Frank Heuel founded the fringe ensemble in 1999. Since the 2004/2005 season, the fringe ensemble (along with the dance company CocoonDance) directs and performs in the Theater im Ballsaal: From its beginnings until today, 50 fringe ensemble productions have emerged under the artistic direction of Frank Heuel and continue to be shown in Theater im Ballsaal. Furthermore the fringe ensemble has organized numerous guest performances bringing the highlights of the independent theatre scene to Bonn. In cooperation with other theatres, event series have been developed and staged in Theater im Ballsaal.
With its stage adaptations of great novels – such as William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and Gabriel Garcia Marquez One Hundred Years of Solitude the fringe ensemble has made a name for itself beyond the borders of North Rhine-Westphalia as well as with its semi-documentary theatre productions (such asGrenzgänger or Geschichten+), which deal with issues deriving from society in here and now. Another line followed by the ensemble is in working directly with authors such as the Dutch, Andreas Vonder (Königsmörder), the Bonn writer, Lothar Kittstein (Letzte Tage, Hotel Cairo) or the Latvian, Ivo Briedis (Fiction impossible).
The fringe ensemble is rooted in various national and international networks. Therefore some productions are elaborated with partners in North Rhine-Westphalia, nationwide and abroad – and are shown there. Hitherto existing partners are mainly phoenix5 (Münster), Theater im Pumpenhaus (Münster), Forum Freies Theater (Düsseldorf), Schaubühne Lindenfels (Leipzig). Rote Fabrik (Zürich), United Intimacy (Riga), auawirleben (Bern), De Balie (Amsterdam) are additional to these.
Since 2001, the fringe ensemble repeatedly sought and implemented international collaborations. These co-productions have always been defined by both the partner institutions and the collaboration with the artists from each country. It has created 4 productions with Dutch artists and theatres, 2 Latvian and 1 Swiss production. Rehearsals and performances have taken place in both Germany and the partner country, with artists from both countries on stage, performing in both languages.