Performing Arts Kai Tuchmann

  • Kai Tuchmann © Goethe-Institut China
    „Pekinger Stadtgeschichte“ – Ein Dokumentartheaterprojekt von Kai Tuchmann am Penghao Theater
  • Kai Tuchmann © Goethe-Institut China
    „Pekinger Stadtgeschichte“ – Ein Dokumentartheaterprojekt von Kai Tuchmann am Penghao Theater
  • Kai Tuchmann © Goethe-Institut China
    „Pekinger Stadtgeschichte“ – Ein Dokumentartheaterprojekt von Kai Tuchmann am Penghao Theater
  • Kai Tuchmann © Goethe-Institut China
    „Pekinger Stadtgeschichte“ – Ein Dokumentartheaterprojekt von Kai Tuchmann am Penghao Theater
  • Kai Tuchmann © Goethe-Institut China
    Vortrag “Dokumentartheater als alternative Geschichtsschreibung“ an Zentraler Theaterakademie in Peking
  • Kai Tuchmann © Goethe-Institut China
    Vortrag “Dokumentartheater als alternative Geschichtsschreibung“ an Zentraler Theaterakademie in Peking

Kai Tuchmann studied directing at the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst “Ernst Busch” (Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts) in Berlin. After taking his master’s degree in 2006, he directed plays at the Maxim Gorki Theatre, among others. From 2006 to 2008 he was in-house director at the Deutsches Nationaltheater (German National Theatre) in Weimar. From 2008 to 2010, under the aegis of the Goethe-Institut, he worked with civil-society actors to develop plays and performances in the Middle East and North Africa (including productions at the Palestinian National Theatre in Jerusalem and the Iraqi College of Fine Arts in Erbil). The main thrust of Tuchmann’s artistic approach took shape during this period, centring on the use of drama as a means of alternative historiography. In 2010/11 Tuchmann was the leading dramaturge at the Mainfranken Theatre in Würzburg, where he worked with Hans-Werner Kroesinger on a rendition of Aeschylus’ classic tragedy The Suppliants in 2012. That same year he took up a fellowship in the drama department of the Graduate Center at the City University of New York.
 
Since 2013 Tuchmann has been refining his documentary approach mainly in China, championing artistic exchange between Europa and China. The Refuse, a play he developed in cooperation with the Caotaiban theatre company in Shanghai, was shortlisted at the 2016 Stückemarkt des Berliner Theatertreffens festival. And Flemish festival director Frie Leysen invited him to put on his latest work, Red, about the Cultural Revolution, at this year’s Get Lost Festival in the Netherlands. Tuchmann has also been appointed by New York drama professor Marvin Carlson to the Advisory Board of the Marvin Carlson Theatre Centre at Shanghai Theatre Academy and he teaches at the Central Drama Academy in Beijing.
 
During his residency in Beijing, Tuchmann worked on his documentary theatre project Pekinger Stadtgeschichte (“Beijing City History”), exploring to what extent the digital realm of the Internet can be the starting point for an alternative historiography. The project involved working together with an ensemble of actors on an equal footing to develop a play using nothing but online news, comments and blogs about the history of Beijing. The fruits of this project were presented on 29 June 2013 in a performance of Pekinger Stadtgeschichte at the Penghao Theatre as part of the Beijing Nanluoguxiang Theatre Festival. Tuchmann also held a series of workshops in collaboration with Professor Li Yinan and her students at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing.
 
 
Residency: Sept.–Nov. 2015
Genre: Performing Arts
Location: Shanghai

The independent Shanghai-based Caotaiban theatre company invited Kai Tuchmann in September 2015 to work with them on a play about the history and current situation of Shanghai’s poor quarter, the so-called penghuqu棚户区, using Hemingway’s novel The Old Man and the Sea. The resulting documentary theatre work entitled The Refuse was publicly performed on 9 October 2015 at the am art space in Shanghai.
 

Kai Tuchmann’s follow-up projects in China:

 
2014/2015: RED
 
The Red Detachment of Women, the most famous of the eight Chinese “model operas”, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014. Wen Hui, choreographer, dancer and founder of the Beijing Living Dance Studio, belongs to the generation that grew up with those model operas during the Cultural Revolution. Based on her personal passion and her cultural work on this special period of Chinese history, she decided to revisit this model opera in documentary theatre form.
 
With support from the Goethe-Institut, the Living Dance Studio has been working with Kai Tuchmann on a production of Red, a reinterpretation of The Red Detachment of Women, since 2014. The making of Red was filmed, and the model opera/ballet analysed as a politico-cultural symbol that became part of the collective consciousness during the Cultural Revolution. The resulting rendition, a combination of documentary and dance theatre, was premiered on 25 December 2015 at the Power Station of Art in Shanghai.
 
From August to September 2016, moreover, the Living Dance Studio, in association with Goethe-Institut China, presented Red with a multi-faceted accompanying programme in Beijing.
 
 
2016: Movies and Cultures workshop
 
As part of the German-Chinese year of exchange for schoolchildren and young people in 2016, Kai Tuchmann joined forces with the famous Chinese filmmaker Wu Wenguang for a film and theatre workshop in which 15 Chinese and 15 German teenagers met in Beijing and expressed their experiences using the methods of theatre and film.
 
 
2016/2017:  Shuihu (水浒)
 
Kai Tuchmann is currently working with Li Yinan on the development and staging of one the four great classical novels of Chinese literature, Water Margin (in Chinese: Shuihu zhuan; aka Outlaws of the Marsh). The premiere is scheduled for May 2017.