fringe ensemble from Bonn, Germany, exists since 1999 as a free theatre-group. Since then, its founder and artistic leader Frank Heuel has developed and produced more than 80 pieces, series and projects with his professional ensemble.
theaterimballsaal, a free theatre-house in Bonn, is the basis for the productions and performances. Guest performances take place for example at FFT Düsseldorf, Theater im Pumpenhaus Münster, Schaubühne Lindenfels in Leipzig, studiobühneköln or – with the pieces that has been established within an international contexts – at foreign countries, as lately in Warsaw (Poland), Rijeka (Croatia) or even Cape Coast, Ghana. In 2016 a serie of different collaborations with turkish theatre has been developed.
With his site-specific projects fringe ensemble resettles every now and then: Into desolate embassies for instance, public spaces or swimming-halls. It changes vacant restaurants into multimedia meeting points or creates special Open-Air-work-spaces in the middle of nowhere.
Since a few years, a strong focus lies on the cooperation with authors from all over Europe: Under the label fringe writers new pieces and formats are developed, that set specific rules for the authors and their texts. This is how each time multi-perspective, formally multilayered material is created: In 2011 “Finnland” was developed with four European authors, from 2012 till 2014 in cooperation with Schaubühne Lindenfels in Leipzig fringe ensemble produced the project “Völkerschlachten”, that brought nine authors from different European countries together and led to the production “Vor den Hunden – Theater aus Europa” in 2014. in 2016 the production “Macbeth over Europe” was created by Frank Heuel in collaboration with authors from Germany, Russia, Croatia, France and Turkey.
Further fringe ensemble adopts novels and movies for the stage – latest “Die Pest” (The Plague) 2014, and “Moby Dick” 2015 – and develops semi-documentary productions on the basis of interviews, among others “Geschichten Getürkt” for die Bonn biennial 2007, “I said The Things You Told Me Not To Say” 2009, “fremdKörper” 2016.
Since 2013 director Frank Heuel and stage designer Annika Ley develop productions in the experimental format “Raum01” (ff), where space and stage function as a player and performer itself and the audience is asked to go for an expedition in order to have a special encounter with different material and actors.
The work is connected by a way of acting and an aesthetic, which is characterized by its free way of dealing with imputation of roles, its focus on language and its quitting with strict narrative forms.
Next to the productions that are artistically led by Frank Heuel, within the last years projects also has been developed by ensemble-members, e.g. by musician and composer Gregor Schwellenbach, or the actors Andreas Meidinger, Severien Hoensbroech and Bettina Marugg.
fringe ensemble international
Already since 2001 fringe ensemble has been working in international contexts. The first international projects took place with partners from the Netherlands, Latvia, Poland and Switzerland. In 2012 the German-Polish production „Niemands Land / Ziemia niczyja“ with actors from Teatr Powzechny in Warsaw had its premiere and in 2015 the German-Ghanaian project “Black Water” has first been shown in Bonn and later on in 2016 in Cape Coast, Ghana as well. Within the framework of his residency by Kunststiftung NRW in Istanbul, since the beginning of 2016 Frank Heuel has established a network from theater-artists and -places, that fringe ensemble will artistically work with closely. “See the world through my eyes / Dünyaya Gözlerimden Bak“ with the group D22 was the first of „4Projekte Istanbul“ followed by “Lost in Language/Dilde Kayboluş“ in cooperation with Kumbaraci50.
Artistic work in an intercultural context
Intercultural projects have been developed by fringe ensemble since 2014. In “AUFBRÜCHE” teenagers from various countries were involved, which has been forced into the difficult situation to establish a perspective in Germany – but always under the threat of deportation. In the project “UN-flüchtig” the ensemble worked with Syrian refugees in Bonn on different topics connected to escape and arrival and presented the results in diverse formats. In 2017 the ensemble founded an intercultural speaking choir for the citizens of Bonn.