The Audience

Photos: Luzie Marquardt

The Audience
Apr 29 – May 2, 2015, 8pm
Theater Rampe Stuttgart

The performance ‘The Audience’ brings together local initiatives and associations in Stuttgart which open up alternatives to the offers of public and communal institutions. On stage, they act side by side, following their respective aims, and together become the model of a different city right within the city: ‘The Audience’ investigates how public and counter-public spheres are constructed in Stuttgart, and how they are interwoven with each other.

Informal processes of discussion, exchange and work are thus activated in the black box of theater. The audience is invited to enter this dynamic model of a city in order to follow its rhythms and routines, to participate in them, or to observe them from a distance. In this way, the everyday questioning and acting, playing music and repairing things, remembering and reporting that takes place in this city gradually becomes visible. For instance, the team of Repair Café Stuttgart makes broken things work again; pros and cons regarding current themes are competitively exchanged at the Uni Stuttgart debate society; and Stuttgart’s Free Radio broadcasts live from the theater hall.

‘The Audience’ poses the question of the relationship of these public spheres and that of the theater: Can the stage become a place of performance and of gathering at the same time? For example by becoming a setting and forum for the negotiation of different ways of living in society? Herbordt/Mohren expand these questions by an additional arrangement: the staging of the film work on a fictive documentary, including spotlights, camera crew, actors, and film music. The spectators thus become ‘The Audience’ in several ways: as a public that participates in their city, and at the same time critically observes it – as in theater.

‘The Audience’ is the fourth part of a series of theater works, which all share in a debate about performing institutions and theater as a practice of institutional critique. Having staged the text as an institution of theater (‘The Play’ – Stuttgart Theater Award 2013), the institution as a place of collective action (‘The Institution’), and finally its rehearsal (‘The Performance’), the focus of this project will be on the theatrical audience (‘The Audience’).


But is this still theater? Well, it is rather a way of fathoming what is possible in theater. The play itself takes place on a different level: The audience’s participation in the action – which has nothing to do with the usual and rather conventional participatory theater – ideally develops into new relations also outside of this fictive city. Thus, the real city at least for some audience members might actually change if they make use of these offers in their everyday lives – definitely a daring experiment with respect to theater, but one that discovers new territories. (LKZ, May 2, 2015)

Having assumed the role of two reporters, actors Armin Wieser and Michael Kleine in the foyer of Theater Rampe read out the names of the ticket owners. The participants may expect the simulation of a city in which a documentary is filmed. The image of a video installation opens up the entrance to the stage. The audience then actually walks on stage, relieved by the announcement: This is not going to be participatory theater, but neither should you expect the ‘classic’ theater night. But what then is ‘The Audience’? A good idea in itself: In the medium of the theater the audience may become more conscious of their role as participants and critics of the city. … ‘The Audience’ is a splendid cue to discover the city’s manifold potentialities. (StN, May 2, 2015)

The ticket stub is the last act within reality before you step into the performance in order to become part of it. (StZ, May 4, 2015)


In cooperation with: Freies Radio für Stuttgart, Repair Café Stuttgart, Initiative Lern- und Gedenkort Hotel Silber e. V., Debattierclub Stuttgart e. V., Frauen und Geschichte Baden Württemberg e. V., as well as many other local initiatives and associations.
Performance: Michael Kleine, Armin Wieser, and others
Video: René Liebert
Scenography: Leonie Mohr and Hannes Hartmann
Composition: Hannes Seidl
Assistance: Alida Breitag
Artistic Directors: Melanie Mohren and Bernhard Herbordt
Production: ehrliche arbeit – freelance office for culture
Technical Director: Norman Thörel
PR: Bernhard Siebert
Graphic Design: Demian Bern
Internship: Kirstin Rieger

A production by Herbordt/Mohren, in cooperation with Theater Rampe Stuttgart, funded by the Fonds Darstellende Künste e. V. – three-year conceptual funding financed by the German Federal Government, the State Association of Independent Theaters Baden-Württemberg e. V. financed by the Ministry for Science, Research and Art Baden-Württemberg, and the City of Stuttgart. Supported by the Akademie Schloss Solitude Stuttgart.

Photos: Luzie Marquardt
Graphic Design: Demian Bern