LOKSTOFF! takes the liberty of acting where life takes place!

Biography of Lokstoff!
Theater im öffentlichen Raum

LOKSTOFF! has been existing since October 2003, as a incorporated society. The theatre was founded by Wilhelm Schneck, Kathrin Hildebrand, Andrea Leonetti and Paul Varkonyi. Since 2009 Wilhelm Schneck, Kathrin Hildebrand and Alexa Steinbrenner are leading it.

Referring to the specific specifications of the projects, the team is completed by collegues, directors, visual artists, architects, desginer and artists from other professsional groups.

We work as an open and dedicated group. Our themes circulate about the problems and challenges of an urban society, who is living with the risk, that the people get more and more abandoned from themselves, their work and the public space. LOKSTOFF! doesn't only play in and for the public space, but also about it. We broach the issue of the public space in its political, cultural and urban dimension, to sensitize the spectators for the actual problems and to invite them to think about it. LOKSTOFF! considers itself as a social engaged theatre, which sticks up for the protection and stabilization for the public space.

We search for concrete places, which reflect the actual, urban every day life, where architecture and infrastructure bundle up life and where people get together. The places grow stronger by the performance. Reality, fiction and interaction intertwine. The place with its people influence the performance, it is the impetus. The perception of the public space changes for the spectators, a well as for the passersby. Normaly, we use the places for our performances as they are. We don't build scenery and we don't use additional light.

The rehearsals and performances in the public space draw also attention to people, who go to theatre rarely. Passersby often come back as spectators. Especially young people are attracted by the unusual places and the direct action. Our aim is to play productions as long as possible, so that they exist as reality in the city.

Since 2003 we have realized 19 productions and have reached about 120.000 spectators.

2010 we started our international work. Since then, we have a cooperation with the theatre "Altidan Sonra" from Istanbul and the theatre "Na Perone" from Kosice/Slovakia. In 2010, we had a guest performance in Istanbul, in 2012 we were invited to the festival "Use the City" in Kosice in Slovakia.

Biography of the participants

artistic direction / actor / director

Wilhelm Schneck was born in 1967. He looks back to a theatre biography of more than twenty years. He absolved his education as an actor at the "Theater tri-bühne" in Stuttgart. For more than 15 years he worked in the ensemble as an actor. He worked with international directors as Gábor Zsámbéki, Valerie Fokin, Miriam Goldschmidt, Peter Scherhaufer. 2003 he founded "LOKSTOFF! Theater im öffentlichen Raum". Since 2006 he also has been working as a director in successfull productions. For LOKSTOFF! he directed "Push up 1-3" and "Waidmannsheil". He also works for international film- and TV-productions. 2004 he awarded the price for innovation for LOKSTOFF!

› www.wilhelm-schneck.de

artistic direction / actress

Since 25 years Kathrin Hildebrand has been working in theatre and has been seen in more than 50 characters. Her repertoire stretches out over "Mepisto" from Goethe to "Célimène" from Molière up to "Erna" in "Präsidentinnen" by Schwab. Her engagements let her from the "Staatstheater Stuttgart" to "Altes Schauspielhaus", "Theater tri-bühne" Stuttgart, etc. 2003 she founded together with Wilhelm Schneck "LOKSTOFF! Theater im öffentlichen Raum", where she still is in the artistic direction and plays in every production as an actress. She can be seen in several film- and TV-productions, and works as a speaker for commercials, features, radio dramas. She awarded the price for innovation with LOKSTOFF! in 2004. In "Waidmannsheil" she plays the part of "Christel".

› www.kathrin-hildebrand.de

Stuttgart's Lokstoff:
Taking Theatre To The City

(Yvonne Pöppelbaum - Tain l'Hermitage, southern France - 05.03.2008
Translation: Lucy Davies)

No curtains, no stage. No cushioned rows of seats, no peep-show principle. The Stuttgart theatre group perform outside in urban spaces, right where the action is - be it in an airport, train station, underground station or buses driving their daily routes. A service bus, central Stuttgart. A completely normal bus stop. A man steps on. No free seats - he stands in the middle, holds on and looks confused. Why are they all chanting? Something is not quite right here. Next stop - The bus passengers are still chanting. Obviously unsettled, the man takes flight and leaves the bus. What was that? A 'mischance'? The bus is not in service; it's a theatre bus with an audience and actors instead of real passengers. The passenger who inadvertently got on at the bus stop is an involuntary actor in Vorher/ Nachher ('Backwards/ Forwards'), based on Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis  (1916).

Formed in 2002 by three actors, Kathrin Hildebrand, Wilhelm Schneck and Andrea Leonetti, Lokstoff have earned themselves an outstanding reputation within Stuttgart's cultural scene. 'Even young people or people who are not classical theatre goers watch our performances. That, of course, makes us really happy,' says Lokstoff's manager Tom Schößler.

Lokstoff turn the rules upside down by organising a venue before searching for a play. The only requirement is that everyone must be able to access the location. 'The ideal performance venue must by all accounts play a public role,' says Schößler. There must be passersby - for example in the Charlottenplatz underground station in Stuttgart. It's a hub of the city 'with scruffy, dirty corners,' explains Schößler. 'Lots of people pass by everyday. We want to sensitise people to their surroundings through our theatre. We want to get something out of the place that people don’t notice at first glance.'

Each performance is a new challenge in which not only the content of the play and the actors lead. The setting, audience and passersby can also take on their own roles. Lokstoff founder Hildebrand says that 'as an actress, what is special is that every evening’s performance is different and exciting due to its confrontation with reality.'

Theatre at the gate
It is not only at bus stops that the actors ambush passersby, but at underground stations, the train station and the airport. Kathrin Hildebrand remembers an incident during a performance of Top Dogs at Stuttgart airport. 'We were playing in a waiting lounge behind security. I was a trainer in an outplacement agency who was preparing a redundant manager to get back into the job market,' she says. 'In one scene I confront a colleague about his redundancy to make him come to terms with his situation in the outplacement agency. My fellow actor had to react strongly to that, scream out loud and tear the clothes from his body.'

Suddenly a 'real' manager emerged amongst the audience, dripping with sweat and rushing around. I had to tell him straightaway where the flight to London left from. I told him he should calm down, that he had definitely booked another seminar and sent him to the airport information desk. The 'real' manager had then angrily begun a conversation with me and after a little while ran away swearing. The performance carried on, but by this time the audience were no longer quite sure whether it was 'real' or if the man was an actor.

Passersby watch the performances, but that does not worry the actors. 'On the contrary,' says Schößler. 'Up until now we have had only good experiences. People watch and then ask when the play is starting and where they can get tickets.' There the passers by are already part of the action, inside the Lokstoff theatre. After all that is part of the concept. According to Schößler, 'we are using our freedom to perfom there, taking the theatre to the city.'

Contact us

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