Theater on stilts

The genre

SteLzentheater & theater on stilts

The ensemble deliberately does not use any technical effects, sound technology or stage sets. The actors leave the closed stage space and play in the middle of the audience instead. To be visible, they operate on stilts that are up to 1.60 meters high. In addition to their acting talent, they also show off their perfect body control.

The ensemble has made a name for itself internationally by developing the “theater on stilts” genre.

The genre - theater on stilts

Those who leave the traditional theater in the closed stage space and play outside
leave the orderly and predictable circumstances.
He returns to the original venues of the theater – the agora of the Greeks, the marketplace, the street.

To be visible in these places, the actor uses stilts. They are the smallest stage, a surface that is not even as big as a shoe, but still creates a close connection to the audience. The actors perform in the middle of the audience, at a height of half a meter to two meters. This requires absolute body control.

The actor on stilts enters a room that does not belong to him by itself. He must first conquer the venue: he must be able to attract the audience’s attention with a gesture – this is possible, but there is also the risk of failure.

This shapes the characteristics and aesthetics of the theater on stilts. Only that which is convincing and genuine will have the power to captivate the viewer, even without technical effects. The props are just like a thousand years ago: Sticks, whispering bags, masks, high shoes and stilts.

If the actor then also speaks, he has to face the harsh and unforgiving conditions of the marketplace. No sound of bells reminds us to rest. This theater play is determined by other elements: You have to distil the essentials from texts, condense actions, present complex structures visually. The audience itself forms the theatrical space. This makes the audience a direct part of the performance. This immediacy demands a special presence from the actors.

The encounters between passers-by and the theater constantly create new situations for everyone involved: a frightened dog barks, a baby carriage blocks the way, mothers save their rushing children. Anyone playing on the street has to react spontaneously to the changing circumstances of the location and the audience. He must always expect the unexpected. This form of theater transforms streets, squares and parks into theatrical spaces in which surprisingly completely different contexts become visible than their actual purpose. “Theater on stilts” is one of the liveliest and most direct forms of expression of urban culture.

Under these different conditions, the performances have a particularly unique character. Each production is created as a variation of a developed version.


2012 Ellinor Holland Art Prize:
The production “Licca Line – a long journey to the legendary Damasia” was awarded the Ellinor Holland Art Prize by the Landsberger Tagblatt in 2012.