The language of the stage is more than just the script, plot, props and set design. The structure of a theatrical space, the lighting and the sound, all add to the theatrical imagery, creating a unique aesthetic experience for the audience.

In recent years, theatre productions in Hong Kong have begun to explore the possibilities of scenography, a concept that has had a major impact on contemporary European theatre. In 2017, in response to these developments, West Kowloon teamed up with Edward Lam Dance Theatre to launch the three-year programme “What Is Stage”.

Through screenings, seminars and workshops, the programme examines the set and stage design aesthetics of contemporary European theatre, looking at the work of Jan Versweyveld from Toneelgroep Amsterdam, Jan Pappelbaum from the Schaubühne Berlin and renowned German stage designer Anna Viebrock. Participants gain a deeper understanding of the role of set designers and the concept of scenography, explore the interplay of text and imagery and the possibilities of time and space, and, via an exploration of contemporary theatre in Europe, reflect on the essence and future of theatre in Hong Kong.

Taking the theme “From Text to Space”, this year’s programme looks at the history and operations of the Schaubühne Berlin, how they work with texts, and how they incorporate the scenographic aesthetics of Jan Pappelbaum. The programme opens in June with a public seminar, followed by a series of screening and discussion sessions in which theatre director Edward Lam introduces nine of the Schaubühne’s works and examines Pappelbaum’s concepts for transforming text and space. In August, Jan Pappelbaum joins Edward Lam to lead a four-day series of artist seminars that guide participants to analyse a script, conceptualise a design and graphic model, and present their visual and textual concepts to an audience. The programme concludes with a second public seminar, where Jan Pappelbaum and Edward Lam challenge participants to rethink perspectives of theatrical space and seeing. 

In a special extension of this year’s programme, participants selected to take part in the screening and discussion sessions will also work with Pappelbaum’s colleague Florian Borchmeyer, Head of Dramaturgy at the Schaubühne Berlin, gaining a deeper understanding of the relationship between text and set design in a five-day artist workshop organised as part of our “Dramaturgy and Beyond” programme.




Public Seminar One

10 June 2018

Edward Lam

Artistic Director, Edward Lam Dance Theatre

Screening and Discussion Series

“Dramaturgy and Beyond” Artist Workshop*

4 to 10 July 2018

11 to 12 July 2018

Edward Lam
Artistic Director, Edward Lam Dance Theatre

Florian Borchmeyer
Head of Dramaturgy, Schaubühne Berlin

Janice Poon
Lecturer (Playwriting) and Academic Project Coordinator, School of Drama, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts

Artist Seminar

6 to 9 August 2018

Jan Pappelbaum

Head of Stage Design, Schaubühne Berlin

Public Seminar Two

10 August 2018

Jan Pappelbaum

Head of Stage Design, Schaubühne Berlin

*Applicants selected to join the Screening and Discussion Sessions are also required to take part in the two-day Artist Workshop led by Florian Borchmeyer (Head of Dramaturgy, Schaubühne Berlin)

Target participants:
The screening and discussion series and artist seminars are aimed at local and overseas theatre professionals working in the field of set design, lighting, costume, sound and imagery, as well as artists, architects and designers.


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