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16 Jun 2017

Impulse Theater Festival

C: Donata Ettlin

Impulse Theater Festival
NRW KULTURsekretariat


22 June, 6 PM - 1 July, 11:59 PM


NRW KULTURsekretariat
Friedrich-Engels-Allee 85
42285 Wuppertal

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22 June - 1 July 2017
Köln - Mülheim/Ruhr - Düsseldorf

With Boris Nikitin, Dries Verhoeven, Die Rabtaldirndln, vorschlag:hammer, Sybille Peters / Fundustheater - Forschungstheater, Swoosh Lieu, Monster Truck & The Footprints, Milo Rau / IIPM & Campo, She She Pop, Gintersdorfer/Klaßen, internil, Richard Lowdon / Forced Entertainment, Alexandra Pirici, Stan's Cafe, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Phil Hayes, Gesine Danckwart, Davis Freeman, Dennis Deter, Daniel Kötter & Constanze Fischbeck, Chantal Mouffe, John Jordan, Antanas Mockus, Andy Blunden, Marcus Steinweg, Oliver Marchart, Bojana Kunst, Claire Bishop, Jörg Albrecht, Gerhild Steinbuch, WDR, Stefanie Wenner, Reinhard Olschanski, 2nd nature, andcompany&co, Urban Catalyst, Christian Bangert, PeterLicht, The Silent University and many more — Artistic Direction: Florian Malzacher

Decision Making in Society, Politics, and Art

Since 2013 the Impulse Theater Festival has regarded theater as a social laboratory and has examined what political art might look like today. The theme of the last festival under the artistic directorship of Florian Malzacher is both an appeal and a threat: 'Decide or Else': How should we decide, what can be decided and who should make those decisions?
For Boris Nikitin's 'Hamlet' to be or not to be is no longer a question to be decided but a tension that has to be withstood – similar to the artistic trap that Monster Truck set for us with 'Sorry': in this controversial work created together with the Nigerian choreographer Segun Adefila, the desire to take action finds no outlet – an experience also generated by Milo Rau's 'Five Easy Pieces'. Members of the audience become witnesses, just like they do in Dries Verhoeven's political and poetic live installation 'Guilty Landscapes'.
Austrian women's collective Die Rabtaldirndln look for the political within the personal in radical life decisions in 'Du gingst fort' (You Went Away) and ask similar questions about social conditions to the young Giessen graduates of Swoosh Lieu. While the staged installation 'Who cares?!' presents a feminist perspective on the conditions of care, 'Die Erfindung der Gertraud Stock' by the equally young theater company vorschlag:hammer focuses on the biography of an unconventionally conventional woman at the end of her life.
At the opposite end of the age spectrum are the three- to ten-year-old spectators and performers of 'DA GEFAHR!', a work by FUNDUS THEATER from Hamburg, in which it becomes evident how scope for decision-making is restricted by norms and precautions from a very early age. If the theater can be the space where you can lick a 9 volt battery after all, then perhaps there is hope – as the filmmakers Daniel Kötter and Constanze Fischbeck demonstrate with 'state-theatre #4– 6'. She She Pop and Gintersdorfer/Klaßen – familiar guests of the festival – and the group internil, invited to Impulse for the first time, make more optimistic use of the theater space when they adopt the form of the monologue at the end of the festival.
The invited productions from German-speaking countries are framed by international commissioned works: in WDR's large broadcasting studio the film 'Germany Year 2071', made by the Nature Theater of Oklahoma from New York together with the citizens of Cologne and Berlin, will be given its world premiere. Meanwhile, in the Great Hall at Ringlokschuppen Ruhr in Mülheim, the British company Stan's Cafe use their expansive theatrical installation which nevertheless consists of nothing but piles of rice to examine the factors on which our decisions are based. A project which is closely linked to the Silent University Ruhr, the autonomous knowledge platform for refugee academics that Impulse initiated in 2015. In Düsseldorf 'Delicate Instruments of Engagement' – a durational performative action by the Romanian choreographer Alexandra Pirici in the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf – investigates breaking the boundaries of art and politics some thirty years after the death of Joseph Beuys.
In conversations, lectures, working meetings and above all at the Impulse conference on the final day, artists, theoreticians and activists will come together and address the question of what political and artistic decisions are possible. Chantal Mouffe, who as a political philosopher has had a strong influence on the festival's thinking in recent years, will take part along with Antanas Mockus, the legendary former Mayor of Bogotá, and Impulse mentors of recent years such as the political scientist Oliver Marchart and the philosopher Marcus Steinweg.
The festival center - designed by Richard Lowdon, founder member, performer and designer of the legendary theater company Forced Entertainment – deliberately withdraws from the political perspective of most of the work at Impulse: 'Sideshow' is a bar, a stage, a wonderful garden.

The Impulse Theater Festival 2017 is hosted by NRW KULTURsekretariat in cooperation with studiobühneköln, Ringlokschuppen Ruhr and FFT Düsseldorf, the cities of Cologne, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Düsseldorf as well as in association with Schauspiel Köln. The Festival is supported by the Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sports of Nordrhine-Westfalia, the Federal Government Commisioner for Culture and the Media, Kunststiftung NRW, Sparkasse KölnBonn, Goethe-Institut and the NATIONALE PERFORMANCE NETZ (NPN).