Assessment of the Ruhrtriennale 2012-2014: Markedly younger audience enthuses over contemporary artistic programme. Attendance for 2014 continues at highest levels. Johan Simons is the new artistic director of the Ruhrtriennale 2015-2017.

24 September 2014

Presentation of the Children’s Choice Awards on 27th September in Duisburg. Sold-out finale on 28th September with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Bochum.

“In his three years as Artistic Director of the Ruhrtriennale, Heiner Goebbels has successfully shown how to astonish and enchant audiences of all types with new and radically different types of music theatre.” Ute Schäfer, Minister of Culture for the region of Northe Rhine-Westphalia


What characterizes the Ruhrtriennale are the interactions between artists and spaces. These make strong artistic experiences possible for all of us and they are my highest priority: where else does one have the freedom to allow something to develop without compromise? Heiner Goebbels in the editorial for the programme of the Ruhrtriennale 2014

Heiner Goebbels, Artistic Director of the Ruhrtriennale 2012/2013/2014 and Lukas Crepaz, Managing Director of Kultur Ruhr GmbH, present an initial assessment of the Ruhrtriennale 2014 today in Bochum. The Ruhrtriennale, in its third and final season under Heiner Goebbels, ends this weekend, 26th -28th September 2014, with, among others, further performances of Surrogate Cities Ruhr, manger, Monument 0, with the presentation of the Children’s Choice Awards in Duisburg and a concert by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum. Johan Simons will become the new Artistic Director of the Ruhrtriennale 2015-2017. The next season will run from 14 th August to 27th September 2015.

To mark the ending of the Ruhrtriennale 2014, there is a special offer: on presentation of a ticket for the 2014 season, visitors will receive free entry on 3rd and 4th October to the installation KUNSTMUSEUM by Gregor Schneider at the Kunstmuseum Bochum.

In his press conference Heiner Goebbels thanked the entire Ruhrtriennale team and the staff at the venues for their excellent work over the past three years. He also thanked the sponsors, funding bodies and partners who have made the Ruhrtriennale programme possible (see appendix for overview). 

Facts and figures for the Ruhrtriennale 2012/2013/2014:

  • Audience numbers: Four days before the end of the festival, an attendance figure of over 90% is expected for the 2014 season. Around 53,000 tickets have been allocated, including approximately 15,000 expected visitors to the exhibitions Labour in a Single Shot and KUNSTMUSEUM (until 12th October). A further 20,000 visitors walked on the open access installation Melt in the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord. The production with the largest audience in 2014 was Louis Andriessen’s De Materie with 5,000 tickets sold. Overall across the three years 2012-2014, ticket sales have reached their highest percentage since the festival was founded. Audience numbers are also at the highest level compared with previous years.
  • Younger audiences: visitors to the Ruhrtriennale 2012-2014 were younger than visitors to the previous triennales. In 2013 the average age fell to 47. The average age for the previous triennales was approximately 53*.
    (*Based on the results of audience questionnaires 2002-2014.)
  • Interdisciplinarity/breakdown of barriers between the arts: Audiences experienced numerous productions which were difficult to categorize into established genres. There were alternating points of contact between different forms of expression including music theatre, visual arts, live art, dance, performance, concert, video, film and installation.
  • The audience as protagonist: many new formats made the audience the protagonist, including Rimini Protokoll: Situation Rooms, Heiner Goebbels: Stifters Dinge / The Unguided Tour, 12 Rooms and William Forsythe: Nowhere and Everywhere at the Museum Folkwang, Gregor Schneider: KUNSTMUSEUM, Ryoji Ikeda: testpattern [100m version], Romeo Castellucci: FOLK and Wojtek Ziemilski: Prolog.
  • Contemporary programming: 2012-2014 saw a commitment to presenting music theatre outside the opera house repertoire. All the works came from the second half of the 20th century including each of the opening productions John Cage: Europeras 1&2, Harry Partch: Delusion of the Fury, Louis Andriessen: De Materie as well as Carl Orff: Prometheus, Helmut Lachenmann: Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern, Morton Feldman/Samuel Beckett: Neither, Heiner Goebbels/Mathilde Monnier: Surrogate Cities Ruhr.
  • World premieres/original productions: many world premieres, new productions and original artistic works featured in the 2012-2014 programme. This year there were more than 150 performances of 30 productions, more than half of these being world premieres, new productions and German premieres. In total 22 original and co-productions were presented at 14 venues in Bochum, Essen, Duisburg and Gladbeck.
  • Visual arts/open access installations: the visual arts played a central role in the programming of Heiner Goebbels and his team. New works by Michal Rovner, Douglas Gordon, Harun Farocki, Matthew Barney and Gregor Schneider were exhibited at a range of venues. The exhibition 12 Rooms attracted 7,000 visitors in 10 days. In addition visitors were also able to experience open access installations from artists including Köbberling/Kaltwasser, Mischa Kuball, Dan Perjovschi and Ryoji Ikeda, whose test pattern alone was seen by more than 23,000 visitors.
  • Urbane Künste Ruhr: The open access installations which were so enthusiastically received in 2012-2014 included the projects contributed to the Ruhrtriennale by the new pillar of Kultur Ruhr GmbH, Urbane Künste Ruhr under the artistic direction of Katja Aßmann: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse Park (2012), random International: Tower (2013) and cantoni/crescenti: Melt (2014).
  • RuhrKunstMuseen as venues: the Museum Folkwang in Essen was a venue for the Ruhrtriennale every year (12 Rooms, William Forsythe, Harun Farocki/Antje Ehmann) and became a centre for discussion with the so-called tumbletalks. At the Kunstmuseum Bochum, already a partner for the Ruhrtriennale in previous years, it as possible with a high level of involvement at very short notice to realise Gregor Schneiders KUNSTMUSEUM.
  • Influential artists/continuity: the “aesthetic for three years” was influenced above all by Romeo Castellucci, Boris Charmatz, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Mathilde Monnier, Lemi Ponifasio, Robert Wilson and Heiner Goebbels himself, whose artistic research could be shared by members of the audience in all three years.
  • Involvement of students: after 2012-2013, the Festivalcampus enriched the festival once again in 2014 with 244 participants from 34 schools in 17 countries. 50 festival passes were given to students up to the age of 27 each year in 2012-2014 thanks to the support of the Association of Friends and Supporters of the Ruhrtriennale and enabled them to attend all the events of the festival free of charge. The discount for young audiences was raised from 2012: children, school students and students received an overall 50% reduction on all available tickets.
  • No Education: controversial discussions were provoked by the No Education programme of 2012-2014, which brought fluidity into the established relationships between art, children and education and raised new questions about fairness, exclusion and the dignity of the child. No Education is based on the unconditional belief that everyone, regardless of age, background or education, can relate to art in a way which is immediate and unprejudiced. The Children’s Choice Awards, the offical festival jury, took place successfully in all three years with around one hundred schoolchildren each time. (See the extensive information on No Education in the press pack).
  • New events: each of the performance series initiated by the Ruhrtriennale in 2012 were sold out for the 2014 season, including the Concerts in the Maschinenhaus at Zeche Carl in Essen (classical chamber music and improvisation & sound art), the tumbletalks at the Museum Folkwang and the events of the freitagsküche (freitagsküche since 2013).
  • Prizes/Nominations: several Ruhrtriennale productions received recognition beyond the Children’s Choice Awards: Rimini Protokoll: Situation Rooms (invited to the Berlin Theatertreffen 2014), No Education (nominated for the BKM Prize for Cultural Education 2014), Carl Orff/Lemi Ponifasio: Prometheus (Carl Orff Prize 2013), Romeo Castellucci: FOLK. (PR Bild Award 2013).
  • Discovery of new and revival of old venues: with the Kraftzentrale in Duisburg Landschaftspark, the Halde Haniel in Bottrop and Zeche Zollern in Dortmund venues either became central or were reactivated in 2012-2014 which had played a lesser role in previous years. In 2014 the opening production took place in Duisburg for the first time. The overall topography of the festival was extended to cover the square in front of the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum, the Westpark, the Zeche Zollverein site with the Sanaa building and the Landschaftspark in Duisburg.
  • Tourtriennale: former industrial sites became production houses for contemporary art with a worldwide allure. Many original and co-productions of the Ruhrtriennale 2012-2014 can still be seen around the world in the months to come as part of the Tourtriennale. Tours in 2014 included Harry Partch: Delusion of the Fury to Geneva, Amsterdam and Edinburgh, which will also visit New York in summer 2015. Heiner Goebbels’ When the mountain changed its clothing will be presented this October at the Melbourne Festival, Australia among other venues.
  • International professional audience: more than 270 professionals (artists, producers and theatremakers) attended the Ruhrtriennale in 2014 from over 20 countries including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the USA.
  • Around 300 accredited journalists: a total of approximately 300 journalists have been accredited from Germany and abroad (18%) for 2014. Special note should be made of the many articles from the Netherlands about Louis Andriessen‘s De Materie, the nationwide TV reporting of the opening (including tagesschau, heute, ttt, west ART, Kulturzeit) and the reporting of the Lord Mayor of Duisburg’s cancellation of Gregor Schneider’s totlast at the Lehmbruck Museum and the opening of KUNSTMUSEUM in Bochum.
  • Online rollout: our younger audience has been accompanied by increased demand and the extension of the Ruhrtriennale’s digital provision: the number of homepage hits (definite visitors) increased heavily, the number of Facebook Fans increased from 1,200 (January 2012) to a current figure of over 6,200, and more than 2,700 interested parties follow the Ruhrtriennale on Twitter. Around thirty video interviews were made with Ruhrtriennale artists from 2012 to 2014, which can be viewed as a blog on the website and on the Ruhrtriennale’s Vimeo channel. The Newsletter remains very popular, reaching more than 10,000 subscribers.
  • Advertising and poster campaign: a restrained aesthetic was conceived for the advertising and posters for the 2012-2014 Triennale. The logo was designed by Thomas Mayfried, Munich, art direction was provided by Aoki & Matsumoto, Frankfurt am Main. Following photographys by Jitka Hanzlová of forest images (2012) and Alessandro Puccinelli’s sea images (2013), in 2014 the Ruhrtriennale’s 2014 posters displayed satellite photos of landscapes and natural phenomena. The images came from space stations belonging to NASA and the ESA.


Further information on accreditation together with images and texts can be found in the press area of

Press contact:
Hendrik von Boxberg,, +49 (0) 209. 605071 37,


The Ruhrtriennale receives support from the Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and by the European Union – European Regional Development Fund. Proprietors: State of North Rhine-Westphalia and Regional Association Ruhr.