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BÜCHNER international – the title says it all! Stadttheater Giessen throws a curious glance at repertoires from throughout the world and invites audiences to the Büchner international theatre festival.

Renowned theatre troupes, such as South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company and Ukraine’s Svoboda Zholdak Theatre, present a wide array of contemporary takes on the works of the Hessian dramatist, scholar and revolutionary.

Get ready for a kaleidoscope of international theatre!

Advance ticket sales begin on 01.04.2013


When we initially put our festival feelers out into the world a year and a half ago, we could sense that we were about to encounter quite a few Woyzeck revenants. But even we were surprised to find that nearly three quarters of the productions we viewed were dedicated to the famous soldier.

‘Woyzeck is still busy shaving his captain, eating his prescribed peas, tormenting his Marie with the dullness of his love, his population turned into a state.’ It is plain to see that the world is not nearly finished with this fragment – which means that the illustrious speech Heiner Müller delivered upon receiving the Büchner Prize in Darmstadt in 1985 continues to be highly relevant today: ‘A text that has been abused by theatres time and time again, which happened to a twenty-three-year-old whose eyelids were cut away at birth by the fates, who was blasted by fever into orthography, a structure like something that originates during fortune-telling when one trembles in apprehension of a glimpse into the future, blocking the entrance into paradise like some sleepless angel, in which the innocence of writing plays found its home.’

Today, nearly thirty years after these words were spoken, the diagnosis still holds true: Woyzeck the play will continue to undergo theatrical martyrdom everywhere where the world is not yet the way it should be, just as Woyzeck the man will continue to be blighted and disgraced, seemingly without end, until he ultimately unloads all that he has endured onto his Marie in a last fatal outburst. However, having to bear this cross like an allegorical Christ figure is apparently not detrimental to this restlessly persistent text. And it will continue to do so until redemption comes in the form of the promised saviour, a potentially ambivalent wonder of the world (for the north/west):

‘WOYZECK is an open wound. Woyzeck lives where the dog is buried, the dog’s name is Woyzeck. We are all waiting for his resurrection with dread and/or hope that the dog will return as a wolf. The wolf will come from the south.’ (Müller) On our search for Büchner’s influence in the here and now, we feel an obligation to provide due space for this international Woyzeck during the festival, so that we may learn to look more closely at as well as beyond ourselves through his eternally feverish and delusional eyes.

Steffen Lars Popp (Festival dramaturg)