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The Pyromantiker, a Berlin-based troupe with strong roots in the theatre culture of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), create performances which are a unique blend of anarchic clowning, pyrotechnic spectacle and a community-building experience for all ages.  From the beginning their work has been broad-ranging: the core team of the ‘Pyromantics’ -- Oliver Dassing and Marlis Hirche, both born in the former GDR --- direct and perform both their own works and for other companies; create pieces which serve both children and adults; their ‘poetic slapstick fireworks’ productions are performed both indoors and outside, and they have created both tourable shows and site-specific performances in historical spaces.

Their integration of fireworks and theatre is utilized to explore international concerns, such as global warming and the dangers of a ‘throw-away society’, but with clowning and a responsiveness to the audience which prevents didacticism. Despite the ‘localness’ of some of their figures, such as the Mudder and Vadder (mother and father) Schulten duo from deepest Mecklenburg, a state in the former GDR sector of Germany, their work has toured internationally to great acclaim. Their performance structures are open enough to allow adaptation to place and audience where necessary, sometimes to the extent of crafting an individual audience experience (in the case of their ‘theatre labyrinths’).

The group’s name encapsulates their theatre philosophy. As Silvia Brendenal, Artistic Director of the Schaubude (Berlin’s specialist puppetry and object theatre, founded in 1993), explains: 

"PYRO indicates that many of their performances work with theatrically integrated pyrotechnic elements... ROMANTIKER hints at the very essence of their artistic work, which believes in the ability of (theatre) arts to change the world, which still views the performance space as a place for the realisation of dreams and desires.“   

Bronwyn Tweddle [Victoria University of Wellington]

To cite this article: Bronwyn Tweddle (2013) ‘The Anarchy of the Theatrical Moment’: A profile of The Pyromantiker, Performance - Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts, 18:1, 95-103 - To link to this full article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2013.789250

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