asphalt is a place of art and empathy and a festival of passion and emotion that has an impact far beyond Düsseldorf. Every year since 2012, the ‘Summer Festival of the Arts’ has presented a dense and exciting programme of theatre, music, dance, performance, literature and art in Düsseldorf. Over the years, the festival has become a crowd puller with broad media coverage and is perceived nationwide as an important cultural platform. It is directed by theatre director Christof Seeger-Zurmühlen and composer Bojan Vuletic, who founded asphalt nine years ago.
“Get out of the theatre, into the city” is asphalt’s original idea. Art is for everyone and it has to deal with what people and society are currently concerned with. Art is relevant and must take place – not in an ivory tower, but in the middle of life, whether on a small stage, a big stage, indoors or outdoors. Since its launch, asphalt has therefore presented its programme not only in established theatres and concert halls, but above all in special places that are temporarily transformed into venues for the duration of the festival, each with its own magic – including former industrial sites, museums, churches, private rooms, office buildings, streets and squares in public spaces, or even a floating lake stage in a park in the centre of the city. Every year we can look forward to seeing where art will enrich the urban environment thanks to asphalt.
asphalt not only shows national and international guest performances, but also helps artists to network and create new art. The festival is also a production platform that initiates and co-finances the development of new artistic works. Since 2012, 85 co-productions in the field of theatre, music and dance have been created, which began at asphalt and have since been shown in many other theatres, concert halls and festivals. The most recent example of a groundbreaking asphalt co-production is the performance TANZ by Florentina Holzinger – invited to the Theatertreffen 2020 and, according to the critics’ survey by ‘Theater heute’, the ‘Production of the Year 2020’.
asphalt Festival opens up spaces for artistic experiences and encounters, for new discourses and social developments. It is thus, in the best sense of the word, a people’s festival of the arts, in the city, for the nation and for a diverse society.