Die Theater Chemnitz, The Festival Academy Brussels and the European Capital of Culture Chemnitz 2025 are jointly organising “Theater der Welt” in 2026

Initiated in the late 1970s by the International Theatre Institute – Centre Germany (ITI), the festival has since been held every three years in a different German city. It is considered one of the most important events of the international theatre scene and is a showcase for current aesthetic developments in the performing arts worldwide.

The awarding of the 17th edition to Saxony was unanimously accepted by the board of the International Theatre Institute as a result of an application process. After Hamburg 2017, Düsseldorf 2021 and Offenbach-Frankfurt 2023, the festival is now coming back to Saxony after exactly 30 years, since the 1996 edition in Dresden.

Since winning the title of European Capital of Culture 2025 three years ago, the city of Chemnitz has continuously focused on firmly anchoring art and culture in their many facets in the city’s society. With the “Theater der Welt”-Festival immediately following the title year, Chemnitz remains at the centre of international attention and at the same time lays another important foundation stone for a lasting after-effect of the Capital of Culture process for the people in the city and in the cultural region.

The concept for the 2026 Theatre Festival:

Partnership, equality, sustainability, interdisciplinarity and digitality become the basis in building and constellating this nationally and internationally collaborative team. The overall management sees itself as a “global, artistic and organisational team”.

Die Theater Chemnitz, The Festival Academy from Brussels and the European Capital of Culture Chemnitz 2025 GmbH will jointly sponsor the festival and implement it together. For the first time in the history of “Theater der Welt”, a municipal theatre with all five sections is leading the application together with an internationally renowned cultural management from Belgium under the reinforcement of a Capital of Culture organisation.

The festival management, consisting of the general director of the Theater Chemnitz Christoph Dittrich, Inge Ceustermans, general director of the NGO The Festival Academy Brussels and Stefan Schmidtke, managing director of the programme of the European Capital of Culture Chemnitz 2025 GmbH, is preparing the establishment of an international team of curators. This team, consisting of curators from all continents, will be responsible for the artistic content of the programme.

Comments on the awarding of the festival to Chemnitz:

Claudia Roth, Minister of State for Culture and Media of the Federal Republic of Germany: “With Theater der Welt, an internationally important event of the theatre scene is coming to Chemnitz. Theater der Welt stands for diversity and openness, for different influences and forms of expression, which is not only enriching for the performing arts, but also for social interaction. Theater der Welt 2026 can draw on networks and infrastructure that Chemnitz has built up as European Capital of Culture 2025. In this way, Chemnitz can give new impetus to the festival and the Chemnitz Festival. I wish the team in Chemnitz every success.”

Christoph Dittrich, artistic director of the Theater Chemnitz: “The reality of life in the city of Chemnitz is full of intense expectations, the multifaceted process of change is tangible every day. With the international festival, the people of the city and the theatre gain an extension of the experiences of the Capital of Culture 2025. We look forward to a far-reaching programme of international art that can open up the world view with creative power and at the same time strengthen the self-confident regional re-location.”

Yvonne Büdenhölzer, President of the German ITI Centre: “The concept of Theater Chemnitz, the European Capital of Culture Chemnitz 2025 GmbH and The Festival Academy from Brussels bundles national and global cultural management and curating resources in a sustainable and convincing way. The board is finally awarding the festival to an East German city again.”

Sven Schulze, Mayor of Chemnitz: “The people of Chemnitz are hospitable and cosmopolitan. We are proud to welcome artists from all over the world to our city in 2026. The developments triggered by the Capital of Culture process point to continuity. We see that work in cultural development pays off through recognition. We are looking forward to a great theatre festival.”

from left to right: Marcus Droß, Yvonne Büdenhölzer, Dr. Ralph Philipp Ziegler, Claudia Roth, Anselm Weber, Matthias Wagner K, Anna Wagner, Christoph Dittrich, Dagmar Ruscheinsky, Inge Ceustermans

Foto: Christian Schuller