Digital Conference

How to Be Together? Conversations on International Exchange and Collaboration in the Performing Arts

Jointly organised by the Zürcher Theater Spektakel and Tanz im August / HAU Hebbel am Ufer

Livestream on our homepage
Active Participation in Webinar on Zoom after previous registration:
14:00 | Distance & Intimacy
15:30 | Performance, Publics, and the Pandemic

In answer to the challenging situation that is preventing people from meeting physically right around the world, we have planned a series of discussions about the future of interchange and international collaboration in the performing arts. This three-day programme aims to inspire a trans-continental dialogue between artists, art organisers and cultural politicians, and to link those who are active in different geographical, cultural, political and professional areas. We would like to give space in several forums to both old and new questions that are being intensified by the current global crisis, such as structural conditions and the dependency of artistic production on international mobility and co-production. This exchange of specialist knowledge, experience and coping strategies at a time of lockdown, physical distancing and an imperative of social rethinking is being organised and presented jointly with the Zürcher Theater Spektakel and Tanz im August.    

PROGRAMME | Thursday 27.8.2020

14:00 | Welcome
Virve Sutinen (Artistic Director Tanz im August), Matthias von Hartz (Artistic Director Theater Spektakel)

14:15–15:00 | Distance & Intimacy
The Performing Arts are a field of experimentation with, through and around the body. Experiences of physical co-presence, sensuality, intimacy and human connection are created and researched through live performance. The necessity of physical distancing poses a major challenge to the practices of most performing artists. In order to continue building connections between performers and audiences, producing altered modes of paying attention to one another, and shifting perceptions of the body, performing artists have started experimenting with different aesthetics, presentation formats and media over the past few months. In this conversation, theatre maker Samara Hersch and choreographer Faye Driscoll will share their experiences with the production of intimacy through listening-based performance setups as well as insights and new perspectives that they have gained throughout the process of developing and presenting their work for audiences online and at home. With “Guided Choreography for the Living and the Dead”, Faye Driscoll has created a series of audio works that invite the listeners to re-conceive their body and its limits. Samara Hersch has developed an at-home version of her theatre project “Body of Knowledge" with teenagers during lockdown. While discussing artistic interests in closeness and absence, body and voice, they will also reflect on the possibilities and limitations of performing with a distance and through technological extensions.

Host Kyoko Iwaki (performing arts researcher, Tokyo)
Speaker Samara Hersch (theatre maker, Melbourne), Faye Driscoll (choreographer, New York)

15:30–17:00 | Performance, Publics, and the Pandemic
Since the beginning of physical distancing, shutdowns, and the added restrictions of international mobility performing arts venues, producers and curators around the world have been developing strategies to adapt their artistic programmes to the new pandemic-related circumstances and to create alternative ways of bringing performers and audiences together. Some of them had to re-invent their modes of operation and communication within months, some partly built on the experience of previous or ongoing crises. This conversation will revolve around the challenges and potentials of organising festivals and other live art programmes in times of pandemic: how to connect performing artists, communities, and publics in alternative and effective ways, both locally and trans-locally. Drawing on recent experiences with artistic programme making in South Africa, Iran and Hong Kong, the invited speakers will discuss different approaches to the organisation and presentation of performance events and new perspectives for how to enable international exchange and collaboration in the Performing Arts during periods of crisis and beyond.

Host Dagmar Walser (cultural journalist, Basel)
Speakers Rucera Seethal (Artistic Director National Arts Festival, Makhanda), Kee Hong Low (Hong Kong International Black Box Festival, Hong Kong) and Sepehr Sharifzadeh (Co-founder Re-connect Online Performance Festival, Artistic Director NH Theater Agency, Tehran)

  • Cast


    Ana Letunić, Maria Rößler

  • Credits

    A joint event of Zürcher Theater Spektakel and Tanz im August / HAU Hebbel am Ufer. Supported by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia in cooperation with the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

Past dates

Thu 27.8.

from 14:00 to 17:00Online