German stage directors warn against ‘self-censorship’

German stage directors warn against ‘self-censorship’


norman lebrecht

January 14, 2015

The official response of the German Theatre Association to the Charlie Hebdo massacre:

Wir müssen auf der Hut sein vor der Schere im eigenen Kopf. Wo unsere Kunst religiöse Gefühle verletzt, sollten wir Widerspruch und Kritik aushalten und ihr begegnen, aber die Freiheit dazu uns nicht ausreden oder nehmen lassen.

We must be on guard against the scissors inside our heads. Where our art hurts religious feelings, we should face up to opposition and criticism but must not let them take away our freedom.





  • Gerhard says:

    [redacted] A quotation without any link to an original source or any other proof, coupled with a sloppy translation and a picture without explanation of its connection to the text. Even the source of the quoted text is up for guesses. There is no “German Theatre Association”, of course. Are you refering to the Deutscher Bühnenverein? But it is supposed to be “the official response” of whatever organization nevertheless.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      The statement was made on Tuesday by the Intendantengruppe im Deutschen Bühnenverein. Its spokesman is Ulrich Khuon, Intendant of the Deutsches Theaters Berlin and chairman of the Intendantengruppe.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Again, the confusion of ‘freedom’ and ‘civility’. Critique on religion, if serious, is part of normal discourse in the West, but mocking politicians or religions merely to make them look ridiculous, is on the level of pubescent behavior to which adults, or serious artists for that matter, should not sink. The picture says it all: unacceptable on an opera stage, for the right reasons.

    Contemporary ‘Regieoper’ is a product of the sixties when ‘freedom of expression’ got interpreted as ‘anything goes’. There does not exist any art form, in the past or present, where ‘anything goes’. If a form of expression is based upon the notion that ‘anything goes’ it cannot be art, period.

    Reticence concerning moslem sensitivities should be practiced not out of fear for terrorism, but out of concern for the moslem communities who are continually associated with atrocities being triggered by primitive interpretations of ‘freedom of expression’. How could they complete integration if this process is disrupted by insensitive and stupid ‘expression’?

  • Anon says:

    Well, they warn a bit late. Censorship due to fear of reprisal attacks by extremists are the reality already. Eight years ago Deutsche Oper Berlin canceled all performances of Idomeneo, because part of the staging was showing the cut off heads of Buddha, Jesus, Poseidon and Mohammed. The theater had received threats of violence from Islamic sources only, not from the other represented religions.

    • John Borstlap says:

      How silly & stupid to want to present Idomeneo in that way. I rest my case.

      • Anon says:

        You are mistaking aversion against bad taste with suppression of freedom of speech and freedom of artistic expression.
        You are aligning yourself with totalitarian ideology, if you applaud to censorship of artistic expression, due to violence threats by religious extremists.
        It is your duty as a citizen of the free world, to defend the freedom of speech against religious extremists. Even Jonathan Meese’s one!

  • Papageno says:

    Personally, I will only support self-censorship when it applies to giving oral sex to helpless upside-down Nazi aliens. Poor thing must have been traumatized on its return trip home to Venus.

    • John Borstlap says:

      At Venus they had been ill-prepared as to Regietheater on earth… they had assumed opera was an art form and when some of them went undercover as stage extras, to further research the matter, they got the shock of their life (according to the Venus Daily, front page September 2013).

  • La di da says:

    what ever…
    The german Theater runs into absolut absourdity. This here sounds to me as another excuse to make what they make, another opportunity to make advertisment for their absourd.
    I am sick and tired of that junk.

    I am also sick and tired of the “usage” of the tragedy in Paris for all kinds of puposes! Inocent people have bin killed are still killed by all kinds of idiots with all kinds if agendas and the World is speaks no word…