Chris Dercon leaves Berlin’s Volksbühne Theatre

Volksbühne Theatre


Just under a year into his tenure as the director of Berlin’s Volksbühne Theatre, Chris Dercon has stepped down from his post, The Art Newspaper reports. The former director of Tate Modern accepted the appointment in 2015 as a replacement for Frank Castorf (who had directed the theatre for nearly 25 years), officially taking up the position in 2017. Dercon's appointment has been met with sustained opposition since the beginning. In 2016, German culture professionals penned an open letter expressing their concern about his future plans for the theatre, while protests were organised throughout August and September 2017 (during which excrement was left outside his office door), leading to a six-day occupation of the the theatre by anti-gentrification groups.

Dercon’s programme during his tenure has included performances and screenings by Tino Sehgal, Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and the theatre is currently showing Yael Bartana’s film and performance project, What If Women Ruled The World? as well as a staging of Samuel Beckett’s Not I (1972), Footfalls (1976) and Eh, Joe (1965).

In a statement released by Berlin’s culture senator Klaus Lederer: ‘Both parties have agreed that the concept of Chris Dercon did not work out as hoped, and the Volksbühne needs a fresh start immediately. [Following] the amicable agreement between the culture senator [Klaus] Lederer and Dercon, there is now a chance to initiate this necessary reboot.’

The Volksbühne’s managing director Klaus Dorr has been appointed acting director.

Read J.J. Charlesworth’s article about the protests leading up to Dercon’s directorship of the Volksbühne here