Objet trouvé from 2007, now a proper name signifying new art on stage, openness, experiment and processuality
brut (designation for very dry sparkling wine), the German word “Brut” translating as brood (animals hatched from eggs) but also as brats (a group of people whose behaviour is regarded as outrageous) and Art brut (spontaneously designed art)
brut is a place for the production and presentation of performative works of art in Vienna and one of the most renowned institutions of the independent performance, dance and theatre scene in the German-speaking countries.
Experimental performing arts from Austria and the world is produced and presented at brut’s main venue at Karlsplatz and alternating temporary venues in and around Vienna.
Showing new art on stage, brut’s focus lies on theatre, dance and performance and more specifically on site-specific projects, artistic creative processes, dialogues with the city, cooperation with related artistic disciplines, theoretical reflection and sophisticated pop concerts and parties.
brut productions have been shown as guest performances outside of brut more than 450 times. They are being invited to prestigious festivals and venues of global reputation, including the Theater Festival Impulse, the Chelsea Theatre in London, the Kaaitheater Brussels, the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Belgium, Under the Radar in New York, the sophiensæle in Berlin, the Fundición Bilbao, the steirischer herbst festival in Graz, the Mousonturm in Frankfurt, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Hebbel am Ufer theatre in Berlin, the Österreich TANZT festival in Sankt Pölten and many more.
The Vienna Künstlerhaus was built in 1868 to be a centre for social gatherings and exhibitions for Austria’s oldest still existing association of artists. Beginning in 1882, the historical building from the times of the Vienna Ring Road style was enhanced by two side wings to create the space needed for the first big international art exhibition to take place there. In 1949, a cinema was opened in the left side wing, originally called the German Hall. More than 20 years later, in September of 1972, the right wing, once the French Hall, was rented out to establish a theatre venue. Until 1985, the right wing of the Künstlerhaus accommodated the Komödiantenhaus-Theater. In 1987, an initiative to re-open the theatre as the Political Stage of Künstlerhaus foundered on the decision of the then city councillor for culture, Ursual Pasterk, to instead open the venue to all independent companies along with another vacant venue at the Vienna Concert Hall (Konzerthaus), under the common name dietheater.
Artistic and executive director Christian Pronay then founded dietheater, officially represented by Theaterverein Wien, as a shared panoply for the venues at Künstlerhaus and Konzerthaus on January 31, 1989. From 1989 to 2007, dietheater was a venue for Austrian independent theatre companies and mainly showed productions by artists from Vienna. Hosting the annual imagetanz festival, dietheater was also an important platform for the Vienna dance scene.
In the summer of 2006, Theaterverein Wien placed a call for tender to find a new artistic director for the two venues at Künstlerhaus and Konzerthaus. The founding directors of the institution now named brut were Thomas Frank and Haiko Pfost, whose directorship was characterised by the restructuring of brut into an internationally oriented co-production space for the independent performance, dance and theatre scene. From 2007 to 2015, numerous Austrian productions were devised, presented and organised at brut, accompanied by international guest performances as well as concert and party formats.
Kira Kirsch, former head dramaturge at the festival steirischer Herbst in Graz, has been the artistic director since autumn of 2015. brut now places an increased focus on process-oriented working, dialogues with the city, temporary performance sites and cooperation with institutions from related disciplines.