Kunstfest Weimar Reveals its 32nd Edition Programme

Kunstfest Weimar runs from 25 August to 11 September 2021.

By: Jul. 02, 2021
Kunstfest Weimar Reveals its 32nd Edition Programme

Kunstfest Weimar, one of Germany's leading multi-artform festivals in the city of Goethe, Schiller and Bauhaus, reflects on the state of our society and our democracy in 2021. Negotiating the key societal and political issues after the pandemic, both on stage and through discussions, the festival will look at where our growth orientated society is headed, especially in light of climate change and the destruction of natural resources, but also at other issues heightened through the pandemic such as migration, right-wing extremism, fake news and the upcoming elections.

It is hoped that at the time of the Festival in August, audiences and artists may be able to travel to Germany from across mainland Europe.


The major co-commission by Kunstfest Weimar and Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar at the heart of this year's programme is a new work by composer Stewart Copeland (founder and drummer of The Police) and librettist Jonathan Moore who bring their latest opera Electric Saint to Kunstfest Weimar in September 2021. The world premiere performance will take place on September 5, 2021 at Kunstfest Weimar. The opera tells the dramatic story of Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison and the race for electricity.

Schorsch Kamerun, famous as the lead singer of Die Goldenen Zitronen, the political punk back from Hamburg, and more recently author and director, brings Which country belongs to whom? Which interrogates the rise of populism, false affiliations and a utopian perspective through words and music. Kamerun offers the lens of pop culture and classical music, collaborating with performers, singers and sound professionals to reflect the elections in Thuringia and the German federal parliament.

The final part of the music theatre trilogy by Novoflot, directed by Sven Holm, Die Oper #3, premieres at Kunstfest Weimar, focussing on the out-takes. How did countless arias, choruses and recitatives get cut, where are these archives? 350 years after the death of Monteverdi his outtakes resurface in a performance at an unexpected location, the Wimaria stadium where musical athletes compete.

Other music includes the return of a world-renowned orchestra to Kunstfest Weimar for the first time since Nike Wagner left. The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO)and Weimar's own world famous baritone Matthias Goerne gather under the baton of Manfred Honeck, one of the most sought after conductors in the world for the Buchenwald Memorial Concert.


Wen Hui's new documentary dance work I am 60 focuses on the body and ageing. Based on research in France and China, the famous choreographer has questioned her own family history, conducted a series of interviews with young women about their struggle for empowerment in modern Chinese society and pays tribute to the roots of feminism in the Chinese cinema of the thirties. This multi-media documentary puts her own body into context with historical and contemporary film and sound clips in dialogue with the audience. Wen Hui is one of this year's winners of the Goethe Institute's prestigious Goethe Medal.

Lebanese choreographer Ali Chahrour returns after sold-out performances in 2019 to conclude his intimate Love Trilogy with the European premiere of The Love Behind My Eyes, which centres around the Persian-Arabic tradition of the "Ghazal", a lyrical form of poetry from pre-Islamic times. The originally erotic subject matter became intertwined with religious overtones which resulted in a heady mix of secular eroticism and mystical devotion which Ali Chahrour elegantly addresses.

Chahrour's second European premiere at Weimar, Told by my Mother, explores themes of love and responsibility in two families who have been scarred by war and violence. Chahrour's reference is the search of his aunt whose son remained missing in the Syrian war. Together with his ensemble of dancers and musicians, Chahrour translates the virtual physicality of the mothers' words into visually evocative choreography, inspired by the movement repertoire of traditional Shiite rituals of northern Lebanon.


Iranian stage director and screenwriter Amir Reza Koohestani will debut his stage adaptation of Anna Seghers's novel Transit - an insightful and compassionately told exploration of displacement and exile, in a coproduction with the famous Thalia Theater of Hamburg and performed by its commanding ensemble.

Kunstfest Weimar marks the anniversary of the identification of the three core members of the NSU (National Socialist Underground) far-right terrorist group in 2011 with a stage re-enactment of the subsequent trial, with the focus on the victims and the many holes in the investigation. Even today, the background to the NSU plot remains unclear: many questions surrounding right-wing networks, the involvement of official bodies and the complicity of state structures are yet to be answered satisfactorily. In 17 chapters over 17 days the re-enactment explores the various problematic areas from the trial to open up new perspectives and answer unresolved questions. Roles are taken on by members of the public, trial participants and public figures. Director Nuran David Çalış is an expert in documentary theatre formats with a political focus. His productions have included Die Lücke - Ein Stück Keupstraße (The Gap - A Piece of Keupstraße) at Schauspiel Köln, and most recently NSU 2.0 at Schauspiel Frankfurt.

In Und Alle Tiere Rufen, a world premiere from Thomas Köck the extinct species of the world speak out. In a polyphonic swansong to fauna and humanity, a requiem manifesto, the animals lament their extinction and recall their memories "of futures that are doomed to never exist - memories of lives that will never have been lived". Directed by Marie Bues, who has already premiered many works written by Thomas Köck, the premiere takes the form of a live radio play in collaboration with Anouschka Trocker. Starring Astrid Meyerfeldt, who was awarded the German theatre prize DER FAUST in 2020 for best female actor.

Visual Art

Faust Sonnengesang is a continuation of the cinematic exploration into the worlds between image and language by author Werner Fritsch, who has received many awards for his work. The world premiere of this work is an installation which is a film and audio poem based on the Faust myth. Stylistically linked through the handaxe style, in which the camera spans 50,000 years of pictorial history while being wielded like a handaxe (or 'Faustkeil' in German), the image in the film unfurls into painting and sculpture.

Kunstfest Weimar runs from 25 August to 11 September 2021.

Learn more at www.kunstfest-weimar.de.Kunstfest Weimar Reveals its 32nd Edition Programme


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