Performing Arts Heritage 2023

Brief descriptions of selected projects for 2023

Premiers théâtres suisses

The event at the University of Lausanne on 14/15 September 2023 will bring together specialists in the history of theatre who represent a variety of different methodologies and are interested in theatrical practices in all of Switzerland’s language regions between 1450 and 1650 to present their recent and current projects from a comparative perspective and explore the origins of Swiss theatre holistically for the first time. The organisers aim to create a forum for researchers, archivists, artists and educa-tors with an interest in Switzerland’s Early Modern theatrical heritage to share knowledge. The ultimate goal of the event is to create interdisciplinary networks that can play a part in developing this domain and combining academic research, emerging digital tools, performing arts archives, teaching and ar-tistic practices to revive and update Switzerland’s historical repertoires in both performance and edu-cation. Where academic and artistic endeavour meet, theatrical heritage (both tangible and intangible) will be preserved, celebrated and mediated.


Les souffleurs de temps

How can we give archived documents and objects a new lease of life? What happened to them be-fore they were hidden away in a safe place to lie dormant for years? Why not wake them up so they can tell us their stories? Just as a prompter in the theatre whispers forgotten lines to the cast during a performance, these “time whisperers” – a collection of 15 documents and objects from the SAPA (Swiss Archive of the Performing Arts) Foundation’s collections – softly recount their forgotten past. Short, vividly poetic tales shed light on real history, particularly that of the performing arts. They will be available as text and audio on a dedicated website, accompanied by 2D and 3D images of each “time whisperer”. Blending fact and fiction, this project aims to appeal to a broad audience by bring-ing archives to life in a format that infuses historical research and cultural mediation with literary, sonic and digital artistry.

Informations :

Oskar Eberle (1902-1956)

Oskar Eberle, theatre expert, director and exponent of the professionalisation of Swiss theatre, played a key role in discourse on theatre in Switzerland in the 20th century. His open-air performances in Lucerne, Einsiedeln (Welttheater) and Vevey (Fête des Vignerons) set new standards for the revival of amateur dramatics. As co-founder and managing director of the Swiss Association for Theatre Studies (SGTK), he lobbied for new training facilities as well as a documentation and research centre. His life and work were chronicled in a research project led by Heidy Greco and supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation: The plan is now to create a travelling exhibition based on the study’s materials and findings that provides an insight into how Oskar Eberle lived and worked. The exhibition will be accompanied by stage readings and talks by experts that will also feature audience discussions. It will open on 18 August 2023 in Schwyz before touring locations that were central to Eberle’s career.  

Contact: Heidy Greco-Kaufmann, Mail


Documentary film series Choreographers at Work!

The documentary series Choreographers at Work! by Mona de Weerdt and Michelle Ettlin is dedicated to working practices in contemporary dance. Choreographers from different parts of Switzerland and different generations are filmed throughout the entire creative process. Moments of exploration, re-hearsal and creation are captured on film, shifting the receptive gaze away from the performance as an aesthetic event and towards the structures and dynamics, temporalities, spatialities and aesthetics as well as the materiality and intersubjectivity of rehearsal processes. Episodes of around 20–30 minutes are created from the material collected. They enable audiences to experience creative pro-cesses and rehearsals, which usually take place behind closed doors. The project thus aims to foster outreach and accessibility, as well as documenting and preserving Swiss dance culture. Aided by a grant from the Federal Office of Culture in 2020, eight portraits have already been produced. These can be viewed on the website and are also shown at festivals and universities. Going forward, the project will focus more on diversity.

Contact: Mail


Festival cultural heritage, dance!

cultural heritage, dance! aims to keep Switzerland’s dance heritage alive. It is inspired by the French concept Danse en amateur et répertoire (Amateur and Repertory Dance), which has been running for more than 12 years and seeks to promote non-professional dancers beyond just training. The Swiss version focuses on raising the profile of the country’s choreographic and dance heritage and breath-ing new life into it. Professional dancers work with motivated semi-professional and amateur troupes on a piece from the 20th- and 21st-century repertoire and present a short extract from it at the festival. This brings important Swiss dance works to a wider audience. The third edition of cultural heritage, dance! will take place from 9 to 11 June 2023 at the Théâtre du Jura in Delémont. The festival was first held in June 2019 at the Südpol in Lucerne with support from Dance as Cultural Heritage 2018. The second edition in April and June 2022 took place at La Poste in Visp and the Dampfzentrale Bern.

Contact: Mail