Public Seminar Two: Jan Pappelbaum’s Aesthetics of Scenography

To wrap up this year’s “What Is Stage: From Text To Space” series on the work of Jan Pappelbaum, Head of Stage Design at the Schaubühne Berlin, we are delighted to welcome Pappelbaum to join us in Hong Kong to share his experience in an in-depth public seminar.

The interior of the Schaubühne, where Pappelbaum has worked for almost twenty years, has a unique spatial design. Housed in a former cinema, the building has retained its original exterior form but undergone extensive modification of the inner structure to create three theatre spaces that can be merged and adapted to fit the requirements of ​​each production.

In conversation with Edward Lam and West Kowloon’s Low Kee Hong, Pappelbaum will talk about how his work has been created in response to the Schaubühne’s unusual features, and how his designs create infinite possibilities within these spaces for different types of texts and performances, challenging audiences to rethink perspectives of theatrical space and seeing. 

The seminar is free and open to theatre professionals and those with an interest in contemporary theatre.

10 August 2018 (Friday) 


The Hong Kong Jockey Club Amphitheatre, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (1 Gloucester Rd, Wan Chai)

Jan Pappelbaum (Head of Stage Design, Schaubühne, Berlin)

Low Kee Hong (Head of Theatre, Performing Arts, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority)
Edward Lam (Artistic Director, Edward Lam Dance Theatre)

Free admission. Limited capacity on a first come, first served basis. 


Mr Yu: (852) 2200 0804, 

Adverse Weather Arrangements:
If a black rainstorm warning, or a typhoon signal no. 8 or above is in force three hours before the start of the talk, the talk will be cancelled.

About the Speaker:

Jan Pappelbaum
Head of Stage Design, Schaubühne Berlin

Photo: Silke Briel

Jan Pappelbaum was born in 1966 in Dresden, former East Germany. Between 1988 and 1993, after training as a bricklayer, he studied architecture at the Bauhaus University Weimar and at the Vienna University of Technology. In Weimar, parallel to his studies, he worked as a set designer for a Faust project, helping to create a separate temporary theater space for the performance, and making contact with young directing students from Berlin with whom he still collaborates today.

After graduation, Pappelbaum began his career as a stage designer, working mainly in unconventional theatre spaces where the stage architecture could be specially designed for each production, for example with Thomas Ostermeier in the Baracke, the alternative performance space of the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, with Andrea Moses at the Fabrik-Theater in Dresden and with Robert Schuster and Tom Kühnel in the Bockenheimer Depot in Frankfurt am Main.

Since 2000, he has worked as stage designer and head of installation with director Thomas Ostermeier at the Schaubühne Berlin, where the unique performance spaces can be adapted to fit the staging requirements of ​​each production. At the Schaubühne, Pappelbaum has created nearly fifty set designs, both for Ostermeier and other directors such as Falk Richter, Tom Kühnel, Patrik Wengenroth, Armin Petras, James McDonald and Constanza Macras. He has also produced sets for productions in Avignon, Amsterdam, Moscow, Lausanne, Tallinn and Vienna. Since 2014, he has created sets for opera productions by director Andrea Moses in Berlin, Stuttgart, Weimar, Salzburg and Vienna. Pappelbaum  accompanies many guest performances of his work and has led workshops in Moscow, Venice, Oslo and Ramallah.

About the Co-moderators:

Low Kee Hong
Head of Theatre, Performing Arts, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority

Low is the Head of Theatre at the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. He is responsible for formulating the district’s artistic direction and strategies for Drama and Theatre Arts.

In this role, Low has overseen the launch and co-presentation of several projects and programmes that engages in new discussion and discourse around contemporary modes of creation.

Before joining West Kowloon, Low was the Artistic Director and General Manager of the Singapore Arts Festival from 2009 to 2012. He was also General Manager of the Singapore Biennale from 2005 to 2009.

Edward Lam
Artistic Director, Edward Lam Dance Theatre

Artistic Director and Theatre Director of Edward Lam Dance Theatre. He founded Zuni Icosahedron with friends in the early 1980s, and established Edward Lam Dance Theatre during his residence in London (1989 to 1995). Since returning to Hong Kong in 1995, he has devoted himself to theatre and directed 58 original works. Lam was awarded the Best Director in Modern Drama Valley’s One Drama Award in 2010 for his work Men and Women, War and Peace, and in 2012 for The Doppelgänger, and in 2017 for What is Sex. Lam was give the Artist of the Year (Theatre) award by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council in 2017. His latest work, Why We Chat will re-run in Hong Kong in June 2018.

Recent books include Leading Ladies of the Mandarin Cinema (2014), and his first book on directing, Who is Afraid of Edward Lam, published by Performing Arts Review in Taiwan in 2016.