Press Release: International Festival ‘Theater der Welt Düsseldorf 2020’

Planned postponement of the festival until June 2021

The international festival ‘Theater der Welt’ will not take place as planned from 14th to 31st May 2020 and instead will be postponed until June 2021. This decision has been taken by the festival’s funding bodies (the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and its State Capital Düsseldorf in association with the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media) together with the presenters of the festival (International Theatre Institute/ITI and Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus) in light of current developments caused by coronavirus.

Continuing the planning and delivery of the comprehensive international programme with around 400 artists representing all the continents is simply no longer possible given the current restrictions on international travel and visas. International co-productions and co-operations are an essential feature of the festival. Many of the projects that have already been begun are reliant on groups of artists being able to meet and work together in a variety of international locations. Due to the present bans on travel into and out of the country, these artistic co-operations must now be suspended for a period of time. In its decision to postpone until June 2021, the festival is following the measures currently being taken by Federal, State and local governments for the overall protection of all their citizens and their visitors from around the world.

Artistic Director Stefan Schmidtke said: “We have a duty to our international artists and are glad to be able to offer all the participants this view forward. Now we are approaching a 2021 festival with optimism.”

ITI President Joachim Lux added: “The ITI regrets the unavoidable cancellation of Theater der Welt in Düsseldorf. At the same time I am delighted that the festival is merely delayed and not called off entirely. Right now we need strong signals of an optimistic future of openness and solidarity.”

‘Theater der Welt’ is a festival of the International Theatre Institute (ITI). This current edition is presented by the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus. It is Germany’s leading international theatre festival and is held every three years on a rotating basis between different German cities.

If you have any questions please contact Stefan Schmidtke (Artistic Director, e-mail: or Wilfried Schulz (Festival Director and General Director of the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, tel. Communications Department 0211 8523 145, e-mail: