Artistic Director of ice&fire
Christine Bacon is Artistic Director of ice&fire, and was previously an actor and activist in Australia before completing an MSc in Forced Migration at the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University. At ice&fire, she founded Actors for Human Rights, a national network made up of over 700 professional actors that tours rehearsed readings of testimony-based plays such as Asylum Monologues (chronicling the experience of three individuals going through the UK’s asylum process) across the UK, with the aim of inspiring audiences to take personal action. Directly inspired by this work, a German Actors for Human Rights is now in operation, with over 200 German actors and musicians involved, touring their own version of Asylum Monologues. She has developed several participatory arts projects for ice&fire and written over a dozen testimony plays, as well as On the Record (Arcola 2011, with Noah Birksted-Breen) and The Island Nation (Arcola 2016). ice&fire explores human rights stories through performance. We put human rights at the core of everything we do to make accessible theatre for a wide range of audiences across the UK. We want to empower people and communities to express their rights through the power of sharing stories and transporting performance. It is our mission to inspire artists and audiences to create positive change in the world through human rights and we were recognised by the Liberty Human Rights Awards in 2011.
Co-Artistic Director of Maxim Gorko Theatre
Jens Hillje was born in 1968. He grew up in Italy and Bavaria, where he had his first experiences with revolutionary people’s theatre. After studying applied arts in Perugia, Hildesheim and Berlin, he worked in the independent theatre scene as actor, author and director starting in 1990. He moved to Berlin in 1996 and, together with the director Thomas Ostermeier, founded the “Barracks” venue at the Deutsches Theatre, which was voted Theatre of the Year two years later. From 1999 to 2009 he was chief dramaturg and part of the leadership team at Berlin’s Schaubühne. Together with his Schaubühne colleagues Ostermeier and Sasha Waltz, he created an international drama and dance ensemble. As a dramaturg he worked with, among others, the directors Barbara Frey, Luk Perceval, Rafael Sanchez, YAEL RONEN and SEBASTIAN NÜBLING. In 2000 he began working together with the director and author FALK RICHTER. After Hillje became a freelance dramaturg again in 2009, their collaboration continued on productions including Trust (Schaubühne, 2009), My Secret Garden (Festival d’ Avignon, 2010) and Noise (Schauspiel Dusseldorf, 2012). Together with Nurkan Erpulat he developed the piece Mad Blood at the Ballhaus Naunynstraße in 2010, which was chosen by the trade journal Theater heute (Theatre today) as Play of the Year in 2011. That same year Hillje curated and served as artistic director of the performing arts festival In Transit at the House of World Cultures in Berlin.
Since the 2013/14 season Jens Hillje has been co-artistic director and chief Dramaturg of the Gorki. In September 2014, German speaking critics chose Gorki as Theatre of the Year in a survey held by „Theater Heute“. The Preußische Seehandlung Foundation awarded him the Theaterpreis Berlin (Theatre Award Berlin) 2016 alongside SHERMIN LANGHOFF.
Artist Collective at Rimini Protokoll
Stefan Kaegi is based in Berlin, produces documentary theatre plays and works in public space in a diverse variety of collaborative partnerships. Kaegi has toured across Europe and Asia with two Bulgarian lorry drivers and a truck which was converted into a mobile audience room (“Cargo Sofia”). He developed “Radio Muezzin” in Cairo – a project about the call to prayer in this age of technical reproduction. At the moment he adapts “Remote X” an audiotour for 50 headphones to Cities like Los Angeles and Tunis, and he tours the interactive installation “Nachlass” that portrays people who have not much time to live. Kaegi co-produces works with Helgard Haug and Daniel Wetzel, under the label “Rimini Protokoll”. Using research, public auditions and conceptual processes, they give voice to ‘experts’ who are not trained actors but have something to tell. Recent works include the multi-player-video-piece “Situation Rooms”, 100% São Paulo with 100 local citizens on stage and the “World Climate Conference” – a simulation of the UN-conference for 650 spectators in Schauspielhaus Hamburg. Currently they perform “Homevisit Europe” as an intaractive performance game in hundereds of households across the globe.
Hans-Werner Kroesinger was born in Bonn in 1962. He studied drama, theatre and media from 1983 to 1988 under Andrzej Wirth and Hans-Thies Lehmann at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies of the Justus Liebig University Gießen. In 1987, while he was still a student, Kroesinger began working as an assistant director and dramaturg for Robert Wilson, a position he held for two years. He was involved in Wilson’s productions of Hamletmachine in New York, Salome in Milan and The Forest in Berlin. In 1989, he was a member of the creative team for Heiner Müller’s production of Hamlet/Hamletmachine at the Deutsches Theater Berlin.
Since 1993, he has directed his own productions at prestigious municipal and state-funded theatres, such as the Berliner Ensemble, the Staatstheater Stuttgart, the Bayerisches Staatsschauspiel and the Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, as well as on the independent scene, above all at the Hebbel am Ufer (HAU), the Sophiensaele, Radialsystem, the Staatsbank and Podewil in Berlin, the Forum Freies Theater (FFT) in Düsseldorf, the Festival Theatre at Dresden-Hellerau and the Theaterhaus Gessnerallee in Zürich.
Kroesinger has been invited to take his works to high-profile national and international festivals, including Politics in the Independent Theatre (Hamburg, 2003), Cultura Nova (Herleen, 2008) and Impulse (North Rhine-Westphalia, 2009).
In 2007, the director was awarded the Brothers Grimm Prize of the Land of Berlin for his Kindertransporte, a production for children and young people at the Theater an der Parkaue in Berlin. His work Stolpersteine Staatstheater was selected in 2016, to showcase at the most important german-speaking theatre festival, Theatertreffen at Berlin.
She She Pop
She She Pop is a performance collective that was founded in the 90s at the Giessen Institute for Applied Theatre Studies. Its members are Sebastian Bark, Johanna Freiburg, Fanni Halmburger, Lisa Lucassen, Mieke Matzke, Ilia Papatheodorou and Berit Stumpf. Their creative producer is Elke Weber.
The members of the group are predominantly women and they work as a collective. The performers see themselves as authors, dramaturges and practitioners of their stage art. The inclusion of their own autobiographies is above all the method and not the purpose of their work.
The result is a form of theatre firmly committed to experimentation. The stage is always a place of intense publicness. Here, decisions are made, ways of speaking and social systems are tested, and speech gestures and social rituals are tried, rehearsed or discarded. She She Pop sees its task as a search to find the social limits of communication – and to go beyond the protective space of the theatre, in both specific and artistic terms. The theatre is turned into a space for utopian communication. The audience, too, is often given a tangible attribution and a special feature: all of She She Pop’s works are experiments or demonstrations in some way, which would be invalid without spectators.
She She Pop has been based in Berlin since 1998. The HAU Hebbel am Ufer theatre has been a continuous co-producer and co-operation partner in Berlin since 2003.
Other regular cooperation partners at home and abroad are: Munich Kammerspiele, Schauspiel Stuttgart, Kampnagel Hamburg, Forum Freies Theater in Dusseldorf, Mousonturm Frankfurt / Main and Kaserne Basel, brut Wien, Theatre de la Ville / Festival d’Automne de Paris, Festival Kyoto Experiment Archa Theatre Prague, Prague German language Festival and the Konfrontationen Festival Lublin.
Photo Credit:Benjamin Krieg
Writer & Playwright
Philip Ralph is an award winning writer and performer, originally from Yorkshire, now based in Wales. He trained at RADA and worked as an actor for twenty years before branching out into writing. Philip won the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award 2008 for his play Deep Cut, produced by Sherman Cymru, about the deaths of young recruits at a Surrey barracks. Deep Cut also won Fringe First and Herald Angel awards, toured the UK twice, was the Friday Night Play on BBC Radio 4, and a screenplay was developed for Michael Winterbottom and Andrew Eaton’s Revolution Films. Other theatre includes Mr Nobody as Writer on Attachment at Soho Theatre and Hitting Funny for Volcano Theatre. He is a core team writer on the BBC daytime drama Doctors and has also written episodes of Holby City. Philip has developed several screenplays: Deep Cut with Revolution Films; Walking Wounded about survivors of the 7/7 terrorist attacks with Mark Redhead, producer of Bloody Sunday, now at Hat Trick Productions; Lockerbie about the mystery surrounding the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 with Oscar winning director Kevin Macdonald and Young Films who madeThe Inbetweeners Movie; Janis & Jake, an original road movie/romance currently in development with Young Films; and is currently working on The Breakaway, an adaptation of the autobiography of Nicole Cooke MBE, Olympic gold-medal winning cyclist.
Director and Author, Artistic Director of International Institute of Political Murder
The Swiss director and author Milo Rau (*1977 in Bern) studied sociology, German and Romance languages and literature in Paris, Berlin and Zurich under Pierre Bourdieu and Tzvetan Todorov, among others. Since 2002, he has put out over 50 plays, films, books and actions. His productions have appeared at all of the major international festivals, including the Berlin Theatertreffen, the Festival d’Avignon, the Venice Biennale Teatro, the Wiener Festwochen and the Brussels Kunstenfestival, and have toured more than 30 countries worldwide. Rau has received many honours, most recently the 2017 Saarbrucken Poetry Lectureship for Drama and, in 2016, the prestigious World Theatre Day ITI Prize, of which he is the youngest winner, following such artists as Frank Castorf, Pina Bausch, George Tabori, Heiner Goebbels and Christoph Marthaler. In 2016, “Five Easy Pieces” became the first non-Belgian production to be selected for the Belgian Theatre Critics’ Special Jury Award.The IIPM – International Institute of Political Murder, was founded by Milo Rau in 2007 for the creation and international utilisation of his theatre productions, actions and films. Since its founding, IIPM has focused on the multimedia treatment of historical and sociopolitical conflicts.
Director of Maxim Gorki Theatre
In-house Gorki director, was born in Jerusalem in 1976. She comes from a theatre family and is internationally considered as one of the most exciting theatre makers of her generation. The greatest tool at her disposal is black humour in the framework of historical conflicts. Ronen’s play Third Generation, featuring German, Israeli and Palestinian actors, was invited to numerous festivals. Another of her productions Hakoah Wien, developed at Schauspielhaus Graz, was awarded the Austrian Nestroy theatre prize in 2013. She staged the world premiere of the adaptation of Olga Grjasnowa’s bestselling novel All Russians Love Birch Trees. Common Ground emerged as a meditation from Ronen and her actors on the aftermath of the war in former Yugoslavia. 2015 the play was invited to the reknowned Theatertreffen Festival at Berlin and won the audience award at Mülheimer Theatertage. Her latest productions at Gorki are Erotic Crisis and Das Kohlhaas-Prinzip as well asThe Situation which was invited to the Theatertreffen 2016. The Piece was elected as piece of the year (Stück des Jahres) 2016.
Soans is a writer, his works include theatre, books and radio drama. Several theatre productions have beed toured nationally and internationally in Toronto, Athens, Tehran and Australia. His acclaimed verbatim play Talking to Terrorists has been nominated for Best Play at the TMA Awards. Recent works include Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage, Perseverance Drive, One Turbulent Ambassador and Mixed Up North. Soans is also the co-author of the book Verbatim Verbatim. His book The Arab-Israeli Cookbook: The Recipes is the winner of the Best Innovative Food Book UK and awarded with the Special Jury Prize for Peace at the Gourmand World Book Awards.
Film & Theatre Director
From 1982 to 1988, Andres Veiel studied Psychology at the Free University of Berlin and attended the director’s class of Krzysztof Kieślowski at the Independent Berlin Artist Center Künstlerhaus Bethanien from 1985 to 1989.
Andres Veiel’s first documentary film Winternachtstraum (Winter Night’s Dream) resulted from his theatrical work with a group of senior actresses and premiered 1992 at the Duisburger Filmwoche, an annual festival for German-speaking documentaries.
His next documentary about a Jewish-Palestinian theater group in Israel, Balagan, won in 1993 the Findling Award than was screened at the 1994 Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) and awarded with the Peace Film Award, the Camera Award and the German Film Award in silver. In 1996, Veiel shot his most personal film, Die Überlebenden (The survivors). It pictures the fate of three of Veiel’s former schoolmates who committed suicide.
In 2005, the documentary theater play Der Kick (The Kick) about the 2002 murder of a teenager by three neo-Nazi teenagers in East Germany, which Veiel has written together with Gesine Schmidt, was first performed at theaters in Basel (Switzerland) and Berlin and was invited to the major German Theater Festival, the Berlin Theater Festival (Theatertreffen der Berliner Festspiele ) in May 2006. To date, the play has been performed by more than 60 theaters and has been translated into nine languages. Based on the performance of the play, Veiel created a documentary film which was first shown at the Berlinale 2006. Furthermore, German public radio stations collaborated with Veiel to produce an eponymic radio drama in 2005.
According to his technique of longstanding and profound research when dealing with a subject, Andres Veiel explores the topics of his films also as an author of non-fictional books. Black Box BRD. Alfred Herrhausen, the Deutsche Bank, the RAF and Wolfgang Grams gathers and extends by far the results of the research shown in the film. In 2007, Der Kick – ein Lehrstück über Gewalt (The Kick – a Lesson in Violence) is released and is awarded with the Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth’s Literature Award) in 2008.
In 2012 Veiel interviewed current and former executive board members from various leading banks. Based on this research, he wrote the theater play Das Himbeerreich (The Raspberry Empire) looking behind the curtain of the financial system, showing personal motives and professional constraints of financial players. Himbeerreich premiered at the Staatstheater Stuttgart and at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin in January 2013.
Photo Credit: Nachlass Wilfried Böing