Every second year, the international monodrama festival Thespis in Kiel, northern Germany, presents a programme of contemporary solo shows, workshops, lectures, symposiums and public discussions, and is an international meeting point for monodrama professionals. The festival was founded in 1999 by the Maecenas association as a curated biennial competition for the most interesting contemporary solo shows from all over the world and to present them to the public. The three best performances of the festival are chosen by an international jury and awarded with prizes. It has become a springboard for the international careers of more than a few solo-performers. Though it’s a small festival Thespis is now a major fixture on the most important international theatre festivals.
Based in: Kiel
Contact: Jolanta Sutowicz, festival director – firstname.lastname@example.org
Festival director Jolanta Sutowicz on the response of Thespis to lockdown…
It has been very difficult, but also different. The artists who had a permanent position in theatre had to struggle with psychological challenges but were financially secure, but freelancers have faced difficulty on both fronts. There has been financial help from the Federal Government’s Ministry of Culture including funding projects – some for private theatre, some for freelance artists, others for grants and bridging loans.
Thespis is a biennial festival and in November 2020 we had to cancel the 11th edition in August amidst lockdown – and we are now planning Thespis 2021 with restrictions. But new ideas have also been born – such as a wider framework for the programme, staging less conventional performances, meeting artist friends for evenings at IM MEMORIAM, inviting artists with international roots who live in Germany to solve travel issues.
The worst thing has been the uncertainty about what tomorrow brings. At first our creativity was inhibited, then we start to develop new ideas! I asked for the possibility of moving our promised funding from the cancelled 2020 festival to a new one for 2021. It was bureaucratically complicated, but we were successful.
Then I asked my artist friends for ideas. We decided that all of us who had such a difficult lockdown would work together as ‘seelenvarwante’ – soulmates – and support each other. As a result, Thespis is now planned from November 13th to 20th, 2021 under the motto: ‘Seelenverwandte’ (borrowed from the novel Anne’s House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery. There will be discussions, memories, films, workshops, symposiums, book presentations and meetings on spontaneous topics.
Of course there will will performances from artists who are from around the world – Germany, France, England, Poland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Ukraine, Switzerland – and artists from Armenia, Italy and Syria who are based in Germany will be there. But… everything depends on the Covid situation!