Postdramatic theatre

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The notion of "postdramatic theatre" was established by German theatre researcher Hans-Thies Lehmann in his 1999 book with the same title, summarizing a number of tendencies and stylistic traits occurring in avant-garde theatre since the end of the 1960s. The theatre which Lehmann calls postdramatic is not primarily focused on the drama in itself, but evolves a performative aesthetic in which the text of the drama is put in a special relation to the material situation of the performance and the stage. Thus postdramatic theatre is more striving to produce an effect amongst the spectators than to remain true to the text.

In its most radical varieties, postdramatic theatre knows no "plot" at all, but concentrates fully on the interaction between text and audience.

Some names associated with postdramatic theatre are Tadeusz Kantor (Krakow), Heiner Müller (Berlin), Robert Wilson (New York City), The Wooster Group (New York City), Isla van Tricht (York), Jan Fabre, Jan Lauwers and the Needcompany, Frank Castorf (Berlin), Josef Szeiler/TheaterAngelusNovus (Vienna), Heiner Goebbels (Frankfurt), Alvis Hermanis (Riga), Forced Entertainment (Sheffield) and Teater Moment (Stockholm), Apocryphal Theatre (London).


  • Hans-Thies Lehmann: Postdramatic Theatre. translated and with an introduction by Karen Jürs-Munby, Routledge, London and New York 2006, ISBN 978-0-415-26813-4.
  • Marijke Hoogenboom, Alexander Karschnia: NA(AR) HET THEATER - after theatre?, Amsterdam 2007, ISBN 978-90-812455-1-7