Companies and stages outside Vienna
Most independent performing arts companies and ensembles are active in Vienna, where most of the relevant venues are also located. However, some examples of independent initiatives of supra-regional significance include the Theater im Bahnhof in Graz, the aktionstheater ensemble and the Projekttheater in Vorarlberg and Vienna.
The association Das andere Theater was established in 1999 as a platform and interface institution for independent arts initiatives in Graz, and manages the local rehearsal venue on behalf of the city administration . The Theater am Lend has been called a “breeding ground for young drama” in Styria’s regional media. TiB/Theater im Bahnhof serves as a performance venue for the eponymous independent drama company, which has earned a reputation beyond the province of Styria. Theaterland Steiermark is the umbrella organization for various festival formats taking place at different locations in Styria.
The Klagenfurt Ensemble presents its productions and guest performances at theaterHALLE 11 in Klagenfurt. Established in Villach in 2002, the neuebühnevillach offers contemporary drama with a strong orientation towards literature. IG KIKK is a networking platform and interest group for independent contemporary arts initiatives; it has been active in Carinthia since 1990 with service offers in German and Slovenian.
Theater Phönix was established in 1989. With audiences of up to 25,000 per year at its currently three venues, it is widely regarded as one of Austria’s leading independent stages. In addition to its own company, the theatre also regularly features guests in its programme of contemporary drama and interdisciplinary projects, as well as productions for young audiences. High-quality drama productions for children are also offered by Theater des Kindes and the summer festival Schäxpir in Linz.
As an independent cultural association, Szene Salzburg has been setting important impulses in the city for decades, presenting cross-border art and creating innovative formats. The annual festival "Sommerszene" brings outstanding international and national artists from the fields of performance, dance, theater, visual arts and music to Salzburg.
The Schauspielhaus Salzburg at Petersbrunnhof (formerly known as Elisabethbühne) stages ten to 14 own productions per year, which are seen by about 60,000 theatregoers – numbers which make it one of the biggest independent theatres in the country. Kleines Theater Salzburg defines its role as that of a “pacemaker for the independent scene” in the city. The Toihaus offers drama, dance and performance art, as well as concerts. A major programme focus are events for young people. ARGEkultur defines itself as “Salzburg’s biggest independent centre for contemporary arts and culture” and regularly offers dance and drama productions.
Working closely with the local administrations of the city of Innsbruck and the province of Tyrol, the BRUX Freies Theater Innsbruck provides rehearsal and performance space for independent theatre companies. A committee of artistic advisors decides on space allocation. Experimental and interdisciplinary artistic formats are promoted under the label “Vorbrenner”. The Kellertheater has been offering performances to theatregoers in Innsbruck since 1979. The Westbahntheater, also located in Innsbruck, presents mainly contemporary works of drama. Founded in 1981 by Ruth Drexel and Hanns Brenner, the Volksschauspiele Telfs presents critical yet popular drama, including plays from Shakespeare to Brecht, Felix Mitterer and Händl Klaus.
The programme of Spielboden Dornbirn features regular guest performances and productions staged by the “aktionstheater ensemble”. It also serves as the venue of the international dance and performance art festival “Tanz ist” . Contemporary drama is offered in Bregenz by Theater Kosmos.
The Festival hin & weg offers over 150 events in ten days during the summer in the town of Litschau in the northern Waldviertel. The Puppentheatertage Mistelbach is Austria’s largest puppetry festival. The Vienna-based company “Theater zum Fürchten” offers its performances at the Stadttheater Mödling.
Offenes Haus Oberwart is an independent cultural centre whose activities include drama performances. The puppet theatre Karin Schäfer Figurentheater is located at Neusiedl am See also running a biennal puppet theater festival Pannoptikum. The work of Liz King and her initiative D.ID Dance Identity in Burgenland includes residencies for international and Viennese artists and organizes the annual Dance Days at the Choreographic Centre Burgenland in Eisenstadt.