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New Stages South East – At Theater Oberhausen
New Festival for Young Drama from Southeast Europe

New Festival for Young Drama from Southeast Europe
© Goethe-Institut

From 20 to 23 April 2023, the Oberhausen Theater will be presenting new dramatic texts from Southeastern Europe in partnership with the Goethe-Institut as part of the "New Stages South East festival".

For the past two years, young authors from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Romania, the Republic of Moldova, Serbia and Cyprus have been writing texts for a theatre of the future as part of the Goethe-Institut’s project New Stages South East. In exploring the power of theatre, the remarkable texts of a new generation have emerged. Ana Konstantinović, Cristian Popescu, Christos Georgiou, Dea Loher, Dragan Komadina, Gerhild Steinbuch, Ivana Sajko, Ivor Martinic, Jens Hillje, Maria Milisavljević, Promodromos Tsinikoris, Rebekka Kricheldorf, Tanja Sljivar and Ulrike Syha were involved as mentors.

Facing war and crisis, as well as awakening and unity, Europe now constitutes a complex mosaic. How are the social upheavals of the past few decades reflected in the dramatic works of today? What power does the theatre have in the wake of nationalistic tendencies and complex pasts? What forms of theatre emerge out of the diversity found in the regions of Southeast Europe?

A jury consisting of Dr. Kathrin Mädler (artistic director, Oberhausen Theatre), Berit Wohlfarth (theatre and dance department, Goethe-Institut), Dominika Široká (dramaturge, National Theatre Mannheim), Hunor von Horváth (head of the German department at the National Theatre Sibiu/Hermannstadt) and Maximilian Löwenstein (dramaturge, Schauspiel Essen from 2023/2024) has now awarded the most remarkable texts and compiled them in a shortlist. The jury highlighted, in particular, the following texts:

ACID by Asja Krsmanović
Insert and remember; conserve and hold on, forget and die: in Acid, a family seeks to orient itself in past traditions as time is rapidly accelerating. “What can we hold on to?” asks Asja Krsmanovićs text, as it meanders between nostalgia and the future, thus creating a touching outline of our ravaged present.

With great liveliness and powers of observation, Katerina Georgieva describes the lives of five women who are connected in their loneliness. Linguistically formal and skilfully playing with the isolation and solidarity that the five protagonists experience, a feminist text score emerges that is bursting with humour and attention to detail, whilst simultaneously displaying vulnerability – and thus more than doing justice to the exciting ambivalence of the title.

In a clever dramaturgy, Dario Bevanda exposes the (non) processing of the war in Yugoslavia and interweaves the layers of everyday life during the wartime of the past with the perspective of the current generation. There is a lot of theatrical potential in the personal processing work of the two antagonists, while the story is simultaneously moving as it deals with the immediate and painful situation that exists currently.

GENERATION LOST by Greg Liakopoulos
Greg Liakopoulos (& collective) describes the stories of his generation-the Greek ‘millennials’-with great powers of observation and a visual, humorous and musical language. In doing so, Liakopoulos strikes an almost affectionate, but never indifferent or sarcastic tone, in order to make it possible to experience "Generation Y’s" exhausted search for meaning and their vacillation between taking a political stance and privately withdrawing against the backdrop of the national debt crisis.

Author Teona Glagotiu takes her audience into a world that is waiting upon the apocalypse, but that already finds itself existing in a poetic, surreal present that is frighteningly similar to our world.  With great linguistic and imaginative power, the end of the world is playfully conceivable via a very specific family-humorous, unsentimental and therein very touching.

Through workshop productions, developments of theatrical pieces, scenic readings, and with disco and discourse, it will be possible in April to experience the contemporary theatre of Southeast Europe as a multiday show at the Oberhausen Theatre in partnership with the Goethe-Institut and in cooperation with the Folkwang University of the Arts’ acting programme. In addition to the five award-winning texts, other texts will be presented that were written within the scheme of works of New Stages South East.

The work When the music stops… by Cypriot playwright Melina Papageorgiou was among the pieces selected to be presented at the festival in Theatre Oberhausen. The play was developed through a series of NSSE-workshops with the thematic "Guilt and Shame" that took place in 2021-2022 in Nicosia under the guidance of Ulrike Syha. It consists of six independent scenes, all dealing with a common theme: violence.

Melina Papageorgiou will attend the New Stages South East Festival at Theatre Oberhausen in April 2023, where her play will be presented as a staged reading.

In order to establish the New Stages South East authors for the long-term within the German-speaking theatre landscape, premieres and world premieres will take place during the 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 show times at the Theatre Oberhausen, the Theatre Essen and the National Theatre Mannheim.

New Stages South East
Festival from 20 April – 23 April 2023 at Theatre Oberhausen

Leading the Goethe-Institut New Stages South East:
Goethe-Institut Romania, Dr. Joachim Umlauf (head of the institute)

Artistic direction New Stages South East festival at Theatre Oberhausen:
Laura Mangels (Dramaturge)