#ThrowbackThursday – HELLERAU 2023 Recap
The year is coming to an end with many conflicts and wars across the world, with complex issues and problems that affect all our lives and, in some respects, pose major challenges to us.
We are still convinced that the theatre fulfils an important function as a public space – as a place for art and experiences, for other realities, for listening and unprejudiced, open-minded encounters, especially in these difficult times. We are incredibly pleased that we were able to welcome so many artists from Dresden and from (almost) all over the world as our guests in 2023 and got to experience their art and their perspectives. We are equally thrilled about our many visitors and the lively discourse that took place during audience discussions and lectures, in the Dalcroze Saal, at the Lago Bar and in the Kulturgarten.
Looking back on 2023, there were numerous projects that captivated our audiences. International guest performances and major music events once again formed the central theme of this year. We began with the Tanzformen I series, in which a new form of circus took place in the HELLERAU Kuppel with Overhead Projekt, Paula Rosolen reworked techno beats with her dancers and She She Pop fired up the Großer Saal with “Dance Me”. Celebrated choreographers such as Adam Linder, Pichet Klunchun, Wen Hui, Marco da Silva Ferreira and Jan Martens created highly personal works in their exploration of art and social issues. With its packed program, the 31st Dresden Days of Contemporary Music presented an interplay of tones and sounds, including the outstanding project Parasite Village. In the fall, Tanzformen II was dedicated to the great artists Nadia Beugré and Bouchra Ouizgen from Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco. The Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company, which has had a permanent place in our program since its founding as the Forsythe Company, also experienced significant changes. The new artistic director Ioannis Mandafounis and the new ensemble celebrated their Dresden premiere in December with the piece “À la carte”.
We were also able to bring exceptional theater productions to Dresden, such as the guest performance by Iranian director Narges Hashempour and the numerous performances, concerts, lectures, workshops and talks by and with Ukrainian artists and researchers as part of Nebenan/Поруч in June and July 2023. We will continue this very important series with intensive insights into the theater scene of an Eastern European country in 2024.
The explore dance project, the dance network for young audiences, also developed significantly this year. Together with the network partners and artists from Saxony, three impressive dance pieces for young audiences have been created and are currently being shown throughout Germany. Also with the focus on dance for young audiences, the “Watch out!” festival was also held in spring 2023, which included international productions, such as Tabea Martin’s “Forever” and Miet Warlop’s “After all Springville”, as well as the magnificent glittering world of “Glam Bloom” by Wiete Sommer from Dresden.
We were and continue to be closely connected to the Saxon independent scene: we presented nine premieres and guest performances by regional artists as co-productions in Dresden – from plays such as “THE GREAT GRAND OTHER” by Michael McCrae and co-authors, “Im Osten nichts Neues oder Wer wem den Hintern auswischt” by missingdots or “IN ZUNGEN: Hex*en Haufen Konsens” by Adele*Mike Dittrich Frydetzki/Die Soziale Fiktion, performances for young audiences such as “Auf der Suche nach dem verlorenen Schnee” by the guts company and “Wandeln” by Katja Erfurth, through to major stage productions such as “BATS” by Sebastian Weber, “Yes! Yes! Yes! Die Fernsehshow!” by AuditivVokal Dresden with Hans-Joachim Hespos & Ole Hübner, “Kim” by Polymer DMT/Fang Yun Lo and “KREISEN” by Anna Till.
In addition to the major stage performances, the HELLERAU residency program is an important pillar of our work. Almost 100 artists from all over the world were guests at HELLERAU in 2023, often for several weeks at a time. We are delighted to be able to support and promote artistic developments right from the start – together with our partners and networks. And finally, the wide range of offers, formats and activities for public participation and cultural education should not be forgotten in this recap.
In addition to regular workshops by artists working with diverse groups of people – from professionals and amateurs to children and young people – we have for many years been supporting highly popular projects such as ArtRose with Prof. Jenny Coogan and Kulturgeflüster, a forum for up-and-coming journalists.
As a heritage-listed building, in 2023 we were not only concerned with the artistic content of our program, but also with the structure of the Festspielhaus and its grounds. Numerous guided tours explore HELLERAU every week, and the artistic audio walk “BALANCE” by the Leipzig-based group Studio Urbanistan has also been available since May 2023. Equipped with an audio guide, the public can explore both the garden city and reflect upon their own lives. Construction work on the east wing also made great strides in 2023 and is expected to be brought to an initial completion in 2024.
We would like to thank you for your support of HELLERAU and wish you serene and reflective holidays, and a peaceful and fulfilling 2024 for us all.
Come visit us again soon!