Lessingtage 2021 – Voices of Europe

Lessingtage 2021 – Voices of Europe

Visions for a Theatre of the Future
by Thalia Theater
Idea & Conversations: Joachim Lux

A platform of the mitos21 theatre network
Co-produced by Thalia Theater Hamburg and Dramaten - The Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm

A new beginning: Many artists and cultural institutions view the interruption of high-speed, routine practices as a novel opportunity. This shows the readiness to start a new chapter in Europe. At the moment, European cultural exchange is limited to the digital realm. The very existence of art and culture is being thrown into question – threatened, and even exposed to great political pressure in some Eastern European countries.

As part of the streamed, digital LESSINGTAGE FESTIVAL 2021: STORIES FROM EUROPE, we are gathering voices from influential European artists that offer insights into their forward-thinking work, as well as their visions of art’s value in our collective future. What does the current caesura mean for the autonomy and progressive nature of art? How does it position itself between the not-yet and no-more of our political and social structures? How can theatre survive the radical digital sea-change, and productively coopt this shift for the better? What can it do to counter societal division, the destruction of nature, and the isolation of individuals? How can we collectively re-think theatrical Europe and offer each other support?

The result is a panorama of very subjective and personal “Voices of Europe“, which will be broadcast at the beginning of the festival – where some of Europe’s most interesting artists talk about their vision of a theatre of the future.


An excerpt from I AM by Lemi PONIFASIO

An excerpt from I AM performance
at the Ruhrtriennale, Jahrhunderthalle Bochum, 2014
Performed by MAU (2014)

In I Am, one can hear the pride of a man asserting his existence as a subject, with the fervor of one who demands to be recognized. Lemi Ponifasio has surrounded himself with diverse peoples, made up of the artists of his company, MAU, but also of people he met in Avignon and in the other cities he stopped at during his tour. Together, in the Cour d'honneur of the Palais des papes, they stand. Whether they come from the other side of the world or from Avignon’s inner margins, they are here to proclaim their existence
to the powers that be, to take part in a ceremony dedicated to the twenty million people who died during the First World War. They become unknown and nameless, and remind us that war spares no one. From the Pacific islands where the conflict is still remembered today, Lemi Ponifasio summons the mythical, screaming theatre of Heiner Muller and Antonin Artaud, the plastic visions of Colin McCahon, the strength of Maori and Samoan choirs to imagine the words and grammar of a universal language.