Public atelier for a global, future-oriented mindset

Eutopia is real. In the middle of the city. Suddenly there. Open to everyone. Full of activities and positive energies to live a better tomorrow’s world today – right where we are, right now. The fictions of the future prophesy us a completely new reality, supervised, monitored and controlled by machines. It is said that digital media and artificial intelligence will soon penetrate every cell of our body. However, where does this lead us? To Mars, where we are stuck with gasp breathing in tight metal boxes? Would it not be much nicer on the blue planet, our wonderful plan A? That fascinates and challenges us once again every day with all its creatures, objects and events. Eutopia! A good place for everyone?! That is why we are here, today and right now, to construct the future together hence claiming it our own!

You are invited to look around, meddle or float – in the midst of a “global village” that arises of geodesic, mobile and informal architectures of the future. Eventfully filled with small culinary extravagances, object-supported global dialogues, analogue-digital sound affairs, visual creations of fantasy, speculative theory towers and performative networks of abstraction. How do we want to live today and in the future? Join if you want. As you want. It is your decision.

wednesday, may 29| 15:00 – 21:00
Nuremberg – Nördlicher Lorenzer Platz

friday, may 31| 15:00 – 21:00
Fürth – Südstadtpark

saturday, june 1| 15:00 – 22:00
Erlangen – Schlossplatz

Detailed information on individual events and schedules are available online about two weeks prior to the festival!

With the participation of:

Ethiopian Cultural Association Nuremberg / Terefe Fekadu / Filipos Asfaw, Anja Schoeller, Titus Spree, All-We-Make / André Suhl, Les Ampoules / Tom Karg, Projekt.Heizhaus, Marian Kaiser, visuranto / Grit Koalick, playmob.il, Organ Mug, Stefanie Oberhoff and Punch*AG |Concept and Editing: Stefan Becker

Admission free!

# society
# democracy
# digitality

press releases

Below you will find current press information regarding the 21st international figuren.theater.festival. Should you wish to receive additional information or register for our press distribution list, please contact the festival at presse[at]figurentheaterfestival.de and include your full name, company, postal address, as well as your telephone numer and email address.

Press Release
Erlangen, Nuremberg, Fürth, Schwabach, 22 March 2019

figuren objekte bilder
international figuren.theater.festival
Erlangen Nuremberg Fürth Schwabach
24 May to 2 June 2019

The Programme
Advance ticket sales: Saturday, 13 April

From 24 May to 2 June, the cities of Erlangen, Nuremberg, Fürth and Schwabach will host the 21st international figuren.theater.festival. One of the foremost festivals of contemporary puppet, visual and object theatre in Europe, it acts as an interface between dance, performance art and new media. With over 180 performances and over 70 companies from 20 different countries, it is one of the biggest theatre festivals held anywhere in Germany. From its origins in classical puppet theatre, the festival has long seen its role as that of encouraging artistic encounters between different genres, as well as bringing together different perspectives and cultural tastes. Featuring unusual formats, public performances and a broad-ranging festival programme, this year’s event will delve deeper into substantive issues and open up new lines of discourse. Over the course of the ten-day festival programme, more than 20,000 visitors are expected to attend the numerous venues across the four host cities.

Forty years ago, the international figuren.theater.festival was held in Erlangen for the first time. Apart from a handful of “classics” of the genre who have been invited to take part, however, there will not be much room for reminiscence at this year’s event. With the advantage of increased funding from the Kultur im Großraum [Culture in the Conurbation] consortium and spurred on by Nuremberg and the Metropolitan Region’s bid for European Capital of Culture 2025, the festival is set to take another step forward and focus its attention on new themes and aesthetics. This is exemplified by two projects involving Rimini Protokoll: “What can you do and what would be better to avoid? What is being asked of me and how much freedom do I have? What would it be like to live without rules? What rules do we need in the future?” “DO’s & DON’Ts” will pose these questions as it takes its audience on a tour around Nuremberg on board a converted truck. In all four festival cities, Rimini Protokoll will also present the German premiere of its first production for young people: “Bubble Jam” is co-produced with the festival and dispenses not only with the stage but also with the actors in its quest to explore whether there is anyone on the other end of the Internet.

Renaud Herbin has already appeared at the international figuren.theater.festival while studying at the prestigious École Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette [ESNAM] in Charleville-Mézières. Now, he is teaming up with the dancer Julie Nioche and several hundred puppets for the festival’s inaugural night in Erlangen, where they will perform the production “At the Still Point of the Turning World” from Strasbourg’s TJP – Centre Dramatique National d’Alsace, which Herbin manages. In Nuremberg, the Slovenian group Via Negativa will get the ball rolling with a tour of the soundscapes of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in “The Ninth”, using the medium of performance art to provide a commentary on the current situation in Europe. In Fürth, Helmut Haberkamm’s Franconian western “Glopf an die Himmelsdür” [Knocking on Heaven’s Door] will celebrate its rocky premiere with Theater Kuckucksheim, whereas the city of Schwabach joins the festival programme a day later with “Das Lobbüro” [The Office of Praise] from flunker produktionen.

The highlights of the 21st international figuren.theater.festival include companies that have been regulars at the festival over the years, such as Compagnie Mossoux-Bonté with “The Great He-Goat”, Meinhardt Krauss Feigl with “Robot Dreams”, Wilde & Vogel puppet theatre with “Songs for Alice – Special Edition” and “Frankenstein oder Der moderne Prometheus” [Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus], Theater Waidspeicher with “Das hölzerne Pferd” [The Wooden Horse], the Dutch object theatre company TamTam with “Ein unbemerkter Augenblick” [An Unguarded Moment] and “Fundstücke” [Objects found], Ljubljana Puppet Theatre with “Open the Owl” or the Russian avant-gardists Akhe with their trilogy “Demokratie, Utopie und Diktatur” [Democracy, Dictatorship and Utopia]. Audience favourites from recent years include Compagnie 111/Aurélien Bory, appearing this year with the visually stunning dance production “aSH”, as well as the star puppeteer Nikolaus Habjan, who will perform “Böhm” with Schauspielhaus Graz, Philippe Quesne and his Vivarium Studio with the classic “L’Effet de Serge” [The Serge Effect], the Belgian media and performance group Berlin with “True Copy”, Miet Warlop with “Big Bears Cry Too”, the Dutch musical theatre company BOT with “LEK”, Barbara Matijević & Giuseppe Chico with “Forecasting” and Eva Meyer-Keller, who will perform her latest piece “Some Significance”. One of the most contentious productions by Romeo Castellucci and the Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio is “On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God”, which has never been performed in the region before. Likewise, Julian Hetzel is bound to trigger some lively debate with “The Automated Sniper”, as is O-Team with “:-Oz”.

A whole series of artists will be bringing their productions to the international figuren.theater.festival for the first time, including the Lebanese visual artist Rabih Mroué with “Rima Kamel”, which emerged from the Munich Kammerspiele, Compagnie Selon l’Heure & Ali Moini with “Man anam ke rostam bovad pahlavan” [I owe my fame to Rostam], Compagnie Philippe Saire with “Hocus Pocus”, Michikazu Matsune with “Dance, if you want to enter my country!”, Olivier de Sagazan with “Transfiguration”, steptext dance project with “Zwei Giraffen tanzen Tango – Bremer Schritte” [Two Giraffes Dancing the Tango], Moran Duvshani with “Cardiophone”, the Romanian Synchret Theatre Company with “Godot” or Livsmedlet Theatre with “Invisible Lands”. Representatives of the German-speaking scene include Christoph Bochdansky, Bühne Cipolla, Florian Feisel, florschütz & döhnert, Lutz Großmann, Theater Gustavs Schwestern, Samuel Koch & Robert Lang, Julika Mayer, Numen Company, Rike Schuberty, United Puppets, Sarah Wissner, Theater Anna Rampe, Michael Sommer, Lille Kartofler puppet theatre, Levana Schule shadow theatre and Theater Chemnitz, with regional representatives including not only Theater Kuckucksheim and Thalias Kompagnons but also Theater Salz+Pfeffer, the Nuremberg Papiertheater, TOLL, Tanzwerk Vertikal and Ensemble Extraordinaire at Theater Erlangen.

When the international figuren.theater.festival was founded, street theatre was one of its key elements. Nowadays, as we reflect on the democratisation of culture, on participation and on new target groups, public space is taking on renewed significance. This year, Compagnie Yoann Bourgeois will stir up the public with “Dialogue”, Chloé Moglia/Rhizome will fascinate onlookers with “La Spire” [The Winding] on top of a multi-storey car park, and passers-by are in for a surprise with street art from David Zinn and “The Herd of Mechanical Creatures” from foolpool. The Austrian audiovisual artist Kurt Hentschläger will sweep visitors off into the darkness of Erlangen’s Burgbergkeller with “SOL”, and the Dutch video artist Dries Verhoeven will present his work “Guilty Landscapes”. With around 30 performances, children’s and youth theatre continues to play a significant role, and participative formats will embark on a tour of the various cities and neighbourhoods.

The year 2019 marks the 300th anniversary of Erlangen’s Markgrafentheater, one of the main venues of the international figuren.theater.festival. The theatre is said to have opened on 10 January 1719 with an opera entitled “Argenis und Poliarchus” [Argenis and Poliarchus]. But what more do we know about its inaugural night? In “Elefanten in Erlangen” [Elephants in Erlangen], the artists Lindy Annis, Eva Meyer-Keller, Sandra Leupold and Isi Kunath have embarked on a hunt for clues, teaming up with researchers from Erlangen’s theatre studies community to delve into the history of this remarkable baroque theatre. In addition, the Young Forum International, a long-standing collaboration with the Institute of Media and Theatre Studies at FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg, gives performing arts students an opportunity to present their own projects and engage with contemporary puppet theatre.

Societal changes due to digitalisation, and their effects on democracy and public participation, are actively reflected in contemporary puppet theatre. It is no coincidence that the Fonds Darstellende Künste [Performing Arts Fund] has just launched a special funding programme entitled “Konfiguration” for projects relating to aesthetic research, the expansion of aesthetics due to the use of digital technologies, and updates on viral communication in puppet theatre. “In my work, I don’t aim to provide explanations,” says Rabih Mroué. “I can only try to ask the right questions, share my thoughts with the audience, and confront them with unfinished ideas. In this respect, I am different from a politician. I come on stage to share my doubts with others and to search for answers together with the audience.” In a series of roundtable discussions, talks and new discursive formats, the festival will seek to offer some degree of guidance.

Advance ticket sales start on Saturday, 13 April, on www.figurentheaterfestival.de, at the advance booking offices in the Erlangen, Nuremberg, Fürth and Schwabach metropolitan area, and at all Reservix advance booking points throughout Germany. A leaflet providing an overview of the programme will be available at all advance-booking points and at institutions throughout the region.

The detailed programme will be published in the second week of April and will be available for free at all of the region’s advance booking points, as well as at the daytime and evening box offices once the festival gets underway. The purchase of a festival pass for €9.90 entitles you to a 20% discount on the ticket price for almost every event.

The comprehensive press release including all participating companies and respective dates and times is available for download.


City of Erlangen – Cultural Office
Department Festivals and Programmes
Gebbertstr. 1, 91052 Erlangen
Tel. +49 [0]9131 86-1408

City of Nuremberg – KunstKulturQuartier
Tafelhalle, Katharinenruine & Festivals
Königstr. 93, 90402 Nürnberg
Tel. +49 [0]911 231-14005

City of Fürth – Cultural Office
Königsplatz 2, 90762 Fürth
Tel. +49 [0]911 974-1683

City of Schwabach – Cultural Office
Königsplatz 29 a, 91126 Schwabach
Tel. +49 [0]9122 860-305


City of Erlangen – Cultural Office
Department Festivals and Programmes
Gebbertstraße 1, 91052 Erlangen – Germany
Phone: +49 (0)9131 86-1408, Fax: +49 (0)9131 86-1411
E-Mail: info@figurentheaterfestival.de
Website: www.figurentheaterfestival.de


  • Press Release 22/03/2019 – Programme – 21st international figuren.theater.festival
    Size: 323 KB - download file