Dare optimism with a celebration of new circus, theatre, dance and music

We live in turbulent times. Who would have thought two years ago that the pandemic would last so long, only to be immediately followed by the next crisis, the consequences of which cannot even be guessed at? For no sooner have we recovered a little from the pandemic than since 24 February we find ourselves in a changed world, in a brutal war scenario in the middle of Europe. This war is not only a violent attack against people, but also against a free society, pluralism and diversity. And it has profound political, social and economic consequences that affect us all. Also for us cultural workers, who have already had to fight especially in the pandemic in order to continue to exist.

But we will not be discouraged. Especially now, when war is being waged in Europe against a society that wants to be free, we want to raise our voices against this violence. In solidarity with the victims and in defence of the achievements of a free, plural and diverse society. Our voices form a chorus of utopias, of dreams, of poetry and of concentrated beauty as a counter-design to violence, brutalisation and destruction. With this power we want to celebrate life, even and especially now, to forget the deprivations of recent years and to heal the consequences of oppressive isolation with community and enthusiasm. With dancers, singers, musicians and acrobats, we want to remember who we are and what we love.

With the 32nd edition of our festival, we want to be enablers again and invite artists of all kinds for our diverse audience. We show a wealth of productions that not only entertain, but also entertain. With highly topical theatre that shows attitude without lecturing, with new circus that fascinates with acrobatics and poetry and with lots of music that touches and moves.

Australia's most successful circus companies CIRCA and Gravity And Other Myths take us into their visionary cosms with Sacre and Backbone and share their humanistic messages with us. In My Land, seven Ukrainian acrobats from the company Recirquel present touching and dance-aesthetic circus theatre at the highest level. James Thierrée, superstar of circus dance theatre, makes his festival debut with Mo's, a hilarious collage of live music, acrobatics and dance. Hofesh Shechter returns with his outrageously gifted formation of young international talents; his creation Contemporary Dance 2.0 furiously questions contemporary dance. Mourad Merzouki's new work Zéphyr has his hip-hop dancers dance against the wind in a ludicrous way, and the dancer and choreographer Tian Gao explores the meaning of rivers, memories and identities in River, water as the origin of life, as a border and a place of longing. At the Art Song Slam, the Klangkollektiv Düsseldorf lets the audience decide who has set famous poems to music best, and the Rothko String Quartet plays music from the pens of female composers from the Renaissance to the present under the motto Given Tree at a spectacular venue. And for the finale, Charly Hübner conjures up the spirits of Nick Cave and Franz Schubert in mercy seat - winterreise with the magnificent Ensemble Resonanz. We thank all our partners, supporters, sponsors and friends for their encouragement, support and generosity. The importance of reliable partners has been and is
increasingly important and existential for our festival in recent years. This also applies to a loyal, tirelessly working team.
Look forward to a special festival with us! We look forward to seeing you!

Christiane Oxenfort, Andreas Dahmen and the entire Düsseldorf Festival team!