What is the academy?
The ACADEMY FOR THEATER AND DIGITALITY is a model project of the Theater Dortmund for digital innovation, artistic research, technical education and training. Here, fellows together with the Academy’s staff investigate the possibilities of digital technologie for the performing arts: we explore innovative technologies, changing work structures, new narrative forms and discuss what it means to be an artist today at the interface between the performing arts and the latest technologies.
We’d like to research firstly how digital technologies can be applied meaningfully and sensually for the performing arts; secondly how the latter are transformed by, for example, sensors, robotics and actuators, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence etc.; and thirdly how digital technologies can expand the various areas of work in front of, on and behind the stage.
The ACADEMY FOR THEATER AND DIGITALITY sees itself as a place of innovation, inspiration, discourse, exchange, a place with the courage to try something new and also to fail, for reflection, network building, impulse giving and communication – a place of art!
The AKADEMIE FÜR THEATER UND DIGITALITY is supported by the Federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Federal Cultural Foundation and the Wilo-Foundation and receives funding from the European Fund for Regional Development (ERDF / EFRE).
The world as it presents itself to us has become more complex. The number of loose information transmitters reaching into our areas of perception has increased explosively. Whether technology, science or politics: the interrelationships have become more complex and contradictory. The way in which the public sphere is organized, political discourses are conducted, and how we work and live together has changed dramatically over the past twenty years. The digitalization of all areas of life has played a not to be underestimated part in all this. The tools it creates are used by people today as a matter of course. And we are now faced with the epochal task of investigating the numerous new connections between the digital and analog worlds, i. e. digitality: phenomenologically, sociologically, philosophically, technically and – as a core discipline of the Academy – artistically.
How does the theatre react to these changes? With which narrative patterns, experimental set-ups and technological inventions? What know-how do theatre professionals need now? What tools can and must the theatres themselves develop? For which professional fields of the performing arts do we, as technology-oriented artists, have to offer new opportunities for further education? Which are the upcoming new possibilities of narration, catalysed by new technologies? Which social debates can be taken up or even initiated in theatres through the use of digital technologies? What are the issues of post-digital modern age? How can technology – as a tool of production and object of observation – be sensually experienced and discussed in an open artistic space?
Financed by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes, the Academy will award a total of 54 scholarships for five months each in the years 2019 – 2022, usually for the months September to January and February to June.
The call for applications is aimed at artists, technicians and post-graduate fellows who have a keen interest in researching artistic-technical relations within digital narratives in theatre spaces, as well as putting those into practice. We are hoping for applicants who want to research and work with digital methods (e.g. Motion Capturing, Coding, XR, VR, AR, Robotics, Computer Sciences, Sound, Film, Interaction Design…).
The fellowships are destined to provide theatre artists and technicians with the option to begin their planned research projects, to realize their drafts and to continue or finalize their ongoing projects.
The selection of fellowships for the period February to June 2021 has been completed. The final decision of fellowships for the research period September 2021 to January 2022 will take place shortly. Currently there are no fellowships announced.
- Laura Åkerlund (CEO and Artistic Director of Helsingin Koominen Ooppera, Finnland)
- Dinesh Chenchanna (ZDF Mainz)
- Jasmin Grimm (Rosy DX, program developer, creative producer)
- Tina Lorenz (Staatstheater Augsburg)
- Prof. Sabine Sachweh (University of Applied Science Dortmund, Idial)
- Amy Stebbins (Alumni, writer, director)
- Hubert Eckart (DTHG)
- Prof. Friedrich Kirschner (HfS Berlin)
- Marcus Lobbes (Director of Academy)
- Lucas Pless (Coding, Engineering)
- Mario Simon (Media Department)
- Kay Voges (Founding Director)
Since this year, the duo has been working on infrastructure and logistics, the increasing digitalization and possible narratives that can occur in and around logistic hall complexes. In addition to changing working environments in which people move, they are researching in the context of new developments in applicable innovations for human-machine interaction.
Lena Biresch is an author, director, curator, dramaturg and game developer. After her studies in Hamburg and Naples, she recently completed a second training as VR game programmer at the SAE Institute Hamburg (for Unity).
Her research project “HoloPy³”, a cooperative game in and with virtuality, researches the expansion of theater with digital media, explores the applicability of holograms and virtual reality. In this respect, “HoloPy³” reflects on the added value of three-dimensional and interactive narrative forms in terms of content and art – especially in view of the non-existent fourth wall in these media. “HoloPy³” brings theater, holograms and virtual reality together in a new way: First of all, theater as a place of embodied performance, ritual performance practice and social exchange; then holograms as a collectively perceivable augmented (extended) reality; and finally virtual reality as an experience that is only realized in the conscious perception of the individual. Specifically, Lena Biresch will explore how real people can be realized live as holograms in a virtual environment.
Lukas Rehm studied media art at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe, previously theater studies and art history at the LMU in Munich. He held scholarships of various institutions (Spatial Sound Institute, Budapest and others) and has realized numerous installations, compositions and theater performances.
His project “Sensory Airplanes” is a further development and at the same time transformation of comprehensive compositional, documentary and film material from the music theater production “Castor&&Pollux” into a theatrical installation with interactive elements. “Sensory Airplanes” combines the baroque opera “Castor et Pollux” by Jean-Philippe Rameau with a digital new composition developed by Lukas Rehm for an interactive spatial sound system (4DSound).
Marco Donnarumma is an artist, performer and scholar weaving together contemporary performance, new media art and computer music since the early 2000s. He manipulates bodies, creates choreographies, engineers technology and composes sounds, thus combining disciplines and media into an oneiric, sensual, uncompromising aesthetics. He is internationally acknowledged for solo performances, stage productions and installations where the body becomes a morphing language to speak critically of ritual, power and technology.
Touring regularly for the past fifteen years across major and independent theaters, concert halls, festivals and museums worldwide, his repertoire received numerous acknowledgements, most recently: Digital Award at Romaeuropa Festival 2018 for „Eingeweide“; two awards at the Bains Numériques Biennial 2018, as well as the Award of Distinction (2nd prize) in Sound Art at Prix Ars Electronica 2017 for „Corpus Nil“; Artist of the Science Year 2018 by the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education for „Amygdala“.
Donnarumma holds a Ph.D. in performing arts, computing and body theory from Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2019, he co-founded the artists group Fronte Vacuo with Margherita Pevere and Andrea Familari.
Andrea Familari has worked with theater, music, contemporary art, especially in the live act audio/visual scene, Familari is a multimedia artist whose research derives from the investigation on generative processes, analysed through the lens of the noise and expressed via different media: video screenings, interactive installations, prints.
Experimenting since 2011, he establishes his practice within the international underground media and art scenes. His repertoire tours regularly from theaters to concert halls, festivals and museums, and has been presented in 23 countries worldwide.
Since 2011 he runs FAXstudio, a multidisciplinary studio curating audio-visual performances, light design, scenography, videoclip production. In 2017 he founded psst.one, a video-research channel focused on weekly interviews of artists whose practices relate to the audio/visual field.
In 2019, he co-founded Fronte Vacuo, an artistic group, together with Marco Donnarumma and Margherita Pevere.
In their research project “Humane Methods” they work with body sensors, robot-supported protheses, methods of artificial intelligence and let music and light respond to them interactively. Later, “Humane Methods” will be a collective social experiment that combines technology, art and social participation in an unusual narrative form. It fundamentally transforms the previous approach of theater on a physical and conceptual level.
The goal of the project is the development and testing of interactive visualization systems for mixed reality in theater. By incorporating virtual reality, motion capturing and computer game mechanics, the two fellows want to expand theater in a multimedia way and create new possibilities of 3D representation of real bodies and interaction.
Nils Corte studied computer science at the FU Berlin, is a musician (pianist), playwright, producer and programmer. He has found his artistic focus in the remix culture. With his band “Ganz Gut” he played at renowned festivals and stages. Recently he wrote “Murder on the Holodeck”, “Depressive Tropical” and others. Since 2015 he is the organizer of the music and culture festival “Klingt Gut”.Currently he is working on the visualization software “Peppers Holosuite”, which enables actors:innen to interact with holographically projected objects on stage and make them simultaneously experiencable for the audience.
Roman Senkl is director, author and graduate of the course of studies “Scenic Writing” at Universität der Künste Berlin and Hochschule für Schauspielkunst „Ernst Busch“, Berlin. From 2018-2020 he worked as a dramaturg at Schauspiel Dortmund. Before that he was, among other things, author at Theater Koblenz. In addition to his studies at HfS Berlin, he realized numerous theater projects as dramaturge, author and director in Germany, Austria and on the internet – among others with onlinetheater.live, minuseins, K.G.I.). His work focuses on digital technologies: Interactive Storytelling, VR, Mixed Reality and others. He is a guest lecturer at the Kunstuniversität Graz, was a guest lecturer at Princeton University and Cornell University. Roman Senkl has won over 20 international creative awards, including the Golden Lion / Cannes.
Vesela Stanoeva completed her bachelor’s degree in interior design at New Bulgarian University in 2013, followed by two semesters at the Design Academy Eindhoven, and in 2019 she wrote her master’s thesis in scenography on the topic “Do Not Panic. Merging Virtual & Physical Spaces” at the University of Applied Sciences Dortmund.
She is currently doing her doctorate at the University of Applied Sciences Dortmund and the Bergische Universität Wuppertal on the topic “Hybrid Scenography. Intervention, Immersion, Illusion”. In addition, she teaches as a guest lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Dortmund in the Photographic Studies program.
The focus of her artistic work is the encounter with identity problems and their manifestations. The resulting participatory, sensual and immersive works of art manifest themselves in hybrid experiences that take up the uncertain future of the post-anthroposcene and transform it both virtually and physically into dream-like worlds and surreal nightmares.
In her project “You Better Don’t Know” the relationship between environment, people and sense of reality is questioned and staged. As a result, “You Better Don’t Know” functions as a speculative platform for paranormal and extraterrestrial experiences.
The truth is out there somewhere: The digital age opens up new possibilities to present and experience cultural content through various innovative technologies. These new digital technologies make it possible to expand existing environments as a place where “anything is possible”.
Creative director of We Create International, Vivian Lu, a Macau-based visual designer who has worked on exceptional stage and performance productions to much market applause. From theatre set visuals to costume designs, runway shows to large, elaborate events for large corporations, Lu delivered over 60 shows in the past five years and has been executing shows internationally, cultivating production and designs.
As a stage designer, Vivian was always passionate about how she can create stronger connections between audiences and her designs, with main attempts to introduce new technology and innovation into traditional theatre for the last few years of her practice.
Vivian Lu received the DFA design for Asia Awards in 2019, which celebrates design excellence and acknowledging outstanding designs.
Alexander Nham is an interdisciplinary performer and musician with a background in media technology. Together with the performance collective Inner Rise he worked on several theatre plays on Hamburg’s stages of KAMPNAGEL, THALIA THEATER, the FUNDUS THEATER but also found himself in the AGORA THEATER in St. Vith or in front of the camera of Luise Donschen.
During his experiments on ‘Digital Theatre’ he created VisionTale, a large, immersive video installation with escape-room elements, combined with interactive theatre. In February 2019 Alexander Nham joined the artists collective Blutende Freischwimmer*innen under which he worked on virtual reality experiences in the Lichthof Theater and at the SKANDALØS Festival 2019.
Amy Stebbins is an American writer-director. Her theater lies at the intersection of performance, opera and new media. She has received commissions from institutions such as the Bavarian State Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Augsburg State Theater. Her artistic training took place at the Berlin Volksbühne where she assisted artists like René Pollesch, Sebastian Baumgarten, and Chris Kondek. Residencies and fellowships include: the German Chancellor Fellowship (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation), the Akademie Musiktheater heute, and the Fulbright Assocation.
Stebbins has also dedicated significant energy to pushing for institutional reform in new work development in both spoken theater and opera. She has convened multiple Transatlantic exchanges for artists and arts administrators from institutions such as Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Goodman Theatre, The Münchner Kammerspiele, and the Gärtnerplatztheater. Together with Hauke Berheide she is the co-founder of New Opera Dialogues, an artist-led platform to promote international dialogue about aesthetics and best institutional practices for contemporary opera.
Stebbins holds a Ph.D. in Cinema & Media Studies and Germanic Studies from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in History and Literature from Harvard University.
Andrea Winkler’s works oscillate between installation, sculpture and objet trouvé as space-consuming scenarios and reenactments of set pieces from the everyday world. These scenic complexes reflect her interest in the material and the objects of a living world that is marked by an increasing theatricality and stage characteristics, goods fetishism, scenarios of spatial and ideological demarcation, and a security-minded and marketable thinking.
Andrea Winkler (CH/AUT) studied Fine Art Media at the Slade School of Fine Art in London and at the HfbK Hamburg. Her works have been shown in numerous exhibitions in Germany and abroad, such as at the HKW Berlin, KAI 10 | Arthena Foundation, Aargauer Kunsthaus, nbk Berlin, Frankfurter Kunstverein, KM – Halle für Kunst und Medien Graz or Devening Projects Chicago, and have received numerous awards. In 2019 she received the UBS Cultural Foundation’s award for her research on post-digitality and new materialism, and in 2021 she is artist in residence at TaDA, Textile and Design Alliance Ostschweiz.
In recent years, she has increasingly been working on projects in cooperation with the artist Stefan Panhans, with whom she received the Innogy Visit Award in 2019 for the experimental film musical “Defender”, among others, and will participate in the exhibition “Zin Ex – From Abstraction to Algorithm”, Centro Tabakalera, San Sebastian, in 2020. In 2021 she will have a solo exhibition at HMKV Dortmund.
Ariane Trümper is a Rotterdam based scenographer, media artist and researcher. Her work is situated on the intersection between media arts, performance and spatial design, researching perceptive and performative processes filtered through our bodies and technology. She is Holding a Master of Fine Arts in Scenography and is a PhD student at the University of the Arts (HKU) and the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht.
Ariane Trümper received grants from i.e. the Center for Visual Arts Rotterdam (CBK) for her research on the experience of space through sound, is an editorial member of the Dutch research group Platform-Scenography and regularly taking part in research formats, such as the Research Academy in Zurich, or the Academy for Theatre and Digitality at Theater Dortmund. She creates performative installations, set designs and media works, and is a tutor at the MA Scenography program of the HKU.
As a founding member of theatre label internil, and under his own name, Arne Vogelgesang has been devising theatre & performance projects since 2005. He has been especially interested in new forms of radical political subjectivation online and the narratives and memetic fields they embed themselves into. Arne also makes video art for others, gives talks & workshops on his research topics and occasionally writes texts about them. His Twitter handle is @foyglgezang.
Gloria Schulz is a digital artist from Hamburg. She is a founding member of the artist collective “Blutende Freischwimmer*innen”, feels most comfortable in grey windows and, as a visual hacker, explores immersive illusory spaces.
Her Artworks as a creative coder and performing artist is shown throughout various festivals and theatres in Germany and abroad. Weaving in Motion Capture and photogrammetry with live art she created at the Theatre of Research FUNDUS THEATER in Hamburg the transgenerational workshops “Ich, Avatar” and “Wir, Welt”. For the participatory citizen project “Stadttheater” at the LICHTHOF Theater Hamburg she designed and performed the VR theatre piece »Raum im Kopf« and with her collective and young hackers she developed an AI that has learned what happiness is and now shares it with the visitors of the “Digitale Welten” Festival in Frankfurt. Furthermore, she is researching the possibilities of VR for storytelling at the HAW Hamburg: In the research project “MYTH Stories” in cooperation with the California State University in Long Beach about she is opening out opera through VR. Besides her work as a creator, she is also part of this year’s “NODE Forum for Digital Arts” festival in Frankfurt as a creative producer and combines creative coding with artistic practices.
As part of her fellowship at the Academy for Theater and Digitality in Dortmund, she overcomes and extends the singular experience in virtual worlds, both technically and narratively.
The composer Hauke Berheide is a Rome prizewinner, winner of the Förderpreis of the State of NRW and prizewinner of Music Theater Now. Works for the Düsseldorf Symphony, Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg, Ensemble Modern, Saarbrücken State Opera and many others.
Markus Schubert is a hacker, game designer, founder and managing director of Nebelflucht GmbH, initiator of the gaming platform toto.io and co-initiator of the reading platform polyplot.io. He is a graduate computer scientist with over 15 years of experience in IT consulting as a software developer and architect. For many years he has been working on interactive games, participative formats and immersive installations in the independent scene as well as in municipal and state theatres with various groups and artists. These include “Der Spalt” at the Grillo Theater in Essen, “Game Over” at the Staatstheater Saarbrücken, “No Work And All Play” at the Staatstheater Nürnberg and many others.
Stage No More is a Beijing-based art collective founded in 2014. Members come from diversified art background. Our art practice concerns itself with issues of contemporary identities, digital existence, cyberculture, public discourse in the media, as well as our relations to virtuality and reality.
Stefan Panhans uses filmic, performative and installative means to artistically address the growing hypermediatization and digitalization and their effects on our society, our behavior, our psyche and bodies, and to negotiate phenomena such as increasing social inequality, everyday racism, stereotypes and diversity issues.
His works are shown internationally at exhibitions and film festivals, recently (2017-2020) among others Videonale.17 and Videonale.16, Bonn; 35th and 34th Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival; EMAF – Electronic Media Art Festival #33 and #32, Osnabrück; Transmediale 2018, HKW, Berlin; 13th Athens Digital Arts Festival; Addis Video Art Festival, Addis Ababa; Deichtorhallen Collection Falckenberg, Hamburg; MUMOK Cinema, Vienna; Goethe Institute China, Beijing.
He received numerous awards and prizes, e.g. an Honourable Mention for “HOSTEL”, Videonale.17, 2019, and the Edith Russ Haus Media Art Award 2017.
In 2020 he realized “HOSTEL”, his first radio play as an adaptation of his video mini-series of the same name for the NDR/DLF culture.
In recent years he has increasingly been working on projects in cooperation with the artist Andrea Winkler, with whom he received the Innogy Visit Award for the experimental film musical “Defender” in 2019, participates in the exhibition “Zin Ex – From Abstraction to Algorithm”, Centro Tabakalera, San Sebastian in 2020, and will have a solo exhibition at HMKV Dortmund in 2021
Michael Eickhoff studied history, German language and literature, and sociology in Bielefeld and Paris. Since 2000 he has been working as production manager, dramaturg, curator and lecturer for various theaters (Theater Bonn, Wiesbaden and Bielefeld) and universities. From 2010 to 2020 he was part of the artistic management team at the Schauspiel Dortmund under the artistic direction of Kay Voges. Here he has accompanied a large number of productions, curated discourse series, festivals and international guest performances, and co-created the concept and the funding of the Academy for Theater and Digitality.
He is particularly interested in theater in discourse with various social actors – in exchange with political-artistic activism, journalism and a variety of related disciplines of art.
Since summer 2020 he has been part of the Academy for Theater and Digitality where he is responsible for (international) networking and cooperation between art, science and business.
With the intention of promoting innovation and development, Stefanie Frauwallner acts as a cultural manager at the interface between theater, business and law. She worked as managing director and member of the board of the Neuköllner Oper (Berlin) at a premiere performance house for music theater. Stefanie Frauwallner has also implemented measures to increase equal opportunities and expand internationalization as managing dramaturge at the Badisches Staatstheater (Karlsruhe). As managing director of the Federal Association of the Free Performing Arts (Bundesverband der Freien Darstellenden Künste) she supported the interests of around 25,000 artists. As a lecturer and mentor, Stefanie Frauwallner actively exchanges ideas with artists of the liberal performing arts as part of the Performing Arts Program Berlin. Her business and legal specialization lies in the field of public and non-profit management. With the goal of creating an innovative environment for artistic processes, Stefanie Frauwallner strives for optimization in organizational and administrative areas as well as the creation of suitable structural conditions.
Viviane Lennert studied Theater Studies, Media Studies and Sociology before she began her master’s degree in Scenic Research at the Ruhr University Bochum, where she focused on video, sound and fragmented narration.
She toured with the avant-garde pop band “Viktoria Sigrid”, as Donna Vivo she produces audio-visual collages, as part of the group “Impulse ULTRAS” she staged the audience-being as an inclusive, performative act from 2018 to 2020. For two years she was part of the management team of the “Zeitzeug_Festival” in Bochum. In changing constellations she works between form and format, at the academy she works as project coordinator on the future of theater.
Marcus Lobbes has been working as a director and set designer in opera and drama since 1995.
His main focus is on uncompromising classic productions as well as numerous premieres in many renowned theaters of the Republic (Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus, Theater Freiburg, Nationaltheater Mannheim, Staatsheater in Kassel, Mainz, Saarbrücken, Darmstadt and Braunschweig, Schauspiel Dortmund, Wuppertaler Bühnen et al).
New collective working forms with the ensembles and his close contact to contemporary authors are the characteristics of his artistic work.
In addition to numerous invitations and awards, his approach also finds its way into the training of young talents: he has recently been invited as a guest lecturer and speaker at the Akademie für Darstellende Künste in Ludwigsburg, the Salzburg Mozarteum, the University of Rostock, the Hochschule Mainz, the Kunstuniversität Graz and the Robert Schumann Musikhochschule in Düsseldorf.
Veronika Ortmayr studied Media and Cultural studies and Media Culture Analysis. She worked as a critic, freelance journalist and author in the field of culture until she moved to the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus in 2014 as Assistant to the Artistic Director. Since the late 1990s she has been interested in Artificial Intelligence and New Technologies. Before her master’s degree she worked for Sinius/Siemens Business Services for several years as an IT consultant. She is particularly interested in gender aspects of man-machines, film history and the cultural history of digitality. Since the beginning of 2019, she has been a member of the Academy team as Assistant to the Director Marcus Lobbes.
Kay Voges is director of the Volkstheater in Vienna (since 2020). As artistic director he directed the Schauspiel Dortmund from 2010-20.
Voges has been working as a director for acting and opera since 1998 – e.g. at Schauspiel Dortmund, Staatsoper Hannover, Oper Dortmund, Volksbühne Berlin, Schauspielhaus Hamburg, Schauspiel Frankfurt, Staatsschauspiel Dresden, Staatstheater in Darmstadt, Kassel and Stuttgart, Theater Magdeburg, Theater Bonn et al.
Important works were Voges’ theater adaptation of “Der Meister und Margarita” (2012), “Einige Nachrichten an das All” by Wolfram Lotz, which opened the 2012/2013 season at Schauspiel Dortmund as a multimedia encounter between theater and film) and his theater adaptation of Vinterberg’s “Das Fest”. With the multimedia performance “DAS GOLDENE ZEITALTER – 100 Wege dem Schicksal die Show zu stehlen” (2013), he continued his work at the interface of theater and film/video art, and his celebrated debut as an opera director with “Tannhäuser oder der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg” (Oper Dortmund, 2013) was a brilliant continuation of this.
Kay Voges has received several awards for his directorial work. In 2017 his production “Die Borderline Prozession” was invited to Berliner Theatertreffen. “Einige Nachrichten an das All” won the main prize for Best Production at NRW Theatertreffen 2013. The film for the production was awarded first prize for Best Direction at the Artodocs International Film Festival in St. Petersburg and second prize in the Experimental Film category at the Sunset Film Festival Los Angeles.
Voges’ works consistently research the interface between theater and digitality – reason for him to initiate the founding of the academy in 2017 and act as founding director.