The Kleist Festival is one of several projects which the Federal Cultural Foundation is funding in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the poet's death. For a complete list and description of the other projects, view:
Kleist's dramas been the focus of the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin since Armin Petras took the reigns as General Theatre Director. In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the poet's death, the theatre held a Kleist festival in November 2011 which will feature, among other events, performances of Kleist's complete works of drama.
In addition to its own productions of Der zerbrochne Krug (director: Jan Bosse), Penthesilea (director: Felicitas Brucker), Amphitryon (director: Jan Bosse) and Prinz Friedrich von Homburg (director: Armin Petras), the festival presented two guest performances by the Munich Kammerspiele, Der Krieg with the fragment Robert Guiskard and Die Hermannsschlacht, both of which were directed by Armin Petras. The festival also included the premieres of Das Käthchen von Heilbronn (director: Jan Bosse) and Die Familie Schroffenstein (director: Antu Romero Nunes).
Numerous guests from a wide range of artistic fields have been invited to discuss Kleist, his stories and theoretical texts, e.g. Schneider TM, Jan Peters, She She Pop, Victor Morales, Lutz Dammbeck, Ildikó Enyedi, Tommy Noonan, Harun Farocki & Antje Ehmann, Schorsch Kamerun and the Singakademie Berlin. In Erdbeben in Chili, Armin Petras examined how one can view a world in ruins as an opportunity. She She Pop investigated our desire for a world we can rationally perceive in the Marquise von O. In The Engagement, Tommy Noonan choreographed the revolutionary events in Verlobung in St. Domingo. The Venezuelan computer artist Victor Morales transfered the themes and motifs in Kleist's theoretical essay Über das Marionettentheater to the virtual dimension. These events were accompanied by a series of discussions and lectures by the Hungarian essayist, theorist and Kleist specialist László Földényi, who offered insights into Kleist's life, works and the history of their literary reception.
Throughout the festival, the artist duo Höfner & Sachs redesigned the Maxim Gorki Theater as a metaphorical "World of Kleist" which played upon and reflected the themes and motifs of the poet's life. With numerous performances, films, lectures, concerts and other performative events, this Kleist Park provideed ample space for discussions and artistic exchange.