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International Summer Festival 2023

Dear guests,

as this preface is being written, the trio (LA)HORDE is choreographing the upcoming Madonna world tour, and the vocal ensemble GRAINDELAVOIX is disrupting European concert halls. That’s the scope of this year’s Summer Festival which will be opened by (LA)HORDE with the Ballet national de Marseille at Kampnagel – and closed by GRAINDELAVOIX at Elbphilharmonie, with Brumel’s “Earthquake Mass” from the 16th century. In between are three extravagant weeks with over 150 events, including 19 different stage works alone with 5 world premieres, making this festival the most extensive in Kampnagel’s history to date. Taken together, these, above all embody a pop-cultural narrative about the present.

And because you can (and should) get lost in this festival universe, this preface will take you by the hand and fast-forward through the program. We start, as said, with our Summer Festival stars (LA)HORDE, who are just as well versed in video art, the Internet and pop culture as they are in dance history and, as directors of the Ballet national Marseille, are offering a fresh and renewed approach to dance. In AGE OF CONTENT, stunts play a role among other things, which puts the work both in the neighborhood of the latest (and recently Theatertreffen awarded) work by the grand master of feminist stage spectacle, FLORENTINA HOLZINGER: The performance emphasizes the proximity of dance and sport –not only in terms of the amount of training, sweat and injuries, but also the fascination with human movement. This comes together beautifully in MIET WARLOP’s high-performance sports piece ONE SONG, disguised as a concert, making you sweat as you watch it, and with which we are launching the cultural program in preparation for the European Football Championship 2024.

Anyone who has kids in football clubs or read the impressive book by former professional fotball player TUĞBA TEKKAL (which she presents in our top-class reading and concert series TALKING BACK at Waldbühne knows about the dreams associated with the sport of millions. This is the subject of the award-winning football and family story LA FRACTURE, as well as the world premiere of the former Australian-Sri Lankan professional football player and theater maker AHILAN RATNAMOHAN: Together with Belgian acting star Josse de Pauw and regional league player Etuwe Bright Junior, he is creating an autobiographical theatre piece about football migration, power structures and unplanned life courses. And because Ahil has also invented the “missing link” between dance and football with the dance form Klapping, he will lay the foundation on the football field during the Summer Festival for a large dance work for the European Championship in the next Kampnagel season.

Of course, music should not go unmentioned in the artistic context of football: Where else do amorphous male choirs regularly come together for the massive chants than in a stadium? Perhaps in churches like St. Gertrud, where we present three spiritual concerts to connect to a higher power by JIMETTA ROSE and her sensational gospel choir as well as the saxophonist BENDIK GISKE and bağlama player and singer DERYA YILDIRIM.

As always, music plays a central role in this festival and on stage. In a second major world premiere for the festival start with star line-up, the future of radically tender R&B appears: The US musician SERPENTWITHFEET, together with the New York choreographer RAJA FEATHER KELLY and the visual arts great WU TSANG, create a stage work about Black gay club culture, after which we continue to celebrate in the Kampnagel Club with ERIC D. CLARK and KIDDY SMILE, among others. Music and dance will then reunite on the big stage once again in a world premiere to close the festival including musician AMBROSE AKINMUSIRE, named Trumpeter of the Year by the world’s largest jazz magazine Down Beat, practically every year for the past ten years, with ballet innovator ASZURE BARTON, who will choreograph eleven dancers.

And while we’re on the subject of the greats: Ethio-jazz godfather MULATU ASTATKE, bossa nova king MARCOS VALLE, Detroit Techno originator JEFF MILLS and several other legends like 98-year old Marshal Allen of SUN RA ARKESTRA will grace this Summer Festival. Three days later, 15-year-old members of the musical show TEENAGE SONGBOOK OF LOVE AND SEX take on the same stage to sing and invite us to think about what love and a budding sex life might mean for them.

Delicate children’s souls (and their injuries) are again dealt with by artist of intense theater GISÈLE VIENNE, who is one of the most frequent Summer Festival artists. for good reasons. The performance once again includes French actress Adèle Haenel in the team, who is also one of the most effective voices of the French #MeToo movement. Just how topical the issue still is is shown both by a work that comes to us shortly after its premiere at the Festival d’Avignon, featuring performance artist CAROLINA BIANCHI taking knockout drops on stage; and a work by DEAD CENTRE about intimacy in acting, for which we have engaged a superstar cast that you can otherwise only see with a Netflix subscription or movie ticket. That theatre can be a strong political medium with a high entertainment factor is also shown by the latest play by the Viennese group NESTERVAL over three weeks in the former Kakaospeicher at Baakenhöft (especially suitable for people who otherwise find theatre too boring, as well as the theatrical thriller ISIDLAMLILO about a former hit woman with South African TV star, Mpume Mthombeni. Exploring new forms of political theatre, ANTONYA SILVA deals with Cuban exiles, and ADAM & AMINA SEID TAHIR, two Scandinavian rising stars, consider the ocean as a metaphor of Afrodiasporic history.

Three icons of the visual arts also deal with a different perspective on history, which we present in museums all over the city: TREVOR MATHISON at Kunstverein, who has been shaping sound and film art for 40 years; digital artist JACOLBY SATTERWHITE at Kampnagel and Deichtorhallen; and the master of (art) world questioning WALID RAAD at Kunsthalle with a revealing exhibition and performance through the museum’s collection.

As always, that’s not it, there are 37 pop culture discourse-shaping concerts alone, more performances in the city and at Kampnagel, where the AVANTGARDEN is our theme park answer to Hamburg’s harbor birthday, a summer hotspot for all day and night people, with the TALKING BACK series at Waldbühne, the centerpiece MIGRANTPOLITAN or the headphone performances of the JAJAJAs. The Avant-Garden is also a great place to take a breather after a program that is only possible on the scale it is thanks to the unwavering trust of many public and private supporters, and a city that is willing to spread its arms to the world.

See you soon and with best regards,

András Siebold & the Summer Festival team


Theatre & Performance

Concerts & Parties

Art / Installations / Workshops

Talking Back at Avant-Garden

Avant-Garden and Migrantpolitan