P.O. sees itself as a collective of artists which for years now has been dedicated to interactive forms of theatre and music theatre and intentionally seeks to bridge the gap between the genre of action theatre and subjects taken from literature, classical theatre, opera and art.
The performances feature artistic and visual effects and make for a special experience for the audience, who are integrated in the proceedings to as great a degree as possible.
Founded as a street theatre ensemble in 1982, the group has retained the ideas and objectives of that time with the profile of theatre with simple opportunities for participation for social classes which are as heterogeneous as possible.
For years now P.O. has been making guest appearances at major international festivals worldwide with its own productions, in particular with the productions IL CORSO, ORPHEUS, BallGefühl, TRANSITion and human(f)actor. However, P.O. also develops productions in collaboration with other cultural institutions for the traditional theatre venues, e.g. MEDEA.Voices for the Freiburg Theatre and, under the artistic direction of Karen Kamensek, for the Freiburg Theatre as well as for the Deutsche Oper am Rhein the opera: The CIVIL warS by Philipp Glass and since 2012 in cooperation with Rapucation from Berlin several projects with youth, also for the Augsburg Theatre. (MC Messer , Bad Boys)
The open-air opera performances were special highlights: In 2008 P.O. put on CARMINA BURANA as a music theatre performance for the Basel Theatre in the antiquity-steeped atmosphere of Augst. The opera Orpheus and Eurydice by Chr. W. Gluck was put on there for a medieval monastery together with the Tallinn Philharmonic in 2010.
In 2012, together with the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg under the direction of François Xavier Roth, a large-scale youth theatre project was performed which was the talk of all Germany: Romeo feat. Julia. International experiences with the ensemble’s own productions and the know-how required for putting on large-scale theatre events are made full use of for commissioned productions for specific themes such as the Ruhrfestspiele in 2002, Bauhausfest in 2003, Dortmunder Museumsnacht in 2003, Zeche Zollern in 2004 and the National Art Museum in Singapore in 2009.
The ensemble consists of more than 40 actors, vocalists and acrobats as well as light, sound and pyrotechnicians under the artistic direction of Sigrun Fritsch.
P.O has been awarded several prizes for its work, e.g. for IL CORSO at the International Street Theatre festival in Holzminden in 2002, and the Art Award of the State of Baden-Württemberg in 2005. In 2006 P.O. was commissioned with the production of “BallGefühl” for the official art and culture programme of the German Federal Government accompanying the Football World Cup; in 2007 ORPHEUS won the prize for the best production at the festival in Tárrega, and the project BEING TWEEN won the German Federal “Mixed Up” competition for cultural education; and further prizes were awarded at the competition “Kinder zum Olymp” [Children to Olympus].
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In 2015 the project Power of Diversity – the Crossing Lines, initiated by PAN.OPTIKUM with nine other partners from throughout Europe, was selected by the EACEA, the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission, as the only project under German direction to receive subsidies of more than EUR 1 million over a period of three years.
The PAN.OPTIKUM action theatre ensemble is organised as a non-commercial limited company (“gemeinnützige GmbH” in German) and is institutionally subsidised by the State of Baden-Württemberg and the City of Freiburg.