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 production and performance venue for the performative arts in Vienna. Since its inception in 2007, it has been among the most influential places in the independent performance, dance, and theatre scene. The brut programme stands for experimentation and interdisciplinarity as it showcases the free scene’s diverse and differential character. In addition to productions for theatre spaces, brut realises site-specific projects and places an increased focus on process-oriented working, dialogues with the city, temporary performance sites, co-operation with institutions from related disciplines, and theory.
A number of independent artists from Vienna and Austria have been accompanied by brut as a co-production partner for many years. A good share of brut’s productions are international co-productions touring prestigious festivals and venues across the continent. Vice versa, brut enriches and stimulates the Vienna scene by inviting international guest performances, realising co-productions with artists from all over Europe, and committing itself to continuous engagement in EU-wide networks.
In 2017, brut had to move out of its main venue at the Künstlerhaus due to the general renovation of the building. Since then, brut’s focus was mostly on realising productions at various temporary venues and site-specific projects. The matter of finding a new permanent place for brut was decided in September 2020. From March 2021 to 2023, brut will perform at its new temporary headquarters, “brut nordwest”, thus putting an industrial building in Vienna-Brigittenau to interim use. Finally, from 2024, brut will have a new permanent venue at the former St. Marx branch of the Austrian Central Bank in the 3rd District.
Kira Kirsch has been the appointed artistic director and manager of brut since 2015, Richard Schweitzer has been the commercial manager since 2014. The largest share of brut’s funding comes from the City of Vienna’s Department of Cultural Affairs. brut is a non-profit limited liability company; its artistic director is appointed by Vienna’s City Councillor for Culture on recommendation by the Wiener Theaterverein.
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 building’s 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.
As a common umbrella for the Künstlerhaus and the Konzerthaus Theatres, dietheater was established on January 31st, 1989 as a sponsor organisation for the Wiener Theaterverein, with Christian Pronay as the artistic director and manager. From 1989 to 2007, dietheater presented the works of independent Austrian theatre companies, predominantly showing productions by Vienna-based artists. In addition, dietheater’s annual imagetanz festival provided an important forum 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.
In 2017, brut had to move out of its main venue at Künstlerhaus due to the general renovation. In the years after that, brut made appearances at various temporary venues all over Vienna. By February 2021, brut performances took place at a total of 90 venues in 19 Vienna districts. brut’s rehearsal stage in Zieglergasse 25 was also subjected to a general renovation in recent years and is now available as a second venue for rehearsals and public performances by the name “studio brut”. It became clear in 2019 that moving back to the Künstlerhaus would be impossible due to the steep increase in renovation costs. The matter of finding a new permanent place for brut was decided in September 2020. From March 2021 to 2023, brut will perform at its new temporary headquarters, “brut nordwest”, thus putting an industrial building in Vienna-Brigittenau to interim use. From 2024, brut will have a new permanent venue at the former St. Marx branch of the Austrian Central Bank in the 3rd District. Following the building’s transformation into a theatre as financed by the City of Vienna, the venue will accommodate a large performance hall, rehearsal rooms, offices, ancillary rooms for technical equipment, open spaces, and a café or restaurant.
Nordwestbahnstraße 8-10, 1200 Wien
Tram: 5 (Nordwestbahnstraße), Bus: 5A (Wasnergasse)
Rustenschacherallee 2 – 4, 1020 Vienna
Bus: 80A (Kurzbauergasse)
Zieglergasse 25, 1070 Wien
U-Bahn: U3 (Zieglergasse), Tram: 49 (Westbahnstraße / Zieglergasse)