at.tension festival is a biennial, interdisciplinary theatre festival, curated, organised and realized by actors from Kulturkosmos Müritz e.V. and its network of supporters.
The expansive, approximately 100-hectare Kulturkosmos site in Lärz is a unique location and extraordinary stage for a theatre festival, with its former aeroplane hangars and a landing strip, various circus tents, and different open and parking spaces. It also has a large campsite with a lake suitable for swimming.
at.tension festival picks up on current developments and trends in contemporary international theatre and performance. The palette on offer includes object theatre, dance theatre, performance, open-air spectaculars, installations, children's theatre, and an accompanying programme of music.
Our aim is to place different forms of theatre in creative dialogue with one another, to invite artists from a range of genres, and to provide 8,000 festival-goers with four days of gripping and enthralling theatrical experiences. We want to make sure that we have something for everyone to enjoy, no matter what their age, background or knowledge of theatre.
at.tension Festival is intentionally organised and financed without any form of institutionalized funding, and is therefore completely independent in terms of its content and format. Around 75% of the costs are financed via the entrance tickets, while the remaining 25% is provided by the Kulturkosmos Müritz e.V. association using its revenue from Fusion Festival.
The festival is put on almost entirely thanks to voluntary work. On the one hand, this is because we would never be able to finance such a diverse festival programme otherwise. But it is also because we believe that an egalitarian collective enterprise can only only really achieved through volunteer work. We decided back with the first edition of at.tension in 2006 that voluntary work would be a core principle of working with the festival and that no one would work for the festival for money. Our main interest in organising the festival like this is to see how group dynamics develop when all those involved are working together at the same level.
This kind of collective process would never be possible in established, hierarchical, funding-dependent cultural projects. It is precisely in this kind of dynamic collective process that allows us to realise at.tension Festival at this scale and in all its beauty and diversity.
SUMMARY of at.tension festival 2015
at.tension #6 was a complete success – even if you take into account some hiccups along the way. We are also so appreciative of the (almost) countless hours that volunteers put into to the festival – without them at.tension would simply not have been possible. The supporters that donate their time to the festival really are worth so much more than their weight in gold and we can't thank you enough!
We found that we had largely done our homework after the fifth edition of at.tension. Our efforts to deal with the risk of bad weather affecting the many productions that take place outside, as well as the adjustments to improve the ticketing system for limited performances, really paid off in 2015. The queues were mostly acceptable and the atmosphere was always extremely positive.
We're happy with at.tension at its current size and don't want it to grow further – we think 8,000 people is just right to make sure everyone enjoys the size and uniqueness of the site, and to provide enough opportunities to discover, enjoy and marvel at all its amazing nooks and crannies. We're also still pleased with the decision to move the campsite to the island. You didn't seem to mind the distance between your tent and the stages, and it definitely meant that the festival site could be used in a more varied, and therefore more exciting way!
To conclude, just a few comments about our preparations for the next festival's programme. Rest assured that we're busy little bees and are flying out in various different groups to gather ideas and inspiration, to meet with old and new contacts, and to see large and small plays and performances. At the seventh edition of at.tension we want to showcase a whole spectrum of theatre, and to surprise, astonish, delight and stimulate you as much as possible. We also want there to be times when you're scared, shocked or angry – in short, we want to put on an at.tension like you've never experienced before!