Iris Kleinschmidt

Member of the network of research training group

Political dimensions in music theater for children and young people

This project extends research in the field of opera and music theater by analyzing music theater for young audiences (MTYA) in the established institutionalized opera business. MTYA initiates structural changes there with its specialized artistic work. The main goal is to provide an analysis of these processes of change.

The controversies around colonial heritage, racism, #MeToo and inclusion influence the politics of cultural production. At stake are the consequences of content and modes of representation, questions of power distribution in decision-making processes, and opportunities for participation and sharing. These movements make voices heard within a power structure that inadequately represents such voices. In order to design future strategies of change processes in institutionalized opera, the project generates scientifically sound knowledge about their political impact where they currently take place in the MTYA.

In theater studies, the meaning of "political" as interpretation is assigned to contents, formats, constellations of perception as well as ideas. Using Judith Butler's theory, MTYA is described as a political practice of creating political subjects that follows the political modes of mimetic and deviant repetition, subversion, obfuscation, and exclusion. MTYA examines the project as a political practice in the dimensions of cultural politics, institution, and aesthetics through these modes. In order to make decision-making and negotiation processes that determine the casting of artists and the distribution of resources, content concepts and formats in the run-up to a production scientifically accessible, the project introduces the method of the reallaboratory into theater studies. The reallaboratory "Urban Story*" connects artistic action and its scientific research along the questions: (artistic:) How does opera production in the MTYA realize processes of the formation of political subjects? (scientific:) How transparently and fluidly does MTYA shape its processes of political impact? The project offers a comparative analysis of institutionalized theater in the U.S. and in Germany by seeking a collaborative project in cooperation with the San Francisco Opera (SFO) and the Deutsche Oper Berlin (DOB).



Iris Kleinschmidt is a dramaturge, cultural mediator, director and theater scholar. For the Staatstheater Braunschweig, she staged the productions "Isola" with the children's and youth choir "Belcanto" for the Digital Stage. Together with the singers, she wrote the text and implemented it in the stage design by Kenny Rüdiger. With "Knistern Knuspern Rauschen" she designed a production for the very youngest (0-3 years) in musical theater together with stage designer Gretl Kautzsch, composer Clemens K. Thomas and dramaturge Johanna Schatke. For "Fake Voices" she took over the artistic and organizational project management. Together with Erich Lesovsky (composition), Marta Bala (video) and Stefanie Fischer (dramaturgy) she developed a club evening in which visual and acoustic composition flow together with means of classical music theater sound and digital editing programs. With her current project the "Ring-Modulator" she leaves the theater and searches for urban frequencies for such a material.

Iris Kleinschmidt studied theater studies and theater pedagogy in Leipzig, Berlin and Brussels. In 2017, she was a scholarship holder of the German Stage Association within the advanced training course "Theater and Orchestra Management" at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. There, since 2021, she has been doing her doctorate under David Roesner on "Political Dimensions in Music Theater for Children and Young People." Since March 2022 she is an associate member of the Graduate College "Aesthetic Practice" of the German Research Foundation at the University of Hildesheim.

Employee: Staatstheater Braunschweig



Since 2022: Associate member of the Graduate College 2477 of the German Research Foundation "Aesthetic Practice".

Since 2021: Doctoral student at the Faculty of History and Arts at the Institute of Theater Studies, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich under the title: Political Dimensions in Music Theater for Children and Young People, with Prof. Dr. David Roesner

2017: In-service training in theater and music management, Institute of Theater Studies at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich in cooperation with the German Stage Association and the August Everding Theater Academy

2014: In-service training at the Federal Academy for Cultural Education Wolfenbüttel "Taking leadership for oneself and others" with subsequent coaching modules once a year

2006 - 2008: Master of Arts in Theater Pedagogy, University of the Arts Berlin
Master thesis: Collectively staging. Collective creativity in theater pedagogical work with adults (degree: 1,9)

1999 - 2000: Semester abroad as part of the ERASMUS program, Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium)

1995 - 2003: Master's degree in Theater Studies (HF), German Studies and Educational Science (NF) University of Leipzig, Master's thesis: Natural Performance - Embodiments of Judith Butler's Identity Theory in Contemporary Theater (Degree: 1,5)

1983 - 1995: POS Dr. Richard Sorge Mühlhausen, Gymnasium Albert Schweitzer Mühlhausen, Abitur (final grade: 1,6)



"Conquering the space and creating trust" A theatrical intervention by children with the Junges Staatstheater Braunschweig IXYPSILONZETT 02/2018.
Children's theater in China. Markets for millions



2022: Co-director JUNGES! at the Braunschweig State Theater, teaching position at the Braunschweig Academy of Fine Arts

2017 - present: dramaturge JUNGES! Music Theater at the Staatstheater Braunschweig
under the directorship of Dagmar Schlingmann, teaching position at the Technical University of Braunschweig

2012 - 2017: Head of Theater für alle/ Theater und Schule and theater pedagogue for musical theater as well as dramaturge in the area of children's and youth concerts at the Staatstheater Braunschweig under the artistic directorship of Joachim Klement

2009 - 2012: Theater pedagogue for music theater and dance at the Theater Plauen-Zwickau under the direction of Roland May

2004 - 2006: Freelance artist and cultural mediator

2003 - 2004: Production assistant in the production office of Tanzfabrik Berlin e.V.

Projects (selection) for the Staatstheater Braunschweig

2023: artistic direction Ein Festspielhaus for children in the program "Kultur macht stark".

2023: artistic direction Ring-Modulator multifaceted intervention in public space to Richard Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" (The Ring of the Nibelung)

2023: production management of the funding of the Federal Cultural Foundation within the framework of the Fond ZERO in the project Funken

2022: Direction Knistern Knuspern Rauschen music theater for the very young, dramaturgy To Fall Safely YOUNG! Music theater

2021: Direction Fake Voices - a multimedia music theater installation

2021: Direction Isola play development with young people of the children and youth choir Belcanto e.V.

2020: conception and production management of the accompanying program of Hart am Wind!

2019: artistic direction Platz da! A theatrical intervention with children