They Present Themselves. Views of the Audience A Small Homage to Our Audiences:
75 Years of Ruhrfestspiele in Images of Their Patrons
Curated by Andreas Rossmann
The year is 1949. A group of workers look at a poster announcing the first “Ruhr-Festspiele.” Their bodies display a certain tension, perhaps in anticipation of this upcoming event. Unfortunately, we cannot see their faces. What would they tell us? In the 75 years since the festival’s inception, we have collected thousands of production photos. Audience members, by contrast, can rarely be found on those images. Who are they? What do they look like? What defines them? Are they special or simply ordinary people? How did they change over time? This small photographic exhibition surely will not be able to provide a definitive answer to these questions. But it is an important first step to investigate one of our festival’s most important groups of people: our patrons. After all, theater is a spectator sport. We all had to learn the hard way last year that theater does not happen without an audience. The performing arts need the constant exchange between artists and the public to come to life. We therefore proudly present images of our audience members to our audience members. In a gesture of gratitude, we would like to pay homage to our patrons with an exhibition that chronicles spectatorship over time. It might help us answer an essential question: What do you think?
We are currently working on a publication to accompany this exhibition.