Apply Theatre! Applied Theatre links theory and practice with different research, instruction and staging processes beyond common conventions. Students learn to work artistically with actors from different professional, cultural and social backgrounds and to intervene in the world courageously and skilfully through theatre.
Autor*in: Yuk Yu
The 1st semester was very rough and tough for me, as a mature student ( 37 years old ) from Hong Kon , I have been working in theatre as an actress, teacher and also a director for 12 years, eventually I am here, In Salzburg, aimed at gaining enriching my profession and eager to challenge myself in a foreign country, or at least, I took the courage to question myself: Do I love theatre enough to pursue a better realisation of theatre? I had a question in my mind when I started my master studies here: Other than working like a machine in theatre and strive for living, how could theatre literally empower the society?
My 2nd semester began in March and ended in June, it started with an intensive March, and a long Easter holiday afterwards and ended with a documentary project performance at the end. Knowing more about documentary theatre is one of my motivation to come to this university, as I like documentary theatre wholeheartedly and I wish to know more about it. Fortunately, I am very satisfied of my 2nd semester, as I get to know how to work with a team with diverse background from different cultures. I was quite lost in my 1st semester, as a new comer to Europe, the study provided plenty of time and chances to adapt to a new working experiences and hence I found myself way more confidence to express myself. There were memorable moments to share so that you can get a glimpse of our semester: In this semester we have guest teachers giving inspiring workshops and lectures to us, they are:
In March, Ana Hofner on “Whitness as Property”, after some lectures and discourses, we had an excursion to Vienna joining the artists conference and enjoying the exhibition, that was a class which we learnt artistic research methodology too. Tobias Rausch on Interview techniques, he is an amazing artist who shared his interview techniques and research method to us, we also had some practical sessions.
In April, Nicole Baier on Documentary Film, a very inspiring class which broaden our horizon on documentary works, not only in theatre but also in film, we also did a small project on using different camera framing techniques to tell a story.
In May, Claudia Heu on “Intervention & Participation & Subversion”, we got a glimpse of being an observer or a performer in a city, just by changing our perceptions in our mind, it ended with a small audio walk tryout in Salzburg, we created and presented our work to each other. Katharina Bill on “Bodies as politics and documents”, she shared her experiences/works and thoughts with us, it raised our awareness of respecting human body and how body could also be a container of documents and how body represents in political discourse.
In June, we focused on our documentary project “Dance until we die“ as a program in Salzburg Sommerszene, with the mentoring of Kathrin Herm and Judith Franke. That was a very amazing and fascinating experience, and also an exhausted adventure with my colleagues. We worked as a collective in this project, we found a topic in Salzburg, and started our investigation, contacted people which are related to the topic and interviewed them, researched on the topic, transcribed the interviews recordings, but we also need to take the responsibility of budgeting / costumes design / looking for suitable venues for our showing / set design / set making, we took care of the production schedule, communicated with technicians, we rehearsed and we also performed on stage! We invited three acting / directing students from Ukraine to join our performing team, they are Manila Soroka, Mark Sonkin and Sofia Nimak. So eventually we devised the work together. We also have regular voice training ( by Susanna Litschauer), dance and choreography (by Mirjam Klebel) and Feldenkrais (by Christian Sattlecker).
Ulrike Hatzer and Judith Franke as our “brain“ in the study, they provided inspiring workshops and colloquiums, they provided constant consultant sessions to all of us. The semester was closed with a full day reflection session, so all the students had the chance to talk to teachers individually and get personal advises from them, I treasured it a lot as I could feel the openness of the whole study, teachers respected the individuality of students, we basically learn from each other everyday through working and discussion, exhausting but it is also fun.
I would like to sum up this semester report by an idiom from the Analects of Confucius: If three walk together, one can be my teacher. And here I want to share some of my precious moments as a short trailer for you if you are interested in this study programme:
- I got a chance to facilitate a community workshop in Lehen, I was completely out of my comfortable zone as I was in a situation that I need to work with a group which we dont have a common language to speak, but actually it worked quite well.
- I improvised with our acting team from Ukraine in the documentary project, the improvisation was amazing, my soul was completely touched by our work.
- On our premiere night, we were thinking maybe nobody will come and we may have no audiences, but eventually that was a full house (and actually more and more people came after the premiere).
- We biked to the performance venue together everyday, bringing costumes and props .
- We painted the stage set together with my colleagues
- At the end of the semester we learnt some Bollywood dance in our choreography class, we had fun and forgot all the stress we had.
- When we were stocked with our group dynamics in the documentary project, Christian was trying to inspire us in the Feldenkrais class by showing us how to take care of each other’s body, so as to find another way to work in a team.
Autor*in: Martin Modrý
From October to January, I spent my Erasmus semester working alongside the students and teachers of Applied Theatre. It was a blast. Arriving in Salzburg with big expectations and only a brief understanding of what it actually means to „apply” theatre, I was met with a diverse group of theatre practitioners and lovers on both the student and professor sides. We spent our first week getting to know each other, less so by talking and more by doing. While giving each other workshops and exchanging experience, the other first years and I slowly got to know the space and people of Mozarteum, as well as the beautiful, chaotic and at times very strange city of Salzburg.
Topic of the term: Practicing Resistance. An enigmatic topic that became a target for countless jokes (when early mornings became tough, one was very tempted to practice resistance against the schedule, that soon came to rule our lives), but that would become important much later. While discussing the sub-topic of Theatre & Trials, we started working on our first Devising project, by giving each other inputs and leading each session in pairs, moving forward when possible, slowing down when needed. This inward process was interspaced by outside input from our lovely voice and movement lectors (Susanne Litschauer and Mirjam Klebel) and a block seminar on Theatre Anthropology led by Dr Babafemi Folorunso.
Our bodies were thrown to space and our minds were challenged by a kaleidoscope of knowledge and perspectives only finding rest in the mundane of everyday problems: finding a good coffee shop, decently priced food and wondering why the water of Salzach is so blue (somebody told me but I forgot, it has something to do with minerals but don’t take my word for it). Getting sidetracked. At the end of the first month, we each packed all our experiences into a suitcase and set off on an excursion to Munich for a change of scenery and to see projects that were part of the Spielart Theatre Festival. What became an absolute highlight was a performance titled CRIA (Elice Ripoll, Cia Suave, go google it!) and a mad night in a certain Bar Rendezvous (don’t google it). After coming back, we spent some time talking about funding and money with Sebastian Brünger (alt. title: Money, You Hate It, but You Need It) and then jumped into a three-day workshop with Anna Konjetzky, exploring our physical biases through the ideas of Donna Harraway.
Speeding up. While this all was going on, we met weekly with Kai Ohrem, discussing how theory and philosophy impact our lives and how shifting the way we think about our surroundings can change the way we (and others) live our lives. Put briefly. Before our first showing, we first years joined Christoph Lepschy in a block seminar on dramaturgical praxis, delving into the issue of language, space and meaning. Eszter put a little plant in a glass coffee pot. It was beautiful. As the showing approached, covid restrictions started looming over our heads, so in the end, we had to do a very intimate show for our close friends and call it a day (well do be honest, after dancing my butt off as a death row prisoner three times in a row, I was more than happy that that was it #justAppliedThings).
Converting some formats to online variants showed to be challenging but at times surprisingly rewarding. Online platforms allowed us to explore the genre of cell phone theatre with the pioneer herself, Faye Kabali-Kagwa and each week we talked to different professionals (ranging from a judge to a head of a casino) about the topic of leadership. The workshops open to the public, facilitated by us and Andreas Steudtner were also transformed into online experiences and even though we all hope we longed for real human contact, it was great fun. We also got to test the methods of Augusto Boal with Ulrike Hatzer herself, which was fascinating, as we were passed on a hands-on experience from someone who worked with Boal in the past.
With the second and last showing of the semester in mind, we left for the winter holidays and after returning spent three days with Georg Weinand, who shared a method of feedback and artistic reflection developed in DasArts. From a student perspective, this was the most important input for me personally. Toward the end of the semester, my mental health started deteriorating a little bit, so the topic of Practising Resistance came to mind again. My study colleagues gave me great support and even though I spent my last weeks quarantining, thus not completing my directing output in person, I managed to create an audio piece focused on the topic of self-optimisation, self-care and society’s obsession with productivity. Even though this was my toughest period, it gave the most, not only from an artist’s perspective but as a human overall.
Applied Theatre is a cooking pot filled with phenomenal people and disruptive ideas about theatre and the ways it should be applied. This (quite lengthy) description hardly captures everything that went down over the semester. This gist of the story is, I feel very lucky to have been included with the first years, even if only for a couple of months. These couple of months required a lot of energy, but looking back I’m positive that they will be a source for many years. On a theatremaker level, on a personal level, on an emotional level. Thank you to everyone that crossed paths with me. It was an honour.
A Review of our last semester
The summer semester of 2021 was more divided for the two grades of the applied. Us, the first year students focused on collective processes, while the second year students either went on Erasmus, or spent their time preparing and presenting their master projects. The block seminars of the first months had a different atmosphere with only five people. On one hand it brought us closer; we had more space for comments and questions of each member of the group and we could all keep in mind the aspect of channeling the new knowledge into our collective documentary theatre project. On the other hand, although the meeting of the different experiences enriched the discourses, they also created ground for debates and constant negotiation of personal-professional needs and opinions. ‘Learning each other's languages’ and creating a space for fruitful compromises was a significant skill that we had acquired.
Tobias Rausch from Bürgerbühne Dresden introduced us to different interview techniques. Outside of the theoretical base for research and interview-making, we learned different questioning formats and tried our methods by recording interviews with people of Salzburg, to finally have transcripted texts and analyze our methods. We dealt with the setting and psychological situalisation of talks too, by conducting a collective life-interview with a professor. We all felt that we gained a hands-on practice that can help us approach experts for any kind of documentary project. The blockseminar of Esther Strauß on Conception as Action invited us to use the act of collecting and curating collections as an artistic practice and we got familiar with her conceptual pieces of the past years. One of her works generated intense discourses on historical remembrance and identity politics and the following conversations highly shaped the direction of the course.
As the Labor X theatre workshop sessions couldn’t yet take place in the applied studios, we have decided to take the advantage of having participants from all over the world and reflect on the constant uncertainty that is ruling our lives in the past corona-year. We designed a series of online workshops focusing on different genres of art and investigating the joy-, the pain-, the rhythms- and perspectives of not knowing and the loss of certain futures. Although the meetings through screens weren’t our prefered ways of building communities, it striked us how many people were interested in engaging weekly in the common thinking process from their homes. We also had the chance to try out the different online gaming formats that we’d developed during the past semester. Unfortunately another shorter lockdown came in our way that prolonged the Easter break. However from April on, finally we’d been permanently able to return to presence education. As a reward and as the last inputs for our collective documentary project, three inspiring and intense block seminars took place with strong physical focus. Anna Konjetzky shared a short introduction on observing the body as an archive and a document. We practiced reading objects, spaces and people from different perspectives, noticed and exaggerated our entrenched and kynetic patterns and created movement research experiments for each other. All of us look forward to her return when she’ll work with us longer next semester.
The Paper Tiger Theatre Studio from Beijing involved us in their artistic research of Kafka’s Burrow and provided us with their special approach on dramaturgy and expression through movement on stage and in public spaces. They gave us space to dig deeper in our body memories and the meaning of our bodies in improvised scenic and movement compositions. Their energy, passion, dynamics in transmitting and translating information and new philosophical approach nourished us as a collective a lot. Just as much as Claudia Heu, who coming from a martial art and social theatre background showed us her stunning long-term site specific and socially engaged projects in different countries, exhausted us with massive physical training, helped us connect body and mind and sent us for a guided performative walk to first observe then interact in public spaces with our broadened senses. She even provided us with personal consultation slots and her mind opening practices became a reference point for many of us.
Susanne Litschauer’s weekly voice classes took us on a journey of settling in our bodies and channeling our voices and texts from within to space. The main modul of the term was a collective documentary theatre project of the first year students. The research phase started in a hybrid format. Throughout the semester break in February, all of us collected topics, ideas and material on a shared online platform and we started associating around them, rephrasing them, selecting them in sessions led by us. The walls of applied studios got filled up with pictures, articles, links, books loosely connected to each other by long thought processes and red strings. We received help in forming ourselves as a collective, too.
Judith Franke’s blockseminar ‘On Collectivity’ introduced us to the work and internal structures of several collectives. We ended the seminar by defining and dividing tasks and positions while keeping in mind the strength of each person and the creative and organizational parts of artistic creation. Together with Christoph Lepschy they also provided us with readings and inputs on different types of assemblies that drew a clearer image of possible interventions, experiences and meeting spaces that we could create through the project work with the participants and audiences. Our two mentors helped to navigate among the gathered knowledge. Trace Polly Müller, (former directing student of Mozarteum, theatre maker, musician, researcher) gave an empowering input on archiving and documents, using body-mind practices, academic writings and films. She introduced us to important theories in postcolonial studies which gave a strong base to our further research, challenged and helped us to stay truthful, gentle, political and caring with our topics and collaborators. Ulrike Hatzer facilitated the channeling of the material into individual ideas and shared short concepts. She guided us on the journey of leading topic-searching sessions for each other and finally deciding on the final direction of our project: investigating the shadow history of the forced labor camp Maxglan, where 200–300 Rom*nja and Sinti*zze were imprisoned between 1940 and 1943.
Although narrowing down the spectrum of relevant topics and formats was a result of a long negotiation, finally everybody could find their own inputs and interests in the final project. In the next phase of the work (late April and May) we spent our self-organized time by finding our personal positioning and approach to our research and to fragmented biographical documents and erased histories,
by going to the archives to get to know more about the unmarked land where the forced labor camp used to lay and
by going to the fields to talk to the new owners and look for invisible imprints.
by gathering reading material for creating a deep understanding of the theoretical background
by learning from historians and descendants of survivals from the region who dedicated centuries of work to showing and unfolding the stories of Rom*nja and Sinti*zze on that very land.
and throughout on- and offline meetings by building up a network of fifty people and associations (artists, activists, academics, community workers and members) who are currently fighting, educating, actively remembering; defending the past and building up the future of Rom*nja and Sinti*zze in Salzburg, Austria and Central-Eastern Europe.
Unlike in imagined theatre processes, a long time was passing by with “office work”, uncovering layers and narratives of history. The plan was to build a bridge between past and present. A performative book, a community garden, an earth procession were all considered and rejected ideas. Throughout late spring, several other university-related programs and projects broke the flow of the work but also gave us new methods and directions of thinking.
The Glossary Conference Salzburg invited international professionals of performing arts in context to share and investigate dynamic practices and static terms of their work and to found a network (PAC) and working groups until the next conferences to come. Previously to that, the Applied Theatre students were also involved in the Walking Terms project where alternative ways of creating a glossary of diverse practices were established through shared online walks with professionals and students from all over the globe. We also got a chance to go for an excursion to the Camping Campus of Supergau Festival in the outskirts of Salzburg. The weeklong event was a meeting space for young artists doing experimental and interdisciplinary research on spatial as well as social spaces to interrogate the duality of countryside and city. There we managed to get out of our heads, listen to concerts and lectures, see the possibilities of applying theories to hands-on working methods, build and rebuild ideas and structures, to look closer to the soil as a material of remembrance, nature and historicity and we also trained our surviving skills in the cold and rain. The outdoor workshop series, Theater LaborX: Echoes of the Soil was designed here as well.
Coming back to the city, we were left with only one month to finish our project. After so many talks, readings, meetings and workshops, the final concept of Als Alle Ohre hören konnten was born: a participatory audio installation consisting of several letters written and spoken by our collaborators, resounding from the ground of Maxglan, creating a temporary memorial and a space for discussions, marking the actual territory of the forced labor camp and defending the dead of the past by carrying their memory into the present and future.
Alongside our mentors we spent days and nights and on the field, getting permissions to the territory in Maxglan, finding technical solutions for the installation, editing material to share, to inform, and to promote, organizing the opening of the installation, an open talk with invited guests and the vigil on midsummer night… but mostly to collect letters: to talk again one by one to our collaborators, and guide them through the process of addressing their ancestors. Devising this project wasn’t only technical but very emotional: sharing the findings of the research, the radical rethinking and rearranging of the past with care, breaking the invisibility of the events on the field and finally filling it up with fifty voices of strong and devoted people in the name of active remembrance. Standing there next to the Glan at the end of June, seeing hundreds of visitors leaning close to the ground to listen to forgotten histories of the soil and engage in dialogue was a huge reward of the work and of the second semester. Following the vigil and the open talk, further ideas came up from local organizations to make these stories permanently visible in different artistic, urban and social contexts. We hope and plan to elaborate the project by creating a framework that can be applied to the local context of several places, where hidden histories need to be addressed by living communities.
Covid-19 und Applied Theatre
Das letzte Sommersemester war noch nicht richtig in die Gänge gekommen, wir waren noch damit beschäftigt langsam aus der leichten Untätigkeit der Ferien zu kriechen als Mitte März 2020 der erste Lockdown in Österreich ausgerufen wurde. Nach ein paar Tagen Schockstarre, in denen wir als Studierende aber auch alle unsere Dozierenden, versuchten, mit der Situation zurecht zu kommen und diese abzuschätzen, versammelten wir uns vor dem Bildschirmen. Hatten wir früher Videocalls maximal für Kontakt mit unerreichbaren Freund*innen im Ausland verwendet, wurden sie nun Alltag. Wir müssen das Beste aus der Situation machen, das stand fest.
So begannen wir unseren Choreographieunterricht bei Mirjam Klebel mit der Aufgabe, Orte in unseren Wohnungen zu finden, an denen wir noch nicht waren. Es entstand eine Reihe wunderbarer Bilder von uns in unalltäglich verrenkten Posen. Auch gestalteten wir kleine Audiowalks durch unsere Wohnräume. Bei Christian Sattlecker bauten wir eigene Masken und begaben uns mit ihnen auf literarische Ausflüge. Susanne Litschauer saß uns auf dem Bildschirm gegenüber und arbeitete trotz manchmal krachender Mikrofone unermüdlich an unseren Stimmen. Unsere Recherchearbeit bei Ulrike Hatzer wurde in den digitalen Raum verlegt - wir befragten Kollektive, die wir ansonsten getroffen hätte nun einfach telefonisch nach ihren Arbeitsmethoden und präsentierten die Ergebnissen anschließend in kleinen Präsentationen. Der reguläre Unterricht spielte sich nach einiger Zeit ganz gut ein. (So gut sich eben praktischer Theaterunterricht online gestalten lässt). Nur das Sommerprojekt im Modul kollektives Arbeiten stellte uns vor eine große Herausforderung - waren unsere bisherigen, konzeptionellen Ansätze doch so gar nicht auf eine globale Pandemie zugeschnitten gewesen.
Mitte Mai kehrten wir unter strengen Covid-19 Auflagen zum Präsenzunterricht zurück - trotzdem saß die Pandemie der Stadt und uns nach wie vor in den Knochen und im Nacken. Nichtsdestotrotz erarbeiteten wir im Kollektiv und mit Unterstützung von Christine Umpfenbach und Christoph Lepschy das Stadtprojekt MEGA:STAGE Salzburg - ein Supermarkt der Geschichten. Diesen eröffneten wir Ende Juli 2020.
A Review of Our Last Semester
The first semester of our applied theatre master program was quite a journey. After a series of diverse and fun on- and offline entrance examinations we had only a few weeks to get prepared for our new lives in this controversial Austrian city, for the intensive learning and creating opportunities that our studies offer. On our welcome days we had the chance to get familiar with the teaching methods of our main lecturers in the frame of short workshops, and us, students also had to show interactive insights to our expertise.
It was indeed promising to see that on the top of the dramaturgical-, corporal-, choreographic-, vocal-, pedagogical-, theatrical approaches that our professors offer us, we’d be able to profit from the wide range of previous studies and experiences that gather in the spacious applied studios. (The nine students of the first and second year are coming from the fields of literature, theatre studies, psychology, music, physical theatre, costume and stage design, LGBTQ performance making, theatre in education and political sciences). The title of the first semester ‘Flying University - where to find and where to bring the stories that feed me’ invited us to learn about and experiment with the theatricality of spaces and places. We dived into a series of inspiring inputs that drained and recharged our batteries on a loop while many of us were still also busy with settling in our new homes, finishing up the registration and getting to know the place and the study-collegues.
Ulrike Hatzer’s weekly lessons and city walks pointed towards the topic of mapping – unmapping leaving us with collections of unconventional maps and counter-cartographies, concepts of different spaces by Elias and Lefebvre, as well as practical examples, ideas and concepts of interventions in public spaces. The warmup sessions of senior artist Judith Franke trained us to formulate open questions and interrogate our environment in theory and action. We had a lot of fun playing games and getting challenged by different exercises in the studio and later in our rooms.
Christian Sattlecker raised our consciousness with the physical approach of the Feldenkrais method and helped us to slow down and pay attention to the inner spaces which was utterly necessery for processing the huge theoretical input of other classes. The preparation with Andreas Steudtner for holding drama workshops of Theater Labor X started by reading about theater pedagogy and devising practices and planning small workshops for each other. On the edge of the lockdown we still experimented with voice exercises in Mirabellgarten hoping for real live sessions with participants. On our first block seminar with Dr. Margit Schild we learnt about improvisation as an interdisciplinary field and a spontaneous social action and we tried to create the framework of it by small public interventions tackling problems of the invisible design of the city. We covered the trashbins in questions and golden foil to drag attention to hiding issues of Salzburg, we planted advertisment trees for bring attention to the work of independent and socially engaged associations, we created nonbinary-gender toilets in the main building of Mozarteum and even opened an imaginary mensa for the students.
Dr. Babafemi Folorunso - our first native English speaking lecturer - challenged our minds with the fundamental notions and main authors of performance theory and we had heated discussions about semiotics, reception theory, applied theatre, phenomenology, subjectivity, postcolonial- and feminist theory. During the months of autumn a lot of physical and theoretical spaces opened up through the seminars and inputs of our curriculum while the actual places were closing one after the other due to the upcoming second lockdown. In these strange circumstances we began to start our own research leading to our first try-out projects and to apply theories in practice while following the ever-changing corona restrictions. From November on, only individual lessons and solo studio-work were allowed, all other activities moved to digital platforms however we stayed in the city for finishing our projects and help each other in the research, or just share screens and time during and after the online lectures.
Through the screens we investigated gender issues and body politics with Dr. Andrea Zimmermann and the directing students, using the complex texts of Judith Butler and bell hooks to unfold the concepts of subversion and appropriation of the norms. Christoph Lepschy’s dramaturgy seminar drifted us to the realm of utopias and heterotopias, connecting Foucault’s concept ‘Of Other Spaces’ to a site specific performance in Taipei and heterotopic places of Salzburg. The regular practical group work was challenged by the lockdown and as a consequence, got substituted by individual, online or theoretical alternatives. Miriam Klebel’s online dance classes invited us to develop movements in our rooms, to get lost in the city, to create, to record and to exchange our small site-specific choreographies which was highly needed after so much sitting, thinking and conceptualizing. The online Labor X sessions with participants made us research about exercises designed for digital spaces. The lack of previous offline interactions wasn’t ideal for building trust and commitment in a group so we kept looking forward to the hoped live meetings in the summer semester.
Hatzer and Judith Franke offered us a series of close reading sessions of Michel de Certeau’s Practice of Everyday Life. On the top of thought generating discourses, we planned itineraries in the city for each other that helped to observe and co-create spaces through the perspective of the text. The biggest loss of the pandemic was our excursion to the Fast Forward young director’s festival in Dresden. As compensation we watched the mixture of two online theatre festivals and saw innovative examples of contemporary and participatory projects and the usage of digital media. With our seminars during the day and the performances in the evening it was an exhausting week however we had fun in the student-lead ‘online bars’ which were the platform of post-show discussion and trial of facilitating applied entertainment.
Our first solo project tryouts ended up in an exciting joint installation in the studio in December. The space got cut into nine equal corners for every one of us, so we could work distanced and separated during the lockdown. By going there alone several times weekly we could witness the development of the other corners and interact with our collegues’ projects by rearranging or leaving hints on their territories. The studio slowly got filled up with the imprints of our topics, fragments of our research and documentations of our tryouts in the city spaces. The showcasing of these spaces made it possible for the viewers to not only look at finished artistic results but dive into the working process of each mind, hence getting a general overview of the skills and interests of the group. The feedback session with our colleagues and professors led to several new ideas and opened the way to our second theme, The Experts of Everyday Life.
After the showing of the first try-out everybody felt exhausted and happily relieved. Although we jumped into the next topic without a break and with a small overlap of the seminars, it was refreshing to start thinking-processes from another angle - from the point of view of the Expert. As preparation for our second tryouts the main terms of expert theatre were distributed among us so we researched and held presentations about witnesses, accomplices, co-researchers, community actors, participants, target groups and spectactors. Our professors also provided us with an almost unprocessable amount of online inputs that showed a wide range of working methods and artistic outcomes of expert theatre projects.
Sebastian Brünger brought a rich line of examples of Rimini Protokoll performances and others that staged nonprofessional actors, their stories or expertise. Tobias Rausch gave an overview of possible research formats and interview techniques. Miriam Tscholl summarized European perspectives of participatory techniques and the role of facilitators through her works at Dresden Bürgerbühne and by questioning the connection between art and social work through productions of Our Stage Festival. She even offered short personal mentoring talks about our expert tryouts in process.
Starting to work with our experts in January was again held back by the extended restrictions. Many of us dealt with it by choosing persons they already have known or formats not requiring physical presence -- both of which turned out to be just as much of a challenge as of an ease. However the privileged exception of art universities allowed us to have contact lessons again which made the experience of the past month more lively and intense. On our iconoclasm and applied theory course with Kai Ohrem the history of monuments and the reflection on public remembrance opened thoughtful brainstorms. Through a city-walk we investigated the nazi past of statues in public spaces and got quite insipred to plan artistic interventions around them and continue the discourse on our regular lectures of applied theory in the summer semester. Christoph Lepschy’s dramaturgy practice introduced several styles of historic and contemporary biographical texts. Inspired by it, many beautiful texts were written by us connecting real and imaginary life stories to objects. Frank Müller’s and prof. Ulrike Hatzer’s seminar on researched based work made us see and question the subaltern history and the life of infamous men in Woyzeck’s struggles.
Getting familiar with the Das Arts feedback method by Georg Weinand was a huge change in perspective on how to evaluate and contribute to each other's works in progress and how to work forward with the affirmation and constructive criticism on our visions and concepts. Working without the colleagues of the second year created a differently intimate atmosphere for opening up, taking the studio space and sharing material with each other. In the pedagogy-psychology workshop Judith Franke explored with us the special chances and challenges that come with a young or even very young audience. Dancing live in groups and individually with Mirjam Klebel brought us to a better understanding of our bodies and offered hands on strategies of generating movement and choreography with nonprofessionals. The huge dreamed dinner with all our experts after the showings of our tryouts still couldn’t take place in the study - instead we needed to watch some of our colleagues’ works through screens from different rooms. But somehow with our performances, participatory formats, videos and audio installations we still managed to gather in the studio space a lot of different knowledge and personalities from all around the world.
As a joint ending and beginning, the second year students are starting their master projects and we first years have already started to prepare for our collective documentary theatre project in the summer semester by investigating the terms of “groupwork”, “ensemble” and “document” and looking out for topics and problems laying on the streets, in the archives and around the communities of Salzburg.
Auf in die Semesterferien
Das erste Semester ist geschafft! Wie Ihr vermutlich wisst, vergeht die Zeit in einem intensiven Strudel an Aktivitäten sehr schnell, sodass ich jetzt erst dazu gekommen bin, diesen zweiten Blogeintrag zu verfassen. Es ging aufregend daher: Am 6. Dezember haben wir mit diversen Redebeiträgen, Performances, Lesungen, Open Classes und zwei Dancefloors unsere Räume eröffnet und einen grandiosen Einstieg gefeiert. Einige Freund*innen, Mitstudierende und Dozierende haben uns schon im Vorfeld unterstützt und gemeinsam mit weiteren Interessierten und Bekannten haben wir einen schönen Abend verbracht.
Eine Woche später fand das erste Zeigen unserer Eigenprojekte statt: Die Zuschauer*innen konnten Salzburg im Rahmen eines Audiowalks aus einer anderen Perspektive wahrnehmen oder auf einer der Probebühnen unseres Studiums in die Ängste eines Gürteltiers eintauchen. Im Theater im Kunstquartier wurde die vermeintliche Dichotomie von klassischer, nahezu „zarter“ Musik und der Grobheit des bäuerlichen Alltags aufgelöst und in einer Performance mit anschließender Installation die Möglichkeit geboten, sich mit dem Zusammenhang von Feminismus und Klimawandel auseinanderzusetzen.
Im Januar gingen wir nach einem produktiven Feedback noch einmal an die Projekte heran, arbeiteten sie technisch, dramaturgisch oder konzeptionell aus, sodass beim zweiten Zeigen von Armela und Leonie zum Beispiel weitere Performer*innen auf der Bühne standen als noch im Monat zuvor. Ich denke, wir Student*innen haben eine Menge in Bezug auf Arbeitsstrukturen, Anforderungen an sich selbst und von außen, Zeitmanagement und Kommunikation mit Mitwirkenden gelernt, aber auch an welche künstlerischen, professionellen und persönlichen Grenzen wir hin und wieder stoßen. Neben der Vorbereitung unserer Eigenprojekten fanden einige Seminare weiterhin regelmäßig wöchentlich statt: Wir gewöhnten uns zunehmend an die Anleitung des Theaterlabors X und bekamen somit eine gewisse Leichtigkeit darin.
In der „Angewandten Theorie“ gingen wir vertieft den Fragen nach, wer wann und wie spricht, in welchen Gesellschaftsformen wir leben und wie sich dies historisch entwickelt hat – Gilles Deleuze und Donna Haraway sind hier nur zwei Schlagworte. Christian Sattleckers Seminar zum Feldenkrais wurde abgelöst von Susanne Litschauer, die mit uns ein Stimmtraining basierend auf Kristin Linklater durchführte. Dies stellte ein hohes Bewusstsein für Körper und Stimmer her und half uns insbesondere beim Zeigen für unsere Bühnenpräsenz. Zusätzlich dazu nahmen wir an Blockseminaren teil. Im November hatten wir in einer Woche gleich zweimal Besuch von Gastdozent*innen: Zuerst lernten wir in einem Seminar mit dem Belgier Georg Weinand neue Feedbackformaten kennen. Im Seminar zeigten wir uns vorherige künstlerische Arbeiten voneinander und konnten uns zudem passendes Feedback auf die aktuellen Arbeitsprozesse geben.
Silke Merzhäuser und Julia Roesler von der werkgruppe2 aus Braunschweig brachten uns Formen des Dokumentartheaters und Interviewstrategien näher. In diesem Seminar sind Kurzperformances entstanden, die sich mit dem gemeinsam ausgewählten Überthema „Körper“ beschäftigten und am Ende des Wochenendes zunächst im internen Rahmen aufgeführt wurden. Die Arbeit mit Silke und Jule hat uns immens für unseren Studienprozess geholfen: So wurden die Performances beispielsweise beim ersten Zeigen eigenständig noch einmal aufgeführt oder aber Teile davon nutzbar für die Eigenprojekte. Zum Ende des Semesters hatten wir ein spannendes, theoretisches Seminar bei Sheri Avraham in Bezug auf politische Kunst. In diesem beleuchteten wir den Begriff der Utopie in der Kunst und lernten auf der anderen Seite, anhand des Textes „The Undercommons – Fugitive Planning & Black Study“ gegebene Strukturen an Universitäten zu hinterfragen und zu unterlaufen. Sheri hat uns zudem eine Kurzeinführung in die Grundlagen von Photoshop gegeben, welches uns beispielsweise für die Gestaltung von Flyern nützlich werden kann. Mit unserer Studiengangsleiterin Ulrike Hatzer nahmen wir uns das Theater von Augusto Boal vor. In theoretischer und praktischer Auseinandersetzung drangen wir innerhalb von zwei Tagen an den Kern eines persönlichen Konflikts vor und erkannten aufgrund der theatralen Methode eine mögliche Problemlösung.
Seit nun etwas mehr als einem Monat studiere ich „Applied Theatre – künstlerische Theaterpraxis und Gesellschaft“ an der Universität Mozarteum und habe in dieser kurzen Zeit schon an vielen tollen Seminaren und Workshops teilnehmen dürfen. In diesem neuen und ersten Jahrgang sind wir vier Student*innen, wodurch die Studienatmosphäre eine angenehme und intensive ist. Von Vorteil ist, dass wir durch diese Größe in einem sehr engen Austausch miteinander und auch mit unseren Dozent*innen stehen und aktiv den Studienrahmen mitgestalten können.
Noch vor dem Semester hatten wir die Möglichkeit mit den Schauspielstudent*innen aus dem ersten Jahrgang an dem Kurs „Neutrale Maske“ bei Christian Sattlecker teilzunehmen. Dadurch bekamen wir einen spannenden, praktischen Einblick in die Methode nach Jacques Lecoq und lernten zudem schnell die anderen Student*innen des Thomas Bernhard Instituts kennen. Bei Christian haben wir Applied-Theatre-Student*innen weiterhin wöchentlich einen Kurs, in dem wir uns praktisch mit Methoden aus dem Feldenkrais auseinandersetzen. Jeden Morgen beginnen mit einem Warm-Up bei Sheri Avraham, um unseren Körper wachzurütteln und Warm-Up-Ideen für eigene Anleitungsprozesse zu bekommen. Ein Highlight des Studiengangs stellt das Theaterlabor X dar, in dem wir unter der Begleitung des Dozenten Andreas Steudtner mit Theaterbegeisterten jeglichen Alters jeden Dienstagabend zusammenkommen und künstlerische Ideen ausprobieren.
Wir haben überdies Seminare zum „Devising Theatre“ bei Ulrike Hatzer, zur „Dramaturgischen Praxis“ bei Christoph Lepschy und zur „Angewandten Theorie“ bei Kai Ohrem. Diese Kurse nützen uns insbesondere für unsere Eigenprojekte, da wir uns auf verschiedenen Ebenen mit Anfangs- und Leitungsfragen auseinandersetzen. Momentan stecken wir in der Konzeptions- und Durchführungsphase für unsere Projekte, im Dezember wird es dann ein kleines Showing geben. Inhaltlich werden wir vier Student*innen sehr unterschiedliche Themen behandeln, die vom Queerfeminismus über die vermeintliche Stadt-Land-Dichotomie bis hin zum Klimawandel und zur Angst reichen. Wir führen die Projekte zwar einzeln durch und suchen uns die Performer*innen selbst, erhalten aber super Unterstützung durch unsere Studiengangsleiterin Ulrike Hatzer und haben durch die Infrastruktur des Mozarteums freien Zugang zu Technik, Material und Räumen, die wir für die Realisierung der Projekte benötigen.
Da unser Studiengang international ausgerichtet ist, werden Kurse von Gastdozent*innen angeboten, die in englischer Sprache stattfinden. Mit dem Theaterwissenschaftler Babafemi Folorunso von der University of Scotland haben wir uns in einem dreitägigen Blockseminar mit der Theateranthropologie und postkolonialen Theorien beschäftigt. Diese Theorien sind für die Entwicklung des gegenwärtigen Theaters essenziell, sodass es großartig war, mit diesem Seminar in das Studium einzusteigen. Vor zwei Wochen haben wir an einem Tanzworkshop bei Annika Tudeer teilgenommen. Annika ist Mitglied in dem finnischen Performancekollektiv Oblivia und hat diesen Workshop im Rahmen des tanz_hous festivals in der ARGEkultur angeboten. Wir haben die „Do-What-You-Saw“-Methode kennengelernt, die das Kollektiv entwickelt hat.
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