phoenix transatlantic – new plays from NRW and NYC

PHOENIX TRANSATLANTIC is a festival with newest plays from both the German Bundesland of Northrhine-Westphalia and New York City. On April 29th and 30th, 2010, the dramaturges Christine Richter-Nilsson and Henning Bochert (of raum4) will present eight selected plays as premieres and also as guest performances from the VOICES OF CHANGE festival of the Theater Bielefeld at the “Embassy of the West” in Berlin (the Representation of Northrhine-Westphalia with the Federal Government).

The economic crisis began in the USA and impacted the entire world trade. At the same time, a new president, whose magic campaign formula “Change” raised high expectations towards different political and social developments, was elected in the United States in 2008. In Germany, too, the governing coalition changed, and the global financial crisis left its mark on the employment market; still, the face of change is a different one here.

PHOENIX TRANSATLANTIC aims to make the discussion about CHANGE here and on the other side of the Atlantic transparent and encourage the dialogue on the stage, on the panel and in the forum of the festival. How is the situation of an economic crisis and of political change received at the east coast of the United States and in the Federal Republic of Germany? Who was affected most by the crisis? Which changes did the people long for as a result of this crisis, and do these changes actually come about now in a new political situation? How do the arts and the current theatrical landscape reflect the social and cultural change?

The production invited four playwrights from Northrhine-Westphalia to position themselves to these questions in form of a mini drama. Anna Behringer, Nuran David Calis, Thomas Melle, and Charlotte Roos are writing short plays exclusively for this event. These are meant to premiere at a Northrhine-Westphalia theatre later. Four plays from New York City, that the VOICES OF CHANGE festival at the Theater Bielefeld will present between 22nd and 25th of April, are invited for guest performances in Berlin.


On Thursday, April 29th, and Friday, April 30th, the four German plays as well as two American 10-minute plays from the VOICES OF CHANGE program will be presented in workshop productions and staged readings. In addition, two new plays from New York City will be shown as workshop productions in German translation. During a panel discussion, experts from theater, politics and science will discuss crisis and change in German and American theater.

A Round Table of the DRAMA PANORAMA forum for theatre and translation will also be part of the program.

Panel discussion

„Change! Change and crisis in German and American theater“

phoenix transatlantic emphazises the German-American theaterical dialogue. We would like to address the topics of the festival plays in the framework of a panel discussion as well. We invited theater experts from Northrhine-Westphalia, Berlin, and New York to discuss the impact of the current social change on theater in the US and in Germany. Theater always reflected political events and social metamorphoses. Dramatists here and on the other side of the Atlantic deal with the global financial crisis and phenomenons like gentrification or the rise of a new precariate. They become contemporary witnesses of a crisis that questions fundamental values and forms of social organisation. How is this change reflected in the American society, and how does the young generation of dramatists there react to that? How do new plays in Germany reflect the effects of the global financial crisis? Can this be called a general change in values in contemporary drama? Daniel Schreiber (head of culture department of CICERO – Magazin für politische Kultur) will moderate the discussion of:

Bettina Milz (Head of the Theater and Music department, State Chancellary of Northrhine-Westphalia),
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (playwright, New York),
Raphael Martin (Literary and Humanity Manager, Repertory Theatre, New York),
Marc Schäfers (Head of the theater and media agency schaefersphilippen, Cologne).

The discussion will be held in English.


VOICES OF CHANGE is a festival of the Theater Bielefeld for the presentation of new American plays. From April 22nd through 25th, 2010, artistic director Christine Richter-Nilsson together with co-curator Antje Oegel will show fifteen selected plays in German language premieres, workshop productions, and staged readings as well as one guest performance from New York City.

VOICES OF CHANGE is a production of Theaters Bielefeld, artistically directed by Christine Richter-Nilsson and co-curator Antje Oegel.

The festival is a coproduction with Schlosstheater Moers and Theaterlabor Bielefeld as well as a cooperation with Clubbed Thumb, New Dramatists, SoHo Repertory Theater, Summer Play Festival, The Flea Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre and Theaterakademie Hamburg Hochschule für Musik und Theater and Drama Panorama-Forum for Theater and Translation, funded by Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung. VOICES OF CHANGE is funded by NRW KULTURsekretariat, US-Generalkonsulat Düsseldorf, Theater- und Konzertfreunde Bielefeld and S. Fischer Theaterverlag

With friendly support of Theatre Communicatins Group, International Theatre Institute / US.


Translators of DRAMA PANORAMA translate most of the US short plays in the Voices of Change festival. At a DRAMA PANORAMA Café, the translators and playwrights from Northrhine-Westphalia and New York City will exchange their views in a public framework. The Café is scheduled for the morning of April 30th at the “Embassy of the West” as an additional part of the PHOENIX TRANSATLANTIC festival program.


is a production of the Representation of Northrhine-Westphalia with the Federal Government in co-production with Theater Bielefeld and in cooperation with Drama Panorama – Forum for Translation and Theater, NRW KULTURsekretariat and raum4 – netzwerk für künstlerische alltagsbewältigung.

Artistic directors and production managers: Christine Richter-Nilsson and Henning Bochert

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