A Sign for the Future

A project on deaf culture as an artistic form of the avant-garde; to debut at the Theaterformen festival 2023

Project Description

According to contemporary deaf studies, deafness is not a deficit, but just a form of sensory and cognitive diversity. The international Theaterformen festival has made this credo its own and interwoven deaf culture into its programme. The project “A Sign for the Future” has turned the festival centre into a “deaf space” – a venue for performances by avant-garde deaf artists for a deaf audience, as well as a research lab for deaf artists. In this way, the festival serves as an international stage for the innovative potential of deaf art and presents the enriching qualities of deaf culture for theatre, architecture and social coexistence.

The British architects’ collective “The DisOrdinary Architecture Project” which uses disabilities as the creative catalyst for architectural design, will team up with the acclaimed deaf artist Christine Sun Kim to design the festival centre. The deaf curator and choreographer Rita Mazza will select progressive works by deaf artists for presentation on the stages of the Staatstheater Hannover which have mainly been performed at festivals of deaf culture until now. The “Deaf Only” lab will provide international deaf artists the opportunity to collaborate and experiment together, culminating in a joint performance.

The Theaterformen festival is strongly committed to becoming even more accessible to disabled visitors. In terms of its structure, the festival organisers are intensively addressing the question of how to equitably highlight the cultures and languages of the hearing and non-hearing impaired. The aim is to make numerous plays featuring hearing actors accessible to deaf viewers by means of bilingual translation. In addition, the organisers are planning workshops for employees of the state theatre which draw attention to non-discriminatory collaboration with deaf people.

Artistic director: Anna Mülter
Curator: Rita Mazza
Participants: DisOrdinary Architecture, Richard Dougherty, Chris Laing, Jos Boys, Zoe Partington, Anna Seymour, Christine Sun Kim, Mindy Drapsa

Festival Theaterformen c/o Niedersächsische Staatstheater Hannover GmbH, Hannover: 22 Jun. – 2 Jul. 2023