Research laboratories

Within the two Research Laboratories YELLOW and BLUE, teams of three artists each from the areas of composition, music and theater play will collaborate. Between mid-January and early March, the teams will meet twice for 3-day sessions to work on the question of what muscial theater for the very young might look like. They will try things out, discard some of them, experiment with and discuss about others. They might develop a scene/sketch or an approach. In the process, Sebastian Hanusa and Tamara Schmidt of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Dagmar Damrös of Theater o.N. will accompany and support them.

Just prior to the FRATZ Symposium, a general meeting about this work will take place among the three Laboratories, involving all the contributing artists together. Here they will prepare a presentation for the plenary meeting at the symposium.

On March 11, the processes and results from the Research Laboratories will be made public for the accredited visiting industry professionals. The teams will show their scenes, speak about their working process and answer questions from the plenary. Together with the artists involved in the invited productions and the artists from the Sound Laboratory, we want to discuss the potential within musical theater for the very youngest spectators.


Laboratory BLUE
Sabine Akiko Ahrendt
Neele Hülcker
Günther Lindner

Laboratory Yellow
Florian Bergmann
Benedikt Bindewald
Minouche Petrusch

Coaches: Sebastian Hanusa (Dramaturg German Opera Berlin); Tamara Schmidt (musictheater pedagogue, direction Young German Opera)

Idea and Concept: Dorothea Hartmann and Dagmar Domrös in Cooperation with Happy New Ears Festival, Annett Israel


Sabine Akiko Ahrendt | Violin
Sabine Akiko Ahrendt is a violinist/performer and media artist. Her musical focus lies along the lines of more-or-less-traditional violin playing in concert formats with a performative, space-oriented approach also involving electric instruments and sound modulators (such as computer, keyboard, talkbox, whammy pedal, vocoder etc.) As violinist for new experimental music she plays with Ensemble Garage (Cologne), Ensemble Contrechamps (Geneva), she is co-founder of radikal translation und PRAESENZ [radical translation and presence] and is a guest artist in concert with groups Ensemble Modern, the MusikFabrik, the Ensemble Resonanz and Kaleidoskop. For several years she has devoted herself increasingly to freely improvised music and has developed experimental formats with grade school classes, i.e. field recordings, spatial compositions and workshops in soldering for Piezo synthesizers.
Her studies were in Frankfurt, Berlin, Hannover and Budapest (in violin and philosophy) and since 2015, media and fine art at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne.
Sabine Akiko Ahrendt has won a scholarship from the International Ensemble Modern Akademie in Frankfurt, a Kranichsteiner Award during International Summer Courses for New Music Darmstadt, a scholarship at Pact Zollverein and the German album critics' prize for a CD featuring the works of Adriana Hölszky (wergo). Further CD recordings available from Edition wandelweiser, musiques suisses, naïve classique.

Neele Hülcker | Composition
Neele Hülcker was born in 1987 in Hamburg. She completed composition studies with Dieter Mack and Harald Muenz in Lübeck, with Tapio Nevanlinna in Helsinki and with Franz Martin Olbrisch and Manos Tsangaris in Dresden and now works in the area of sound art, muscial theater, performance, instrumental and electronic music. She has won prizes and awards such as the Andreas Werkmeister Prize, the Aribert Reimann Scholarship, the Carl Maria von Weber Scholarship and the Berlin Scholarship at the Academy of Arts Berlin. She was also featured in a solo exhibit at the Leonhardi Museum in Dresden. She can list an honorable array of performances of her work: at Wittener Tagen für Neue Kammermusik [music festival for contemporary chamber music in Witten, Germany], Blurred Edges Festival Hamburg, Klangwerkstatt Berlin [a festival for new music], eigenarten Festival Hamburg, etc., and an array of collaborations: with Eva Zöllner, Frauke Aulbert, Carola Schaal, DuoLUXA, Ensemble Radar, mam. Manufaktur für aktuelle Musik, ensemble ascolta, and others.
Since May 25, 2011, she and the writer Elisabeth Hager have been engaged in the lifelong Projekt TAGE [Project DAYS]. Both of them have agreed by contract to speak the date of each day out loud and record this act daily for the rest of their lives. The recordings are made public once a year.

Günther Lindner | Puppeteer, builder and scenic artist
Born in 1948 to parents who had a bakery, Günther Lindner grew up in the very rural small town of Mühlhausen in northwest Thüringen. After he finished school, there followed a pastry chef apprenticeship and basic military service. Through evangelical [Lutheran Protestant] theology studies in Jena, he hoped to gain freedom from the ideological dictates of the GDR regime and the bourgeois “establishment”. In Jena in 1970 he encountered the worlds of the arts and theater for the first time. Once he had completed his university exams and a vicariate internship at a church in Halle, in 1977 he decided to leave theology and to devote himself entirely to artistic work, starting with a beginning actor's position at the newly founded Staatlichen Puppentheater Neubrandenburg [National Puppet Theater of Neubrandenburg].
In Neubrandenburg he met most of the future members of the theater group “zinnober”, whom he then joined in 1980 in the group's founding in Berlin.
Already at that time, his understanding of theater was marked by a concept of a process of constant transformation in which the outcomes are shaped from biographical and political-social influences within the work as a collective. Despite being monitored and controlled by various organs of political party and national leadership, the group still managed to hold together, even through its internal crises, until 1989. This period gave rise to widely noted productions, acclaimed by festival prizes, for children and adults such as “Einszweidreivierfünfsechssieben”, [“1234567”], “traumhaft” [“dreamy”] or “Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten” [“The Bremen Town Musicians”].
Along with his performing activity, scenic arts have become became a stronger part of Günther Lindner's work. Besides constructing malleable wooden puppet sculptures for the plays, he has always been interested in the surprising outcomes that can emerge from the two-dimensionality of paper and flat figures. Pop-up techniques and mechanical groups of figures in the tradition of theatrum mundi are also part of this exploration. Since 1989, he has supported and co-created throughout the many upheavals that have re-shaped the old zinnober theater, now mostly known as Theater o.N.

Florian Bergmann | Saxophonist, clarinetist and composer
Florian Bergmann was born in 1984 in Berlin. In 2012 he founded the contemporary chamber music ensemble “Trio Transmitter”, which is shaped by his work as curator, composer and bass clarinetist. The ensemble was awarded funding by the Initiative Neue Musik Berlin in 2015. He is director of the group “Cobalt Cluster”, which meld his compositions with free improvisations. The quartet gives regular concerts and brought out a first CD of his work on Umlaut Records (2015).
Since 2011, he has been working with the sounds of everyday objects within in the framework of his electro-acoustic research project “Sonic Essence”. The outcomes of this work so far have been the interdisciplinary composition “paysages façonnés”, music for the staged dance performance “The Wood Project” and multiple concerts with improvised music. As a member of the alto saxophone quartet “Fo[u]r Alto”, he is intensely involved in developing expanded and microtonal playing techniques for saxophone.
He is a member of the international music collective and label “Umlaut Records” and has been a presenter of the annual Umlaut Festival Berlin since 2009. He has also appeared in numerous interdisciplinary theater works as composer, musician/performer and director. He studied at the Hanns Eisler School of Music Berlin and the University of Arts Berlin and won the Hanns Eisler Prize for contemporary interpretation in 2011. Diverse CD recordings of his works are available. His musical activity has taken him throughout all of Europe, to the USA, Brazil and Singapore

Benedikt Bindewald | Violinist, performer, composer, traveling musician

Benedikt Bindewald was born in Frankfurt am Main and grew up in Kalbach near Fulda. He studied violin in Berlin and Bremen and composition in Berlin. He has played in the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Bremen Philharmonic, Ensemble Zwischentoene Berlin, Lunaire Quartett, Robert Walser Quartett (formerly Lautlos- / Hodler- Quartett), Maulwerker and in many other groups. He also played at Schauspielhaus Zürich, with the Berlin Philharmonic, at HAU Berlin, at schauspielhannover and in all those wonderful places with lesser-known names. He loved/s to work with Ruedi Häusermann, Daniel Ott, Dieter Schnebel, Thomas Klug, Misha Bolourie, Till Wyler von Ballmoos, Younghie Pagh-Paan, Rilli Willow and with all those fantastic people who are not yet famous; he created pieces such as PLASTIKFLUT [PLASTIC FLOOD], 48 Stunden NEUKÖLLN ECHT LIFE FERNSEHEN [48 Hours NEUKÖLLN REAL LIVE TELEVISION], and many more.
Currently Benedikt Bindewald is working with the ensemble New Babylon Bremen, the duo of the Bindewald twins, and the trio Transmitter. Sometimes, he takes his violin and wanders alone far beyond the beaten paths, knowing that the fast track is not always the best one.

Minouche Petrusch | Actress
Born in Hamburg (*1976), at age six she became a member of the children's chorus of the Hamburger Staatsoper and learned about many different areas of theater life, including experience with productions by Christopher Brown, Jürgen Flimm, James Last, Robert Wilson and Frank Zander, at the Hamburg Staatsoper, Thalia Theater Hamburg, Disneyland, USA and other venues. After a move to the Danish border, she devoted herself to her passion for dance. She finished secondary school in 1996.
At Europäisches Theaterinstitut, Schauspielschule [School of Acting] Berlin, she began to study acting with an emphasis on physical and singing training and completed the program in 2001. Following her studies, she worked with Valeri Biltschenko, Marcello Diaz, Astrid Griesbach, Marcel Luxinger/Anja Gronau, Ania Michaelis, at Theater Wismar, at Nationaltheater Mannheim (Werkhaus), at Sophiensaele Berlin and Hebbel am Ufer, in television and film and as a voiceover actor and singer.
Artistic self-determination and diversity are important to her, as is the chance to retreat to a life outside the arts, which is why she works mostly autonomously. Her desire is to speak to a broad non-elite audience. Following her interests and love of life, she studies biology and is the mother of three children (*2009, 2011, 2014).
She has been an actress since 2010, an ensemble member since 2011 and a board member since 2017 with Theater o.N.