Independent Theater Archive: Performing the Archive

An independent theater landscape developed some time ago in German-speaking countries offering artistic impulses whose significance has been felt beyond its own genre and operating across extremely well developed national and international networks. Now the challenge is on the one hand to continue to improve conditions for production and presentation and on the other to also develop a stronger awareness of the independent theater’s own history and artistic traditions.

For this reason, in 2013 Impulse Theater Festival started the Independent Theater Archive which has since been extended onto a broader institutional basis. Independent theater needs an archive – to achieve the visibility it deserves and as a wide foundation for the recognition of a distinct theatrical aesthetic. There is also a need to represent and reflect on its history, for a space which relieves the constant pressure to justify itself and as a response to the unceasing – and primarily economic – obligation to produce new work. An archive of independent theater is intended to include performance-based production methods as well as documentary practice, visual theatre and text-based plays. Such an archive also needs to be as mobile as the theatre which is its subject.

A consortium has since been established to maintain the project including the Bundesverband Freie Darstellende Künste, the umbrella organization Tanz Deutschland, the Institute of Cultural Politics at the University of Hildesheim, the International Theater Institute Germany/ Mime Centrum Berlin, the NRW KULTURsekretariat and the Impulse Theater Festival. Research has been conducted since November 2015 as part of a study by the University of Hildesheim as to how such an archive can be set up in practice and structured to reflect the unique aesthetic of independent theater.

We are looking for collaborators who wish to contribute their collections to the archive; practitioners who will also contribute what did not happen and share their ideas in an archive of unmade projects; sponsors who wish to help finance the project and conspirators who want to help shape the archive as a living site of history and exchange.

Further information can be found at