BAM 2019

Berlin festival for contemporary music theatre (Trailer)

BAM!, the festival of Berlin's independent music theater scene, enters the second round

For most cultures, musical theater is the oldest and still the most common form of theater. It disappeared from Europe alone at one point and then had to be reinvented. In order not to strain the imagination of audiences of that time too much, it was the story of a singer that was then the beginning of opera four hundred years ago. Orpheus has continued to accompany musical theater ever since. Above all, he appears where music theater is in a state of upheaval, where it is beginning to think about itself anew. With two performances, one on the first day, one on the last, Orpheus also stands at the beginning and end of this year's BAM! festival.

BAM!, the festival of Berlin's independent music theater scene, will take place for the second time in 2019. As in 2018, it brings together in a tight time frame a dense program of exciting vistas of new directions in music theater. It is hardly about opera anymore, but about forms that still follow its original questioning, that is to say, they go in search of a new unity of sound and stage action. New theatrical strategies take the place of earlier narrative forms. They are closely linked to changed working methods, which are still difficult to reconcile with the structures of the municipal theater. Only in the untamed space of the independent scene does this new music theater have its place. BAM's concern is to bring together approaches of this theater for a larger audience, to create a platform that puts them in relation to each other, and to explore the question of what unites them in all their variations and where the paths of music theater lead today.

Perhaps this website can already provide some orientation. A good part of the participants presented here can hardly be assigned to a traditional theater profession alone. One of the particular strengths of Berlin's special music theater scene is that it now brings together artists from all over who question the existing regulations of the music and theater business and have professionalized themselves on their own initiative in the interest of pressing questions about their art, even beyond their original field of training. And as you browse through the site, another thing becomes clear: where democracy at the state level is being put to the test more than ever today, hierarchical relationships in independent music theater are receding and being replaced by decision-making spaces for collectives with equal rights.

BERLIN MEETS ROTTERDAM - In addition to a presentation area that makes independent music theater more visible to a larger audience and leads it out of its isolation in the mixed program of independent venues, it lacks a network of cooperating production houses that would give performances the chance to find audiences beyond their place of origin. An interesting scene of independent music theater exists in many European countries. As seldom as their individual regions come into contact with each other, they also differ greatly in their formal language.

In addition to the Berlin scene, BAM! wants to consider a second center of independent music theater for each of its future events. The first event in 2019 will be a bridge to the vibrant scene in the Netherlands, made possible by BAM!'s alliance with the Operadagen Rotterdam. Under the label "Berlin meets Rotterdam", BAM! will present three selected productions from the sister music theater scenes of the cities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. At the same time, a symposium will be devoted to the background of working methods, funding systems and aesthetics that distinguish Berlin from the Dutch region. In return for the invitation of Dutch plays, three of this year's Berlin performances will be shown at the "Operadagen Rotterdam" next May. For the Berlin audience this exchange opens a view on alternative ways of current music theater, for the Berlin music theater scene it opens a window to additional performances, international publicity and future partners.

With an area of closely neighboring performance venues, BAM! 2018 became a meeting place where visitors constantly crossed paths. The festival space is even more focused this year, as BAM! drops its anchor at the Berlin Volksbühne! Down to the foyer area, all of its venues will be played. Acker Stadt Palast, Ballhaus Ost and the St. Elisabeth Church are clustered as satellites around this center. The Green Salon of the Volksbühne houses BAM!'s Festival Lounge and its Late Night events. With free admission, they offer an opportunity to meet, sort out thoughts and get drunk.

BAM! is hosted by the ZMB (Zeitgenössisches Musiktheater Berlin) association, which brings together Berlin's independent music theater scene.

Website of the festival BAM 2019

Cast & Crew

Sebastian Rausch
Roland Quitt
Director of photography
Uli Aumüller
Associate producer
Judith Bodenstein
Martina Stütz