The Festival

This is the first and only time that two biennial festivals of the independent theatre scene will merge into one big double festival: Freischwimmen meets Rodeo. Over nine days, from 10/07/22 to 10/15/22, Munich will stage a convention of local and international perspectives on dance, theatre and performance art. Freischwimmen meets Rodeo is also the first Festival curated single-handedly by HochX, honored with the Federal Theater Award (Theaterpreis des Bundes) in 2021.

With our double festival, we aim to show the performing arts scene’s diversity and vitality in spite of, and especially during difficult times. We invite new encounters and discoveries, discussions and celebrations.

What is behind Freischwimmen meets Rodeo?

Freischwimmen is an international platform facilitating residencies, exchanges and productions for young groups and artists* in theatre and performance. It is supported by eight independent venues across Germany, Austria and Switzerland, HochX being one of them. Our festival will showcase nine projects generated through this interface over the past two years, along with six local productions by Munich artists, selected by a jury for Rodeo. Rodeo is Munich’s very own biennial platform for independent dance and theatre. Two festivals, one program – and a multitude of gatherings, encounters and temporary communities.

Looking at this years’ spread of productions, we see the same questions arise over and over: What does it mean to get together, or rather to be together? Who belongs, and who doesn’t? Who is left out? How can we expand, transcribe, rethink community? Staged moments of togetherness and (ironic) self-celebration, from BBQ to prom to pop concert, disturb all too well established orders and categories such as identity, gender or disability.

Thus, Berlin based performance collective CHICKS* delivers their criticism of monogamy through ballroom dance, while Léonard Engel (Munich) is first making dancers spin and then entire rooms revolve. Kolja Huneck (Munich) is immersing us into a world of color, sound and movement, and with Sandra Chatterjee (Munich) we explore the political implications of odors. Syndikat Gefährliche Liebschaften (Leipzig) is skewering our meat consumption. Criptonite (Zurich) lets us join their variété full of crip, kink and pleasure. Die apokalyptischen tänzerin*nen and Gruppe CIS (Stuttgart) let us sneak-peek into the working state of their current projects, the Hard Art Workers (Munich) are playfully testing the capacity of our lungs and Die Soziale Fiktion (Bremen) invites collective crying in public spaces.  Manasvini K. Eberl (Munich) lets movements flow like water on our skin, Lau Lukkarila (Finland) dances straight into the third Millenia and Lea Ralfs and Jan Geiger (Munich) look for Lea’s grandpa and find Freddie Mercury. S. Rudat (Düsseldorf) makes us sweat in a mixture of live concert and stand up comedy debating shame, and Rosalie Wanka and Kassandra Wedel (Munich) weave sign language and contemporary dance into a virtuosic visual poem across the cityscape.

Poetic, associative or politically discursive, juggling colors or perturbing social norms, the selected productions are challenging and diverse. Many, mostly young artists get together and interrogate our future living and working together: Will it be more democratic, more accessible, more inclusive?

With our festival, we are also seeking different ways of exchange between artists and audience. Therefore, we do not only show glossy, finished productions, but also drafts, try outs, one-on-one encounters for artists, and our scholarship program &Friends Besuche. In addition, we offer workshops, discussions, city walks and, naturally, parties. The heart of the festival and central meeting point will be Halle 6 at Kreativquartier. Other venues are schwere reiter, MUCCA, PATHOS, Einstein Kultur, Lothringer 13 and of course HochX.

We are excited to get together with you all!


Freischwimmen is an international platform facilitating residencies, exchanges and productions for young theatre and performance artists and groups. It is sponsored by brut WienFFT DüsseldorfGessnerallee ZürichHochX MünchenLOFFT – DAS THEATER LeipzigSchwankhalle BremenSophiensæle Berlin and Theater Rampe Stuttgart.

Freischwimmen offers residencies, workshop showings, guest performances and laboratories, which can be combined variously depending on the artists’ needs and the venues’ capacities. These modules are intended to create networking opportunities for young artists and groups and help them get established locally, supra-regionally and internationally. The goal is to create an experimental space free from the pressure to deliver performances hastily, while facilitating the long term work of program building for the participating venues.

In addition, Freischwimmen Festival takes place every other year. This year, HochX will host the double Festival Freischwimmen meets Rodeo. The last Freischwimmen Festival was hosted in November 2019 by Sophiensæle Berlin.

Freischwimmen is made possible within the framework of the program »Verbindungen fördern« of the German Association of Independent Performing Arts, which is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. Furthermore Freischwimmen is supported by Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council.


Since 2010, Rodeo has been the platform for Munich’s independent performing arts scene. With municipal funding by the Bavarian State Capital, the biennial festival provides insight into Munich’s diverse dance and theatre scene, connecting local and national artists, setting new artistic stimuli and discussing current cultural and political issues. Over the years, Rodeo has come to be a focal point for local, national and international protagonists of the independent art scene. In 2022, it is the first and only time that Rodeo takes place as a double Festival in conjunction with Freischwimmen Festival. This year, the six productions by Munich artists have been selected by a jury. The jury decided in favor of artists who all have been invited to Rodeo for the first time.


The name FestivalFriends designates an association of eight festivals of the independent performing arts scene in Germany. In addition to Rodeo (Munich), the participating festivals are Der Rahmen ist Programm (Chemnitz), Hauptsache Frei (Hamburg),  Implantieren (Frankfurt), Favoriten (Dortmund), 6 tage frei (Stuttgart), Phoenix Theater Festival (Erfurt) and Performing Arts Festival (Berlin). In community, the festival directors share knowledge and experience from their own work, helping to build and strengthen festival structures across the different Länder (states) of Germany. It is understood that local festivals are meaningful supra-regional and international platforms, revitalizing contemporary artistic practices and aesthetics. It is one of their core concerns to insert artists and their positions into new regions and contexts beyond their local sphere of influence. With four different &FRIENDS formats, the association provides programs geared especially to the ephemeral work structures and organizational methods of performing arts festivals, supporting the visibility of new and existing artistic productions and their touring.

With the program &FRIENDS Besuche, Freischwimmen meets Rodeo and the FestivalFriends association invite artists from across Germany to come together in Munich. The invited artists get to know the program and its makers, network and swap ideas. Visiting performances and participating in practice sharings provides insight into various artistic practices and aesthetics of the Munich scene.

FESTIVALFRIENDS is supported within the framework of the program »Verbindungen fördern« of the German Association of Independent Performing Arts, which is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. Further support is provided through the Department of Arts and Culture of Munich.

Dieses Projekt wird gefördert von der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien über das Programm “Verbindungen fördern” des Bundesverbands Freie Darstellende Künste e.V. Gefördert durch das Kulturreferat der Landeshauptstadt München.