In der Mitte des Fotos steht Dirk Förster, der sich an eine Tür lehnt und in die Kamera lächelt. Er trägt ein dunkles Hemd. Im Hintergrund ist ein Lagerraum zu sehen. Vermutlich der eines Theaters.

Dirk Förster


Since the late 1990s, Dirk Förster (b. 1977) has been active in the independent theatre scene. He majored in theatre, cultural and media studies and has remained deeply connected to film and digital media. He was involved for many years as a volunteer with the Kreatives Leipzig Association and the Association of Independent Theatre in Saxony (LFTS). From 2011 to 2019, he served as the artistic director and CEO of LOFFT - DAS THEATER in Leipzig. Since then, he has been working as a curator, creative producer, manager and consultant for various German and international dance companies and theatre associations. In addition, he serves as the project manager for the City of Leipzig International Caroline Neuber Scholarship and also is head of the project BACKGROUND for the German Association of Independent Performing Arts.

He has now taken on the job of curator for this edition of the Theaterfestival Schwindelfrei 2022.  

Photo © private


Performing Arts Project Manager

Nicole Libnau is the contact person for the performing arts at the City of Mannheim Department of Culture. She is not only the managing director for the Theaterfestival Schwindelfrei, but also organizes the qualification series Art Up and was the production manager for the 5th National Intercultural Convention.

After finishing her studies in literature, media and political science, she was active in independent theatre and publishing. She then took on the job as the assistant artistic director and project manager at the National Theatre for Youth in Mannheim (NTM), as well as managing the artistic production office there. She was a member of the jury for the Baden-Württemberg Youth Theatre prize, the Feuergriffel literary award, and the Helene Hecht prize given out by the city of Mannheim.

Photo © Christian Kleiner

Christoph Meyer

Assistant Project Management

Christoph Meyer is responsible for the project management of the Theaterfestival Schwindelfrei at the City of Mannheim Department of Culture.

Christoph completed his M.A. in comparative literature, German and international literature with a focus on contemporary literature and cultural theory in Frankfurt and Tübingen. After working at the Alexander Verlag and for the film label Rapid Eye Movies, he was involved with the non-profit Hertie Foundation in the area of social media for the project #GenerationGrenzenlos. In addition, he organizes parties as a member of a DJ collective and produces music under the name Acid Mittelstand.

Photo © Christian Kleiner

Auf dem Foto sind die sechs Personen des Beirats zu sehen. Sie stehen im Freien vor einer Betonwand und lächeln in die Kamera.

Advisory Board

For the first time in the Festival’s history, an advisory board has been established for Schwindelfrei 2020 to assist with the preparations and program selection. The members of the advisory board represent various fields involved in the cultural and social life in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region. The board is here to advise the artistic direction particularly on sensitive matters having to do with anti-discriminatory methods of dealing with diversity and difference in respect to social inequality, discussing questions of accessibility and supporting local networks for the Festival.

The board members are as follows:

  • Charlotte Arens – Dramaturgist & Curator, Mannheim
  • Anne-Marie Geisthardt– Kulturparkett Rhein-Neckar e.V., Mannheim
  • Seda Keskinkılıç-Brück – Author, Artist, Mannheim
  • Martin Köhl – Social pedagogue, Heidelberg
  • Diana Kreissle – Student, Heidelberg
  • Katya Lwanga – The Circle Collective e.V., Student, Heidelberg

Photo © Christian Kleiner

Leonie Baumgarten-Egemole (sie/ihr) ist für das bevorstehende Festival die Awarenessperson. Sie unterstützt dabei vor allem die Künstler*innen, mit dem Ziel für diese einen Sicheren Raum zu schaffen. Sie ist Ansprechperson, sollte es Konflikte in der Vorbereitung und Durchfürung des Festivals geben.

Neben Ihrem Jurastudium an der Universität Heidelberg, ist sie Aktivistin im Bereich Antirassismus und Klimagerechtigkeit und engagiert sich auf mehreren Ebenen für eine diskriminierungsfreiere Gesellschaft. Hierbei ist ihr eine intersektionelle Betrachtung sehr wichtig. Sie hat beispielsweise auch das afro-Festival Heidelberg organisiert, ein Festival von Schwarzen für Schwarze Menschen.

Foto © Thomas Pirot

Denise Koch

Marketing and Public Relations

Denise Koch works at the Kulturamt Mannheim and focuses on project management, fundraising and cultural mapping. She is assisting the Theaterfestival Schwindelfrei in the area of marketing.

Denise Koch studied cultural studies with a historical focus and a major in art history in Saarbrücken and Paris. After having worked as a curatorial assistant for the non-profit organization Basis e.V. in Frankfurt (Main) for two years, she started working on her dissertation in art history receiving a grant from the German Research Society’s research training group transnational media events (JLU Giessen). Recently, she completed a traineeship within the lab.Bode (Bode Museum) Initiative to Strengthen Museum Education in Museums at the Kunsthalle Mannheim.

Photo © Christian Kleiner

In der Mitte des Fotos steht Christian Thurm. Er lächelt in die Kamera. Er trägt ein lockeres dunkelgraues Hemd und hat die Hände in den Hosentaschen. Der Hintergrund ist hellgrau.

Christian Thurm

Technical Director

Christian Thurm, after completing schooling in carpentry and metalworking, started studying industrial design at the Kunstakademie Stuttgart. It was during his studies that he began to design stage sets; winning 3rd prize (Mercedes 1998) and the 1st prize for theatre (Tagträumer 1990) awarded by the Stuttgarter Zeitung.

After completing his studies, he developed exhibition display systems, furniture and trade fair stands and won the Roter Punkt award in 1996 und IF Design Award in 1997. In 1997, Christian started working as the technical director for the Jungen Nationaltheater Mannheim (until 2003 under the direction of Brigitte Dethier, and afterwards under Andrea Gronemeyer). In addition, he was the production director in the technical direction at the National Theatre between 2001 and 2006. In 2006, he took over the technical direction of the Jungen Oper. Starting in 2015, he became the head of stage design at the Jungen Oper and Jungen Nationaltheater.

Since 2017, Christian Thurm is the head of the carpentry department at the Nationaltheater Mannheim and has been responsible for the set design for over 60 productions at the Jungen Nationaltheater and Jungen Oper.  In addition, he has done work for the State Theatre Oldenburg, DNT Weimar, Theater Dortmund, State Theater Mainz, JES Stuttgart, dramatic plays and ballet for the Nationaltheater Mannheim, Ranga Shankara Theater Bangalore, India as well as for theater groups in Madrid and Zamora, Spain.

Photo © Christian Kleiner

In der Mitte des Bildes steht Tilo Schwarz. Er sieht in die Kamera, hat einen Bart, trägt eine Brille und ein schwarzes Jacket. Der Hintergrund des Fotos ist schwarz.

Tilo Schwarz

Event Engineer

From 1993 to 2007, Tilo Schwarz was the chief lighting director at the Badische Landesbühne in Bruchsal.

From 2000 to 2016, he was the curator and artistic director of zeitraumexit, Mannheim working on the international festival for performance art and networking entitled “The Wonder of the Prairie,” among other projects.

He also works as a freelance graphic artist, lighting and stage designer.

Tilo Schwarz works and lives in Mannheim.

Photo © Lys Y. Seng

Zu sehen ist Hannah Sikezsdy vor sonnigem Hintergrund. Sie hat langes Haar, trägt eine Brille auf dem Kopf und lächelt in die Kamera.

Hannah Sikezsdy


Hannah Sikezsdy is this years intern and supports the Theaterfestival Schwindelfrei in various departments, such as project management, media and public relations, social media and marketing.

After graduating from high school in 2018, she began to study at the University of Heidelberg, in the subject Sociology, at the end of 2019, as part of which the internship at the Kulturamt Mannheim takes place. Since the beginning of her studies, she has been particularly interested in public relations, as well as working in the cultural domain. 

She is now looking forward to use her previous knowledge in practice, to get to know different ways of working, as well as various forms of expression of the independent scene and to be able to contribute to the team.

Photo © private