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Ready, set… Treff!

Tickets for the 50th THEATERTREFFEN (May 3-20) go on sale today! And, like every year, they're going to be hot, hot, hot. Here's a quick rundown of our picks for the English-speaking crowd. So read on and don't miss out on Germany's best theatre.

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Medea. Photo by Birgit Hupfeld

The pre-sale of tickets for the 50th anniversary of the Theatertreffen German theater festival centred at Haus der Berliner Festspiele is officially on.

As of Saturday, April 13, you can take your pick at the Theatertreffen’s website. But you’ve got to buy now, the frenzy is intense and you don’t want to miss out. Read our recommendations below.

The Theatertreffen (“theater gathering”) is the German theater world’s mashup of the Oscars and the Berlinale, all run by the critics. The Berliner Festspiele chooses a panel of theater critics and then sends them out to see all of the productions from around Germany, Austria and Switzerland each year. The 10 most extraordinary are then invited to perform in Berlin. And much like being invited by the emperor, you don’t say no.

In this, the 50th year of the festival, half of the productions will be shown with English surtitles, making the whole experience a bit easier for those with less than perfect German. Thalheimer’s production of Medea from Frankfurt starts the whole shebang, so those tickets are likely to be snapped up quickly. Medea is followed by Hans Fallada’s classic Every Man Dies Alone from Hamburg’s Thalia Theater, a five hour version of War and Peace and a production of notorious Austrian author Elfriede Jelinek’s The Street. The City. The Raid. from Munich.

Of the other selections two have so little text that it’s probably worth trying them out anyway. British director Katie Mitchell’s cinematic Journey Through the Night is more about the visuals than the limited dialogue, and Volksbühne director Herbert Fritsch’s Murmel Murmel has one word and one word only (hint: it’s also in the title). French choreographer Jerome Bel’s Disabled Theater is a mix of Swiss German and a roughly simultaneous English translation – because no one understands Swiss German. All of these are in relatively small venues as well, and likely to sell out.

Of course, the 10 invited productions are just the beginning – the program includes discussions, readings and a variety of excuses to party. Check out Exberliner‘s English-language partnering with the Theatertreffen blog, contributed by yours truly, for updates starting in May 1.