The EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL offers young theatre ensembles from all over the world an opportunity to present their theatre forms on Bremen's stages. We are looking for new means of expression and movement. Our primary focus is on the experimental and process-oriented aspects of each individual production. We are looking for the contents and forms of our time. Productions that develop strategies against social and ethnic ostracism and translate the existential questions posed by young people into formal artistic language are of particular interest in this framework. Our concern is with the accumulated force of young experimental theatre. We create a forum for playful dialogue about contents, forms of expression and stage tendencies. We want to encourage theatre as a space for encounter and discourse. Vastly different nationalities, characters and stories come together – life designs that have one thing in common: they are a product of our age, and they use theatre as a platform for expression and discourse. EXPLOSIVE!
The working title of the fourteenth edition of the EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL is:
We are interested in the individual life situations of young people and the political and social circumstances in the countries our guest productions come from. Together we want to embark on world designs in order to transcend them, gain new perspectives on them and question them to the core. What ways do young people find of dealing with the realities of war, destruction and poverty? How do people grow up in the so-called less-developed and least-developed countries? What does it mean to live in a country stricken with financial crisis and mismanagement? How does it feel for young people when a rating agency downgrades the value of their native country? When education and vocational training are no longer guaranteed, when the unemployment rate of people under 30 passes the 50% level?
The festival is intended as a place where life situations can be questioned. The theatre can create spaces as reflections of reality but also utopian counter-designs. Theatre of the present probes categorical boundaries and cultural traditions. It turns process and individual visions into driving forces. The EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL's productions are not surrogates for their cultures. They don't represent the traditions and conflicts of their native countries, no matter how much they explore those aspects. They represent solely their own thoughts, viewpoints, stories and histories. As a result, the audience has the opportunity to experience these individual world designs in their beauty, circuitousness and imperfection with all immediacy – complete with the disconcerting and disturbing elements. The EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL seeks to explore the changeability of the present and give the ideas and dreams of other world designs a stage. Experiments and processes of theatre are departure from and transcendence of viewpoints, dated theatre traditions and limitations on communication.
Since its first realization in 1994, the EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL has become a prominent national and international festival of the performing arts in Germany. Its form is unique: with regard to its blend of ensembles, its spectrum from lay groups to professionals, and its diversity of musicians and performers, actors and dancers, directors and a public of all ages, it knows no equal in the German-speaking regions. The EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL stands for coming together on an equal footing, and against the blanket dictates of pigeonholes – for the equivocalness and force of theatre in all its forms. Ensembles from Argentina, Palestine, Belgium, Italy, Spain, France, Poland, Russia, the Netherlands, the U.S., Switzerland, South Africa, Croatia and Germany have performed in Bremen within this framework. It has offered a stage to countless artists who have meanwhile made names for themselves, and it has contributed decisively to providing young theatre from Europe and the world a platform and making it accessible to a broad public. Long-lived collaborations and contacts have been established, and the EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL has never stopped growing and developing! Like theatre itself, the festival is a work in progress.
The EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL ensembles come from the Near and Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Africa and Europe. They work collectively, under professional stage direction, with choreographers and musicians, or they consist of young people who look for unique and innovative forms of theatre on their own. A number of the directors are well known; in other cases EXPLOSIVE! offers the ensemble its first opportunity to perform in Europe. A great diversity of nationalities, personalities and backgrounds come together here, but they have two things in common: the time in which we live and the use of the theatre as a platform for expression and discourse.
The forms of expression used in present-day theatre are in a constant state of change. Every ensemble encounters its concerns, material and form anew. It makes proposals, creates occasions and develops designs of the worlds in which we want to, have to or are allowed to live, or which we want to contradict. The energy lies in the equivocalness, in the searches undertaken by each individual in his or her art, in his or her life. In order to develop world designs further, we need the abstract art of theatre – the uncomfortable, the demanding, the immediate, the evasive, the poetic elements of theatre that invite us and permit us to experience something different. The change of perspective in the encounter with these designs takes place by way of the intellect – but also by way of images, atmosphere, sound and movement. The festival makes the direct, instantaneous encounter with the designs created by the guest ensembles and artists possible, and confronts us with their individual visions. The EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL is intended as an invitation to change viewpoints; together we want to embark on world designs in order to transcend them, gain new perspectives on them and question them to the core.
The EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL is a momentary take. On the national and international level it espouses the free development of the performing arts and the diversity of forms of expression.
The EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL banks on the process aspect of each production and on the present as the language that connects the cultures. Theatre of the present probes categorical boundaries and cultural traditions. It turns process and individual visions into driving forces. The EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL productions are not surrogates for their cultures. They don't represent the traditions and conflicts of their native countries, no matter how much they explore those aspects. They represent solely their own thoughts, viewpoints, stories and histories. The EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL productions frequent the intersections between theatre, dance, music, the visual arts and performance. They share the elementary search for new themes, means of expression and forms of work - in nuce, for a language of the present.
As always, the heart of the festival beats in the Schlachthof Kesselhalle, it is from there that the blood is pumped into its veins. Various stages as well as Bremen's streets and squares will serve as settings, arenas and playgrounds.
In view of the positive experiences of last year's festival, we hope that the Alsomirschmeckts!Theater will once again install the EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL's breathing machine in the KellerKlub. This space will go hand in hand with an increased focus on small theatre productions, while also serving as a gathering place, headquarters, dance floor and conversation forum.
In view of our successful past partnerships with the Universität Bremen's Centre of Performance Studies and the Funkenschlag Festival, we'd like to join forces with students of the Universität Bremen, the Universität Hildesheim and the Universität Braunschweig to investigate questions arising from the following premise: European and global theatre of the present works under a vast range of different conditions. What forms does theatre find in the context of its culture of origin? How do we react? What questions are posed onstage? What course do theatrical processes take to get there? How do they differ? And what can we learn from one another? We aim to take stances and then, in turn, put those stances up for further discussion.
An innovation introduced by last year's festival proved to be an enrichment: the invitation to send delegates. The EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL offers every ensemble which has officially applied but not been invited to participate the opportunity to send one to two delegates. The festival organizes room and board.
In 2013, we will develop and expand this principle.
Unfinished productions can also apply to the festival. The production can be further developed or carried to completion here in Bremen – EXPLOSIVE! supports the productions with working space and, where possible, financial aid. With our TRYOUTS programme, we want to give you the opportunity to draw inspiration from the other festival events and the city of Bremen. On the KellerKlub stage, in the Kesselhalle, in the theaterwerkstatt, in the Arena or wherever, show us what isn't finished yet! Process is this festival's core focus, and TRYOUTS is another way of lending expression to that principle.
The festival targets above all young people of Bremen, school pupils, university students, vocational trainees, and everyone else who already loves theatre or would like to get to love it. With the aid of EXPLOSIVE! these persons are to be involved in new theatre contexts. The resulting experience can then find expression in theatre work taking place in the region.
Please send us a maximum two-page description of your project, a tech rider, your budget requirements and the vitae of the persons involved, as well as video/online material on the production and scene shots in digital and printable form. Please send us complete material.
The application deadline is 15 March 2013.
All applications must be submitted in digital form by e-mail. Where necessary, additional material can be sent by regular mail. Please do not send originals or otherwise valuable documents – it will not be possible for us to return the material submitted.
The selections will be made by our jury and every ensemble will be informed of the decision by mid April.
We would very much like for the artists of the participating productions stay in Bremen for the entire festival. EXPLOSIVE! will cover the travel costs as well as the costs of room and board during the festival. What is more, every ensemble which has officially applied but not been invited to participate can send one to two delegates to attend the festival. We will organize room and board for those persons.
We would appreciate your passing this information on to other interested ensembles and artists. We look forward to receiving your applications!
Head of EXPLOSIVE! FESTIVAL