Theater ANU was founded in 1998 in Heppenheim by Stefan Behr, Tina Friedmann, Martin Kaschke, Harry Unger and Christoph Becker. Even though most of the founding members soon left the company, they have remained committed to Theater ANU to this day and continue to perform in individual productions. In 1999, they created the stilt theatre production Der Mond (The Moon), a station theatre based on a Grimm fairy tale motif. The second production, Der Sonnenwagen (The Sun Chariot), was based on Ovid’s Phaethon – a shadow theatre projected onto the façades of buildings.
The premiere of Lichtspuren (2005) was honoured with the most important German street theatre award in Holzminden.
With the production of Die große Reise (The Great Journey, 2007), Bille Behr, then still Kolbe, joined the company. This second theatre installation after Lichtspuren was groundbreaking for the conceptual and dramaturgical signature of Theater ANU – the idea of the theatre cosmos was born: the audience is invited to immerse themselves in the artfully created worlds and to linger in them, they become visitors. The combination of installation and acting turns the productions into diverse and multi-layered spaces of experience.
In 2009, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the theatrical installation Engel über Berlin (Angels over Berlin) was created and continued as a site-specific theatre project under the title Engelland (Angel Land). Commissioned productions have taken ANU to England, Spain and Switzerland, among other places.
2011 marks the premiere of Come to MoraLand – a poetic theatre fair and the company’s third major theatre installation.
In 2012, Theater ANU will stages its second major park production: Ovid’s Traum – Im Garten der Wandlungen (Ovid’s Dream – In the Garden of Changes) is inspired by the metamorphoses of the Roman poet Ovid. Contemporary dance meets a sound garden of Ovidian stories.
In 2013, Theater ANU conquers a new performance space: the forest. The production Schattenwald (Shadow Forest) is commissioned by GRIMM.2013 and the collaboration continues in 2014. For 100 Jahre Edersee, the company stages Nachtmeerfahrt (Night Sea Journey), a dreamlike play below the 48-metre-high dam wall. Expedition Thälmannpark is another highlight of 2014, a project that explored the creative method of Synektik with participatory involvement. The production Der Garten Analogia was funded by the Fonds Darstellende Künste e. V. (Performing Arts Fund).
In 2016, the production Sheherazade – Stadt der Erzähler (City of Storytellers) was created with the support of crowdfunding. In the tradition of Arabic storytelling and the stories of the Arabian Nights, visitors experience a magical place where peace is created with the help of words and stories.
In 2017, as a project for Ash Wednesday, Theater ANU created Das Floß der Medusa (The Raft of the Medusa) in collaboration with the artists Stefan Hunstein and Axel Nitz, a multi-layered performance installation that explores the question of humanity in times of crisis on behalf of the Archbishopric of Munich.
In 2018, three new formats were created by Theater ANU. Invisible touch I, a format for a small group of blindfolded visitors, enables each visitor to relinquish all responsibility for an evening and to surrender completely to feeling, to the here and now. Perpetuum Mobile was commissioned by the city of Bad Karlshafen. Just like the production Dreamer, which was also created in 2018, it is still being staged as a repertory production.
In 2019, Theater ANU created the commissioned work Wie heilt man ein Herz? (How to heal a heart?) for the 150th anniversary of the health resort of Bad Nauheim. A story that rewrites the healing power of water and the spa. Another highlight of 2019 was the participation in the Urban Nations Biennale “robots and relicts: un-manned”. As part of this event, renowned street artists present their works in a specially created urban dystopia in the middle of Berlin. Theatre ANU was there with its new production In Transition.
Still unaware of what the year was holding in store for the (cultural) world, ANU started 2020 with a new production and entered new territory with Incognito, a theatrical masked ball. The performance actively involves the visitors and lets them participate, allowing them to test their own limits for one night. After the cultural scene was briefly paralysed in February due to the corona pandemic, ANU began to internally deal with the question: How can the art scene survive the time ahead, and in what way might cultural professionals have a responsibility towards society. In the months following, online meetings were planned and carried out again and again under the leadership of Stefan Behr. Organizers and cultural professionals exchanged ideas, shared their fears and their thoughts on possible solutions. Out of this exchange, the production In den Wäldern von Moraland (In the Forests of Moraland) was created in spring 2020. Far from any crowds, the visitors set off in small groups on a hike through the forests of Idar-Oberstein. Under the guidance of artistic director Jörn Hinkel, ANU was allowed to be part of the theatre festival Ein anderer Sommer in Bad Hersfeld in the summer of 2020. With the productions Yggdrasil, Zu den Sternen (Towards the Stars) and Geschichtenhain (Grove of Tales), ANU rethought the concept of theatre, continued to live culture, kept distance and mastered the often frightening situation together with artists, organizers and visitors. In the months that followed, ANU developed a hygiene concept that could be applied to almost all repertoire productions and is thus still able to offer theatre experiences for up to 600 people per evening, despite frequently changing requirements and regulations.
- 2022 Chocolate from the Sky I Children’s Theatre Production on Tempelhofer Feld
- 2022 Masquerade I Masked ball festival for Clemenswerth and Leer
- 2022 CHIMÆRIUM I As part of the Bad Hersfeld Festival
- 2021 So Close To Heaven I Theatrical light installation
- 2020 Grove of Tales I As part of the corona rules complying theatre festival Ein anderer Sommer, Bad Hersfeld
- 2020 Yggdrasil I As part of the corona rules compying theatre festival Ein anderer Sommer, Bad Hersfeld
- 2020 To the Stars I As part of the corona rules complying theatre festival Ein anderer Sommer, Bad Hersfeld
- 2020 The Forests of Moraland I theatre hike, conforming to conorna rules, Idar-Oberstein
- 2020 Incognito I theatrical masked ball, Ballhaus Berlin
- 2019 In Transition | Commissioned production URBAN NATION Biennale “robots and relics: un-manned” Berlin
- 2019 How to heal a heart? | Commissioned production 100 years anniversary of the health resort Bad Nauheim
- 2019 Perpetuum – City without Hardship | Repertoire
- 2018 Invisible touch1 I Berlin
- 2018 Dreamer | Repertoire
- 2018 Perpetuum mobile | Commissioned production Bad Karlshafen
- 2017 The raft of the Medusa | Commissioned production Aschermittwoch der Künstler, Munich/Dome
- 2016 Sheherazade and the City of Storytellers | Repertoire
- 2014 Night Sea Journey | commission Kultursommer Nordhessen und GRIMM 2014
- 2014 The Garden Analogia | Berlin Thälmannpark
- 2014 Mask Promenade around 1900 | commission for the 100th anniversary King Albert Theater
- 2014 Maze of history – Lauffen am Neckar | commission for the town of Lauffen | Repertoire
- 2013 Shadow Forest – A poetical journey through the dark forest | commission for GRIMM 2013 | repertoire
- 2013 Kesselbrink– Town square through the ages | commission for the town of Bielefeld
- 2012 A birthday feast for George Tabori | commission for the George Tabori prize award ceremony, Berlin
- 2012 Ovid’s Dream – In the Garden of Transformations | repertoire
- 2011 Come to MoraLand | repertoire
- 2010 The Key Hunt | commission for the town of Oranienburg
- 2010 By the River of Light | commission for the opening of the Rheinland Pfalz summer of culture
- 2010 The Legend of The Winged Boy | commission for the world heritage site Hadrian’s Wall, Newcastle, UK
- 2010 Angels above the Zollverein | opening ceremony, European Capital of Culture, RUHR.2010, Essen
- 2009 Angels above Berlin | 20 year anniversary of the end of the wall, Berlin
- 2009 Opening of Heidenheim Congress Center | commission for the town of Heidenheim
- 2009 The Moortsland Festival | commission for the design studio Fabritastika, Switzerland
- 2008 Angels and Thieves | commission for the city of Heidenheim
- 2008 The Angel Museum – a theatrical installation | repertoire
- 2007 The Great Journey– Encounters in the Labyrinth of Light | repertoire
- 2005 Traces of Light – eine poetische Parkbespielung | repertoire
- 2004 Opening event, Hessentag, Heppenheim
- 2001 The Sun’s Chariot – Phaethon’s Flight, after Ovid | repertoire, no longer played
- 1998 The Moon – a piece of poetic theatre on stilts after a Grimm brothers fairy tale | repertoire