Comment: [Offstage: An ominous rumbling]

This is it. The almighty jury has travelled Germany, Austria and Switzerland searching for the “most remarkable” German-speaking theatre productions of the season, and the verdict is finally in. Of the 430 plays the seven jury members managed collectively to attend, ten have been invited to the Theatertreffen Festival in Berlin this May (4th to 20th, put it in your diaries).

I say “invited” to Berlin, but in fact exactly half of the chosen productions are already here. Not only that, they’re on in the same Berlin theatres: “Hate Radio” and “Before Your Very Eyes” at the Hebbel am Ufer, and “John Gabriel Borkman”, “Kill Your Darlings! The Streets of Berladelphia”, and “Die [s]panische Fliege” at the Volksbühne.

At the press conference on Friday we were reminded several times just how many productions at how many different theatres were considered by the tireless jury. Yet despite all those hours on the Deutsche Bahn, all that sampling of regional delicacies, Berlin dominates the list. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the rest of the theatres in the German-speaking world, or is another bias at work?

But it is good news for me – I’m one of this year’s six Theatertreffen Bloggers, by the way, and your English-speaking window into all the excitement from now until the end of the festival. As a Neu-Berlinerin, pretty much all of these Berlin productions have been on my To-Do list since my arrival (below “tidy up”, which might as well be written in permanent ink). Just a few weeks ago I ran full pelt down Stresemannstraße to try to get an on-the-door ticket for the last night of “Before Your Very Eyes” and failed miserably – thank the theatre gods for Theatertreffen!

It’s going to be a hardcore line-up come May, particularly given the mammoth eight to 12-hour Ibsen, Salzburg’s two-part “Faust”, and the Sarah Kane triple bill from Munich, so getting a headstart might not be a bad idea. You can still catch “Kill Your Darlings!” and “Die [s]panische Fliege” at the Volksbühne – who also promise that “John Gabriel Borkman” will be “coming back soon.” And “Hate Radio” is returning to HAU 2 from 1st to 3rd March. Festival tickets will be on sale starting 14th April, and most performances will have English surtitles, enabling access for even the most stubborn German-phobes, but we’ll keep you posted as the fest draws nigh. In the meantime, watch out for previews, discussions and more on the TT-Blog – and don’t forget you can put in your two cents in the “Leserbrief” column on the right!

(Re-posted from the Theatertreffen Blog)

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