Festival Theater der Welt
Düsseldorf 2021

The International Theatre Institute (ITI) Germany and Theater der Welt

The ITI’s public annual congress, already prepared for 2020 and postponed due to the pandemic, will take place this year as part of Theater der Welt on Saturday, 19 June 2021 as a simultaneous live stream.

Conceived and curated by the director and writer Nora Amin, an artistic installation and discussion with international guests will address the following issues: How can the dynamics of the new normal support the changes required in where power within the performing arts lies? How can trans- national co-operations in a post-colonial era be effective in removing hierarchies and overcoming borders? How can equality, participation and communality be created in times of isolation?

The German ITI Centre Prize will also be awarded to the Dutch director Jetse Batelaan.

Theater der Welt – How it all started

In Hamburg in 1979, when the international festival Theater der Nationen was presented in Germany for the first time, the Artistic Director of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus and then President of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), Ivan Nagel, had the idea of establishing an international festival of this kind in Germany. The resultant festival Theater der Welt, which was first held in Cologne in 1981, immediately became a project of the German ITI Centre.

Four editions of what was then an entirely new kind of festival were shaped by the artistic vision of the dramaturg, critic and journalist Renate Klett. She has followed the Theater der Welt festival from the very beginning and on through all its subsequent incarnations and is a leading expert on the international theatre scene.

In conversation with the Artistic Director Stefan Schmidtke, Renate Klett offers her personal and professional impressions of her travels around the world and her work as a programmer. Both entertaining and informative at the same time, she looks back on the almost forty year history of this unique world festival.

The International Theatre Institute (ITI) at Theater der Welt

A variety of projects will be organised by the International Theatre Institute as part of Theater der Welt 2021. In addition to the Atelier Düsseldorf / Theater der Welt – the academy of the ITI and of the Festival Academy (an initiative of the European Festivals Association), and the ITI’s annual congress, the Weltraum is of particular interest: a digital installation, open to all visitors as a place to spend time, meet people and exchange ideas.


— Space for dialogue, satellite, digital archive
The ITI invites you to visit the Weltraum – the ITI’s presence during the festival: digital and analog, in Düsseldorf, in Berlin and on the web. 2021 the International Theatre Institute (ITI) Germany will focus on the 40-year history of its festival Theater der Welt that was first held in 1981 in Hamburg and will present its digital Archive Theater der Welt for the first time online. It will also be possible for visitors to experience the Theater der Welt Archive live in an installative exhibition at the International Theatre Institute in Berlin running from the beginning of the festival to the end of the year 2021. The digital archive currently being assembled will for the first time provide an overview of each edition of the Theater der Welt festival, their productions and performances, and the people, cities, venues and events that were part of the festival part. The interactive exhibition will thus serve as an introduction for those who are new to the festival, while also allowing those who have followed the festival for many years to discover new aspects of the biographies of participating artists due to cross referencing the data provided.


The prize of the International Theatre Institute is awarded to recognise and support international work by emerging artists. Its 2021 winner is the director Jetse Batelaan. Artistic Director of Theater Artemis in ’s-Hertogenbosch since 2013, Batelaan is now one of the most influential figures among a new generation of European theatremakers. His productions impress with their visual strength, exuberant imagination and absurd humour.

The presentation of the prize by ITI President Joachim Lux will take place following the performance of The Story of the Story. The laudation will be given by Anja Dirks, a member of the Leading Team for Theatre and Dramaturg at Theater Basel.

Atelier Düsseldorf / Atelier for Young Festival Managers

The International Theatre Institute (ITI) Germany and The Festival Academy (an initiative of the European Festivals Association) will bring together 35 emerging arts and festival managers from all over the world to exchange with their peers and experienced festival directors, artists, cultural activists and experts from different fields of society, politics and technology at the 17th Atelier for Young Festival Managers.

Theater der Welt 2021 will offer an inspiring context for critical reflection about the role of festivals in today’s changing world. Issues of sustainability, climate change and the influence of new technologies can no longer be disregarded when putting on a festival, and have lost none of their urgency in pandemic times. These questions, together with those of the social and political function of festivals, their audiences and communities call for a reconsideration of curatorial practices.

The Atelier Düsseldorf / Theater der Welt is part of the project Act for Global Change: A Global Conversation from the Arts to the World (ACT). ACT is a project supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
With thanks to Theatermuseum for their support.