Theater der Klänge

On the 10th of May 1987, after an invitation of composer Jörg U. Lensing, from Düsseldorf, eight musicians, dancers and actors -all of them graduates of Essen's Folkwanghochschule- met with three artists from Düsseldorf (photographer, graphics-designer and a musician). It was in this meeting that the Theater der Klänge (Theatre of the Sounds) was founded. The objective of the founded ensemble was and still is experimenting with different styles of theatre work. In the latter, they attempt to involve music, dance and acting, as well as aesthetic creations using different forms of costumes, scenery, lighting and media, in order to put further different ways of expression together.

Additionally, the issue is finding combinations by which the various individual sections are not managed in isolation but supplement and influence each other on an equal standing. On one
hand, this takes place through the application of traditional theatre techniques whose synaesthesis is already established (i.e., Asian theatre forms, Commedia dell'Arte) and, on the other, through the use of modern art approaches (Bauhaus, Piscator). As a result of these mises-en-scène, progress is made using contemporary multimedia forms by means of computers, especially-developed software and sensors producing sounds and images on the stage.

All of this has resulted in a theatre form that characterizes the Theater der Klänge as a "multimedia integration theatre".

Five of the 10 founders of the Theater der Klänge are still active in the group. As time went by, new participants were integrated to the team on a permanent basis. Currently, the Theater der Klänge's basic staff is composed by seven people who have cooperated with each other for years and who incorporate invited actors as needs arise for the various productions. The fundamental issue in the Theatre's current working method is the diversity of the styles covered and the very cooperative development phase through which the topics selected by the main ensemble are converted into highly pleasing concrete theatre plays.

This is how dancers, actors and musicians work there for at least 3-4 months, along with the regisseur, the choreographer, the composer and, if necessary, with media artists, sharing experimental work on a daily basis. A 6-8-week phase involving experimentation, improvisation and development results in concrete concepts for the mise-en-scene, the choreography and the compositions, as well as for media image and soundscape. All of the above constitute the ground on which the whole stage production is based and the elements used to start with the rehearsals leading to the final production. Even though they are not separate from each other as far as the practice of different disciplines is concerned, the work performed in a single site results in an integrated multimedia production distinctly focused to musical theater.

Altogether, up to now, approximately 78,000 spectators have attended 476 presentations of the various plays performed by Theater der Klänge in 50 cities, including Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Rotterdam, Paris, Avignon, Tel Aviv and New Delhi. Additionally, there were TV presentations of the "mechanical ballet", which were watched by about 300,000 people. As a general rule, the ensemble presents a new production every year, which is staged in diverse scenarios in Düsseldorf where the space conditions for the respective projects are available.

As of 1997, the Theater der Klänge extended its work to other media and, since then, a book, four documentary videos and CDs with their stage music and two audio-books have been published. For the 2003/2004 period, the issue of two DVD?s has been scheduled.

The Theater der Klänge has continued financial support from the authorities of the City of Düsseldorf, of the Nordrhein-Westfalen community and of several cultural institutions. The ensemble has its own production and rehearsal facilities in Düsseldorf.

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