Photo: V. Tussing, creation 2016 ‘Mazing’

Dramaturgy lab – 8./9. Juli, ehrenfeldstudios Cologne


Workshop laboratory:
Doing (circus) dramaturgy – with Sebastian Kann, Amsterdam
In the frame of the laboratory series circusexperiments# by Overhead Project
Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th July, 10:00-16:30, 
ehrenfeldstudios Cologne

What can the practice of dramaturgy offer to contemporary circus creation? In this workshop, American circus dramaturg Sebastian Kann will facilitate reflection and action, proposing the practice of dramaturgy as a tool for creative process. ‘Doing (circus) dramaturgy’ helps us blur the boundaries between thinking and doing, artist and dramaturg, artwork and world.

Special related programme:
Saturday 8th, 20:00 – contemporary circus performance by Overhead Project, „X [ɪks]“ at ZAK Köln

Language: The workshop-lab will be in english
Special price: 50 Euro per project, plus 5 Euro per person for the performance on 8th july.
Reservation:  — ALREADY FULLY BOOKED —
Limited to 6 projects (which can consist each of several persons)
Please bring a concrete project of yours that you want to discuss about. That will be the base for dramaturgical reflections.
For Reservation please write us how many from your project team will participacte,  a few lines about you or your company, in what contexts you work and shortly about what kind of project you bring with you.

All Info online:
PDF download
Supported by the Residence of ehrenfeldstudios for Sebastian Kann and organised by Initiative Neuer Zirkus e.V.

Photo above: V. Tussing, creation 2016 ‘Mazing’

—- —– —- —-

CV Sebastian Kann:
Sebastian Kann is an American circus artist, scholar, and performance dramaturg. He received his diploma in circus practice from ENC (Montréal) in 2009 and his MA in Theatre Studies from Utrecht University in 2016, graduating with a thesis which examined technical virtuosity in performance. He works as a dramaturg in dance and circus contexts (notably with Brussels-based choreographer Vera Tussing), and is active giving lectures and dramaturgy workshops at circus festivals and studio spaces in Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. His current research interests include embodiment, imagination, and resistance through performance.

Detailed Workshop description:

Workshop laboratory: Doing (circus) dramaturgy

The space between practice and performance is therefore the space of translation and design. The distance between the two is the space of dramaturgy — Bauke Lievens

How do we, as circus artists, relate our technical practice to the design of a performance? What potentials for meaning-making can we unearth within the domain of circus itself, even before we turn to acting and dance as dramaturgical vehicles

Sebastian Kann is an aerialist, dramaturg and researcher whose theoretical work revolves around circus technique and its relation to meaning-making in performance. At ehrenfeldstudios, he is proposing a two-day workshop intended for circus artists interested in developing and elaborating projects-in-progress.

This workshop is open to artists interested in making their own long-form work. Please come with some material (at any stage of development, from the imaginary to the actualised) that we can work through in discussion. There is space for maximum six projects, so please reserve a spot in advance.

The work will be divided into three portions:

1) What is dramaturgy?
In ‘What is dramaturgy?’ we will discuss dramaturgy in general and look at some specific examples of studio practice together.

Dramaturgy as a practice is often thought of in connection to the figure of the dramaturg. But in reality, everyone in a creative process will sometimes be required to think, speak, and act dramaturgically. At its core, this workshop aims to enable circus artists to work as dramaturges for themselves and for their peers. With this in mind, a good portion of the workshop will be devoted to dissecting and practicing dramaturgical engagement. What are some tools we can use to get distance on our own work? How can we use language and particularly dialogue most effectively in a studio setting? And how can we reflect critically on what is emerging in a creative process without pinning it to a fixed and immovable ‘rational’ meaning?

Sebastian practices process-based dramaturgy, which understands creative process as research. Each performance begins from a place of questioning rather than knowing. What we will practice together therefore is the delicate task of reflecting upon and caring for what is specific about each performance as it is emerging, allowing it to become as fully itself as possible.

2) Practicing dramaturgy
In this portion, we will work in small groups to apply what we have discussed to our specific projects. Working from text and / or video, we will reflect upon what is already present in the work, identifying some potential paths forward as well as points of confusion or tension. All the while, we will balance our artistic desires and intentions with the ‘loose grip’ necessary for allowing the new to emerge.

Moving from open questions to tentative answers, we will try to connect our reflections to physical possibilities, pooling our resources to imagine concrete exercises and experiments. The emphasis in this portion will be translating from material practice into language, and from language back into material practice. This is where the magic happens!

3) Major dramaturgy: Dramaturgs behaving ‘badly’
After the Flemish dramaturg Marianne van Kerkhoven, ‘Major dramaturgy’ refers to the way performance never succeeds in isolating itself from the world, but always takes place in a particular cultural (political? economic?) context. How can we establish more horizontal relations of power and more egalitarian conditions of ownership in the studio? How do the requirements of institutions intervene in the creation of work—both on the level of technical research and on the level of dramaturgical structure—and how can, or should, this intervention be resisted?

In this section, Sebastian will give a brief presentation of his research connecting studio practice in circus to broader concerns about the commons, authorship, discipline, and control. After a discussion we will design together a method for putting these concerns to work in the studio, behaving ‘badly’ with affirmative intent.

Practical in Cologne
Workshop-spot: ehrenfeldstudios, Wissmannstr. 38, 50823 Köln-Ehrenfeld

Performance-spot: ZAK, An der Schanz 6, 50735 Köln-Riehl

Accomodation in Cologne:
Youth hostel Köln-Riehl (Close to ZAK):

Weltempfänger – Backpacker Hostel (Close to ehrenfeldstudios):

Reisemobilhafen (Close to ZAK)