Sophiensæle 23/24


The programme 23/24 of Sophiensæle starts on 07.12.2023

On 7.12.2023, after urgently needed renovation work, the 2023/2024 season will begin at the Sophiensaele under the new artistic direction of Andrea Niederbuchner and Jens Hillje. We will publish the programme for the opening and the season on 26.10.2023, which is also the day when the pre-sale begins.

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© Jan Grygoriew


Every new year, the Tanztage Berlin is not only the city's very first festival, it has also established itself nationally and internationally as an important platform for emerging dance artists since its founding in 1996. The next edition of Tanztage Berlin will once again take place under the artistic direction of Mateusz Szymanówka. The festival is currently planned for 5-20 January 2024. The festival offers emerging dance artists based in Berlin a framework for their new productions and revivals. The programme of the last two editions can be found at:

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Vanessa Stern & Team ToFuR® – Theater ohne Furcht und Reichweite

  • Vanessa Stern_Foto_Dietmar Schmidt_Presse
    © Eike Böttcher
  • 5_(Ursula Renneke )_(c) dietmar schmidt
    © Dietmar Schmidt
  • 7_ Ursula Renneke und Barbara Wölfle)_(c)dietmar schmidt
    © Dietmar Schmidt
  • 2_(Anna Alsheva)_(c)dietmar schmidt
    © Dietmar Schmidt
  • 3_(Maika Knoblich)_ (c)dietmar schmidt
    © Dietmar Schmidt
  • 8_ Ursula Renneke und Maika Knoblich)_(c)dietmar schmidt
    © Dietmar Schmidt
  • Vanessa Stern _Tofur_Foto_MayraWallraff-14
    © Mayra Wallraff
  • Vanessa Stern _Tofur_Foto_MayraWallraff-40
    © Mayra Wallraff
  • Vanessa Stern _Tofur_Foto_MayraWallraff-49
    © Mayra Wallraff
  • Vanessa Stern _Tofur_Foto_MayraWallraff-88
    © Mayra Wallraff
  • Vanessa Stern _Tofur_Foto_MayraWallraff-111
    © Mayra Wallraff
March 16 18 | 20.00
March 19 | 18.00


In German

March 16 | Artist Talk after the show. 

Vanessa Stern is getting out of hand. She boldly shouts: Social media, you are my enemy! and gathers knights around her, along with cute ponies who can barely see anything with their hair in front of their eyes. In ToFuR® they go into battle against the dark forces of reach and attention. Theater without clicks and shares and likes! If life isn't a pony farm, at least the theater can be one, an analog gathering place where we produce virtually no usable data for an hour or two. Might as well be tilting at windmills, but hey, wasn't that fun before? Just pay full price, with us you don't have to save any of what you can spend. Promotional codes are not valid, you won't miss a bargain. You don't have to rate your stay with us, nor do you have to state how you found out about us. There is always someone on stage, and those who ride out come right back in. You do not need GPS. Be there when no one is following us!  There’s another world every day.

If any questions remain from the following information, please feel free to contact Hannah Aldinger at or 030 27 89 00 35. Please note that details may change by the day of the event. Therefore, if you find out after you have purchased your ticket that the performance is no longer accessible to you, you can contact us for a ticket return at or 030 27 89 00 45 until 5 business days after the event (Monday through Friday between 10am and 6pm).


  • 2 hours


  • German spoken language


  • White dance floor


  • At one point: strobe light
  • At one point: sudden change of light from dim to very bright
  • Some soft, colored light changes


  • the performers are amplified with microphones that sometimes crackle or feedback
  • at one point: tinny thunder sounds
  • at one point: loud, angry screams
  • interludes of music and dialogues from the movie "Die Mädels vom Immenhof" (The girls from Immenhof)

Audience area

  • The last row of the grandstand is seated (free choice of seats)
  • All other rows are with seat cushions on the floor

Early boarding
If, for artistic reasons, the door to the auditorium does not open until very shortly before the performance begins, there is the option of early boarding.


  • Reservations can be made via the ticket telephone at 030 283 52 66, Monday to Friday from 4pm-6pm
  • Via the online ticket shop
  • At the box office

You can also find more information about accessibility here.

VANESSA STERN, actress, founder of Krisenzentrum für weibliche Komik, has worked continuously since 2011 within the framework of her project Heulen kann jede - weibliche Komik in der Krise at Sophiensæle. Her productions Das Kapital der Tränen and Die Umschülerinnen oder Die Komödie der unbegabten Kinder were each nominated for the Friedrich Luft Prize and her theatre film Sleeping Duties - Probleme sind eine gute Lösung was nominated for the nachtkritik Theatertreffen in 2021. She regularly produces episodes of her large comedy lab show format La derniere crise - Women on the Edge of Comedy at the Festsaal der Sophiensæle.

URSULA RENNEKE has been a freelance actress since 2000, mostly in Berlin. In 23 years, she has facilitated 55 theatre productions at independent stages, municipal and state theatres, as well as 30 film productions for cinema and TV. In 2017, she founded "zePPra", with which she supports productions of the independent performing arts and, in addition to her teaching activities at Berlin drama schools, organises acting courses. She has worked with Vanessa Stern for over 10 years on stage and in front of the camera, under extreme conditions: including off Spitsbergen, in Schiller's crypt, on horseback and without free time. &

MAIKA KNOBLICH (1986) is a performance maker, performer and lighting designer. Since 2009 she has formed the performance duo Quast & Knoblich with Hendrik Quast. She has been working as a lighting designer and dramaturg since 2010, among others with Olympia Bukkakis, Emmi-Lou Rößling, Barbara Schmidt-Rohr, SKART, Vanessa Stern, Karol Tyminsk and Jeremy Wade. She studied at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies in Giessen (B.A. 2010) and at DasArts (now DAS) in Amsterdam (Master 2013) and is a feedback coach for the DAS Feedback Method (feedback in artistic processes). Portfolio:

ANNA ALSHEVA studied German at the National Taras Shevchenko University and followed an acting training at Misha Kostrov's Actors Studio. She has performed in improvisation theatre Chornyi Kvadrat and ProEnglish Theatre, among others. After her biggest premiere in March 2022 could not take place due to the war, she is happy to be back on stage. 

ELSA BRABENDER, who has lived in Berlin since 2013, is a psychotherapist specialising in psychoanalysis and family therapist. Until 2013, she taught German, history, politics and psychology in Tübingen and trained trainee teachers as a subject leader for educational psychology. From her painful experiences as a former 68-year-old, she rejects all dogmatism. It is important to her to fight against forgetting and repression and to critically examine the current political and social situation.

Ulrike Hentschel studied social sciences and education in Bochum and was a teacher in North Rhine-Westphalia. She has lived in Berlin since 1987. She studied theatre education at the University of the Arts and taught until 2020. In the meantime, she travels a lot, takes photographs, reads and writes.

GERHILD ARJES studied psychology in the 1970s, then worked as a research assistant and later as a psychotherapist with couples and individuals for 35 years. She has meanwhile hung up her profession, sings passionately in the women's choir the "Fixen Nixen", reads contemporary literature quickly and a lot and loves to sink into play with her grandchildren. In search of profound nonsense, she has landed on the stage.

SUSANNE STALLMANN left the school service for good shortly after her tenure as a joyless teacher of arts and crafts in Hesse at the end of the 1970s and then tried her hand at various jobs: restaurant assistant, secretary, tour guide. In 1983, as a member of the tingling off-theatre group "Preddy Show Campany" in Berlin, she found her late joyful destiny and meagre but regular earnings. After that, she and a colleague founded the artists' agency Rampensau, which she helped run until retirement. She fills her free time with political activity with the "Omas gegen Rechts" ("grannies against the right"), with travelling, and with participation in changing choir and theatre projects in Berlin.

BARBARA WÖLFLE, nurse, has been in retirement since 2015. Born in 1949; the FRG and the GDR were founded in the same year. Her choice of profession resulted from her desire to earn her own money and leave the confines of provincial Bavaria behind. Years of exhausting back-breaking work followed; recreational breaks in nature and garden, children and family breaks and singing in the choir. Inspiration and life support came from working on poetic texts in calligraphic style and playing with words and fairy tale images. She really finds time to cultivate these hobbies now that she has been allowed to get off the hamster wheel of the working world. Being on stage as a comic old woman will be a new experience.

DIETMAR SCHMIDT, literary scholar at the University of Erfurt, has worked as a dramaturge with Vanessa Stern since 2012. Book publications include: The Physiognomy of Animals. From the Poetics of Fauna to the Knowledge of Man.

EIKE BÖTTCHER lives in Berlin and came to stage design via architecture. In recent years he has worked with Vanessa Stern, Bernadette LaHengst, Zachary Oberzan, Eva Löbau, Ligia Lewis, Clement Layes and Lunatiks, among others. His hobbies are designing sailboats, playing the trumpet and cycling.

JESSICA BRAUN is a costume designer, art therapist and globetrotter. After studying costume and stage design in Hamburg, Barcelona and London, she first worked as a stage and costume designer and lighting designer for the independent theatre scene in Barcelona. She has lived in Berlin since 2005 and works internationally as a freelance costume designer for film and television and recently also for the theatre again with great pleasure.

EVA-KAREN TITTMANN works in the independent scene, at permanent venues and for a wide variety of institutions as a freelance cultural manager. She has worked with Vanessa Stern for many years.

JANNE LILKENDEY has been working as an assistant director and dramaturg for Vanessa Stern since the beginning of 2022. She gained the necessary versatility through her involvement in the youth theatre Meine Bühne, through part-time jobs at the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, the Goethe Institute Addis Ababa, KiKa and as a student assistant. She is doing her doctorate in the literary studies programme: "Texte. Signs. Medien" in Erfurt and is co-editor of the magazine LIT ERA TUR.

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DIRECTOR Vanessa Stern DRAMATURGY Dietmar Schmidt STAGE DESIGN Eike Böttcher COSTUME Jessica Braun LIGHTING Maika Knoblich PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT Eva-Karen Tittmann ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Janne Lilkendey PERFORMERS Vanessa Stern, Ursula Renneke, Anna Alsheva, Maika Knoblich, Gerhild Arjes, Susanne Stallmann, Barbara Wölfle, Elsa Brabender, Ulrike Hentschel

A production by Vanessa Stern in co-production with SOPHIENSÆLE. Supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, as part of NEUSTART KULTUR / in the program #TakeHeart Prozessförderung. With the kind support of the Heinz und Heide Dürr Stiftung. Media partner: taz.