With the appointment of Matthias Lilienthal as artistic director and manager of Hebbel–Theater GmbH in September 2003, the Hebbel-Theater became HAU1, one of the three venues that make up the HAU Hebbel am Ufer theatre group. In his essay ‘The Enforcement of Context and the State of Inter-dependence: Dense Milieu and Live Feuilleton – a Promo Text’, Diedrich Diedrichsen analyses this “re-foundation”:
“With the forming of the HAU Hebbel am Ufer it was the first time an institution responded to this complex situation; not only in terms of content, but primarily at an institutional level. As a multi-part chain of three event spaces suitable for very different forms of performing arts in the broadest sense, the HAU articulates that everything happening in these spaces belongs together, without there having to be an obvious reason: it developed a form.” (www.hebbel-am-ufer.de)
This inter-dependence of discursive and artistic formats had ramifications for which Diedrichsen has a particular fondness:
“…of course, not everything that happens at the HAU is to do with everything and if I were to or could meet my cultural scene every evening I went there I would have left the city a long time ago. Far more often I’m there alone and wondering in the foyer of HAU2, lost in contemplation of the passing U1 train, why such and such a person hasn’t come to an event.”
This question also applies to audiences every August at Tanz im August. The festival, which until 2012 was a collaboration with TanzWerkstatt Berlin (based at Podewil), has been run entirely by HAU Hebbel am Ufer since Annemarie Vanackere took over the reins. Her energy and commitment has secured increased funding for the festival, and who would want to doubt that today? The festival has established itself as an integral feature of the Berlin cultural calendar, and just as it has since 1988, Hebbel-Theater plays a vital role as a festival venue. Every August, the dancers, choreographers and audiences come from right across the world to a theatre that was originally built neither for discussions nor for experiments in theatre or dance. Many people are often surprised when they first visit HAU1. They arrive to the sight of an imposing stone castle, before entering to take their seat in the mahogany-panelled Jugendstil auditorium, or, sometimes, to peer out into the auditorium from the stage itself.