ZiF Workshop

Theatre as Exchange and Gift: Theoretical prospects

Date: 26 - 28 October 2017
Convenors: Ingrid Hentschel (Bielefeld, GER)

The conference investigated the complexity of exchange and responsiveness in theatre within the context of interdisciplinary gift discourses. Contemporary forms of theatre use various strategies of exchange, of reciprocality and of giving and receiving with the public or other participants. Participative and performative productions with documentary material – like Rimini Protokoll and Milo Rau are en vogue at the moment. But also in traditional forms of drama theatre, there are processes of cooperation, interaction, reciprocity and mutuality; without them acting technique, improvisation and interactive roles are unthinkable, just as are performances which can be described as only an – often tacit – synergy and interplay between stage and audience.

The complexity of the gift theorems between pure, unconditional giving and social commitment, incurred through gift events, has produced a comprehensive, inter-disciplinary discourse at international level, which has also been extended to include art, aesthetics and drama.

It is the ambiguous nature of the gift, which includes the creative aspect of the given and giftedness (a theme of phenomenology), as well as the dimension of the social act of exchanging (a sociological topic), that suggests referring concepts of gift to both the productive as well as the receptive elements in the theatre. As the participants of the conference stated: It is the intermediate position of the gift with its intangibility, sociality and unpredictability that makes it so fertile for a theory of the theatre. Art (particularly performing art like dance and drama) is to be understood in its paradoxical nature between participation in social praxis on the one hand, and the freedom from everything social on the other. Artistic practice takes place not only in the artwork, but in life.


Simone Adams-Weggen (Herford, GER), Frank Adloff (Hamburg, GER), Evelyn Annuß (Berlin, GER), Michael Bies (Berlin, GER), Susanne Bosch (Berlin, GER), Anna Bella Eschengerd (Bielefeld, GER), Saskia Fischer (Bielefeld, GER), Barbara Frey (Bielefeld, GER), Juliane Gerland (Siegen, GER), Birte Giesler (Bielefeld, GER), Reinhold Görling (Düsseldorf, GER), Matthias Gräßlin (Bielefeld, GER), Ortrud Gutjahr (Hamburg, GER), Joris Corin Heyder (Bielefeld, GER), Gert Hofmann (Cork, IRL), René Kaufmann (Dresden, GER), Barbara Meerkötter (Berlin, GER), Elfie Miklautz (Wien, AUT), Una H. Moehrke (Halle (Saale), GER), Freya Katharina Neumann (Halle (Saale), GER), Eberhard Ortland (Münster, GER), Olli Pyyhtinen (Tampere, FIN), Anton Rey (Zürich, SUI), Karina Rocktäschel (Berlin, GER), Ramon Rodriguez Aguilera (Sevilla, ESP), Jens Roselt (Hildesheim, GER), Roger Sansi-Roca (Barcelona, ESP), Hartmut Schröder (Leipzig, GER), Eva-Maria Schultze (Halle (Saale), GER), Theresa Schütz (Berlin, GER), Liska Sehnert (Köln, GER), Hanne Seitz (Potsdam, GER), Ilana Fridrich Silber (Ramat Gan, ISR), Gertrud Siller (Bielefeld, GER), Gerhard Stamer (Hannover, GER), Nicola Tams (Chemnitz, GER), Inken Tegtmeyer (Hildesheim, GER), Virginia Thielicke (Hamburg, GER), Andrea Trenkwalder-Egger (Innsbruck, AUT), Rüdiger Volz (Bochum, GER), Luise von Rohden (Halle (Saale), GER), Michel Weber (Zürich, SUI), Kristin Westphal (Koblenz, GER), Beatrix Wildt (Bielefeld, GER), Johannes Wildt (Bielefeld, GER), Barbara Wilhelmi (Friedberg, GER), Nicole Zielke (Bielefeld, GER)

WDR 3 Mosaik 27.10.2017, Interview with Raoul Mörchen and Ingrid Hentschel

Conference Programme

Please direct questions concerning the organisation of the workshop to Trixi Valentin at the Conference Office. Questions regarding scientific content and contributions should be directed to the organizers.

Tel: +49 521 106-2769
Fax: +49 521 106-152769
E-Mail: trixi.valentin@uni-bielefeld.de