-connected: It draws on the times we live in, on theatrical works and aesthetics from several different centuries and on artistic imagination beyond the mundane and beyond all reality.

Our intention for the season ahead is this: To once again experience the theatre as a power that moves within the performing range between urgent realities and the freedom of its very own worlds, between real worlds and artificial worlds. As an invitation to join the broad spectrum of the theatre’s possibilities.

This spectrum is marked by productions like “LUNA LUNA”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “zwei herren von real madrid”, “Fischer Fritz” or “Letzte Station Torgau”. In “LUNA LUNA”, Maren Kames unfolds a small artistic synthesis that follows the traces of Dadaism and concrete poetry on a journey all the way to space and back. The piece is full of imagination and music, which is why “LUNA LUNA” continues our series of choir projects. And it has been a long time since a play has told such an only ostensibly mundane and actually completely bizarre story as Leo Meier’s “zwei herren von real madrid”. Two text that consistently and artfully defy all attributions of realism – confidently choosing to create their own worlds.

Author Raphaela Bardutzky also relies on the playful devices of theatre and language in “Fischer Fritz” – telling a story that leads us straight into our own times. And in “Letzte Station Torgau”, documentary theatre team Regine Dura and Hans-Werner Kroesinger investigate a very real topic which still has long-term consequences: the system of so-called ‘Jugendwerkhöfe’, special institutions installed by the GDR’s Ministry for People’s Education for young people who were deemed to have behavioral problems.

In the world premiere of Uwe Johnson’s “Jahrestage (Anniversaries)”, director-in-residence Anna-Sophie Mahler sets out to trace the wide-ranging references of this work, which compounds the shifts of the 20th century. A work that addresses both the power of the imagination and the consequences of German realities. It is hard to imagine performing this work on stage – but we can endeavour to use the devices of the theatre to address our own questions to the book and its worlds as well as to the 20th century.

William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” has virtually become a metaphor for the theatre in itself – a story that transcends all realities and is yet considered to be one of the greatest love stories of all times. Shakespeare is strongly featured across this season with two more slots at Diskothek: Together with our director-in-residence Claudia Bauer, company members Teresa Schergaut and Patrick Isermeyer will develop a project about “Anthony and Cleopatra”. And the independent Leipzig company Compania Sincare, who will cooperate with Schauspiel Leipzig and Schaubühne Lindenfels this season, are going to devote themselves to “Hamlet” – employing the century-old theatre practice that has become the company’s trademark: playing with theatre masks.

At our other venues, too, cooperation projects will launch new connections or continue established ones. We are delighted to cooperate with Gewandhaus again this season: In the context of the 2023 Mahler Festival, Schauspiel Leipzig will explore a work by Mahler that sprang from one of the most extraordinary poetry cycles of German literature, Friedrich Rückert’s “Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children)”. And in a cooperation between Schauspielhaus Bochum and Schauspiel Leipzig, Johan Simons will create a new production – a director who is one of the most defining personalities of contemporary theatre and continues to find new narrative methods and aesthetics to explore the theatre.

For the new edition of the successful programme “KATAPULT – Performance Plattform Leipzig”, Schauspiel Leipzig’s venue Residenz will once more cooperate with LOFFT – DAS THEATER and Schaubühne Lindenfels to create six production slots for independent projects which will be premiered at a concise festival in the summer of 2023. Before that, the Residenz-programme will scout a wide range of options for appropriating reality with independent performance groups: A broad spectrum of artistic positions and experiences which constructively oppose all too obvious concepts of reality. Schauspiel Leipzig’s specific programming, generated in part by the profiles of Diskothek and Residenz, is the foundation for its cooperation with the International Stückemarkt of the 2022 Berlin Theatertreffen: At the festival in Berlin, it was decided which of the five international projects or authors of the 2022 Stückemarkt-edition will be produced at one of these venues of Schauspiel Leipzig during the 2023/24 season.

A new venue for special formats ranging from scenic projects to readings will be created at Schauspielhaus from the autumn of 2022: Foyer 1, which will move into the venue’s Garderobenfoyer (Cloakroom Foyer) and provide a stage for the theatre’s emerging talents.

During the Corona-months we were able to prepare and expand the options of audio description, which means that during the coming season we can provide a wider range of plays and subjects than ever before: We will offer ten productions with live audio commentary for blind and visually impaired visitors. Furthermore, we can now offer English surtitles for as many six productions.

We have yet to see with which impulses and tasks reality will confront us, both the theatre and society as a whole, over the course of this season. The wide field of tension between dreams and reality that occupies us at many different levels, between our present times and our many longings, will also be the subject of a further series of talks curated by Jens Bisky. We will publish the dates for these talks and the many performance dates that we could not yet fix at this date once we are able to see the reality of the coming months more clearly:

However reality may develop: Please continue to join us – we are looking forward to welcoming you at the theatre!