On the way

Munich Biennale for New Music Theatre 2024

People and societies are constantly on the move, on the way, travelling “into the unknown”. They develop, they make progress – not always willingly, often suffering and in the face of great resistance. We live in an era of transition. Wars, climate change and globalisation are driving millions of people from their homelands, the flow of migrants is greater than ever – which means huge changes for those leaving, but also for those arriving. The struggle to maintain the dominant narrative as well as an all-pervasive digitalisation signifies a permanent disruption in circumstances and transformation at an accelerated tempo.

The “Munich Biennale for New Music Theatre” is a festival of world premieres that both seeks and accompanies change and, in the upcoming edition, interrogates contemporary forms of movement and transition. By investigating transformations in the world, in society, in the family and in individuals’ bodies and brains, the Biennale reveals movement to be a complex nexus, a network of political, social and geographical shifts made up of highways, one-way streets, dead ends, construction sites and workshops. Accordingly, the 2024 edition of the festival will focus on escape routes, shortcuts, dream destinations, persecution and change.

The concept of “On the way”, which is our fifth and last programme as artistic directors, is designed to position the Biennale once more as a thematically oriented festival. For us, “On the way” means looking at the process of incessant change first detected in antiquity from the perspective of an evolution accelerated by human hand and, together with the invited artists, presenting completely different concepts of artistic roads running parallel, counter-movements and/or shortcuts. “On the way” makes the case for musical theatre to participate in the emerging patterns of movement of the present and near future. Futile?

Free art is supposedly free to choose its own goals, but in reality, it is about people, poetry and justice. And this is exactly what the next edition of the Munich Biennale negotiates, maybe merely questioningly, searchingly, fumbling forward. But that might also be a path. And we would be delighted if you would join us!

Daniel Ott and Manos Tsangaris

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