At the end of March this year, all theatres had to close their doors for several months. This lockdown of cultural life has since revealed some of the structural issues that could or should have been seen beforehand, but it has also reminded us of the unique role theatre has to play as a meeting place and a space of social interaction, as fertile ground for acts of solidarity and for finding solutions.
And now? How do we go on from here? What can we learn from the crisis? This year’s edition of Impulse Theater Festival, which has been the most important platform for independent performing arts in the German speaking world for the last 30 years, was also not able to take place in June. However, in October, the publication of Lernen aus dem Lockdown? Nachdenken über Freies Theater, published by Alexander Verlag, Berlin, brought together many theatre and cultural policy makers to share and present the lessons they have learned from the pandemic, their ideas and their demands. The articles in this book cover a range of subjects, from the politics surrounding funding and social security schemes, via artistic freedom as a basic human right and digitalisation, to the body’s vulnerability in a theatrical setting. The discussion will focus on how and on what terms we want to work in future. Moderated by co-editor and Impulse director Haiko Pfost, Sara Ostertag (theatre maker and board member of IG Freie Theater Österreich), Sebastian Linz (artistic director ARGEkultur Salzburg) and Monika Gruber (technical director at Tanzquartier Wien) will talk about the new challenges cultural life faces in times of Covid-19, about an economics that is built on the common good and about the relationship between employment status and adequate remuneration in the independent performing arts.