换心术 The Art of Swapping Hearts

——Paper-Tiger-Rehearsal Workshop in Birach 2019


10 – 20 September 2019


Workstation Birach


Tian Gebing (theatre director, Beijing)

Wang Yanan (choreographer, Beijing)

Christoph Lepschy (dramaturg, Munich)

About the Rehearsal Workshop in Birach

‘Rehearsal’ as action

The workshop explores the notion of ‘rehearsal’ as an action, as it has been developed by Paper Tiger in its practice over the years. This shall be the first time when the heterotopic theatre practice of Paper Tiger gets transposed to the format of a workshop, covering different aspects of performing, directing, choreographic and dramaturgical work. A double folded rehearsal would be taking place both in theatre work and in daily life. It points to the dimension of every participant’s experiences and perceptions. A creative process based on everyday observations will get mixed with the associative approach towards a text by Franz Kafka. The point of departure will be Kafka’s story “the Burrow”. Fragments from the text will get remixed using parallel plateaus of scenarios, bodies, movements, daily life experiences, knowledge (as mechanism), etc. The work with shifting cultural contexts will be an integral part of this approach as well as the experience with multilingual acting. After all, a sense of cultural organ transplantation and theatre alchemy shall resonate beyond everyday life perception while it remains evident that Paper Tiger’s rehearsal practice cannot be conceived as an imaginary realm different from ‘reality’. Participants can expect to discover error as resource as well as the potential of intentional misreading.

This workshop takes place in the framework of Project BB+ by Paper Tiger.


An open call shall be addressing young persons from an international artistic community.


Group size max.            

around 15 individuals


theatre maker/performance artist/dancer/performing arts student/aspiring performer from all walks of life



Via email: papertigertheater@qq.com

(This email will serve as the only registration channel. Please enclose a short bio within 100 words and a motivational text within 200 words.)




Early bird deadline




Liu Chao


Tuition fee

Fee 600 € (Early bird 500€ / Student 300€)

Accommodation 300 €

Food 300 € (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

(Chinese yuan also accepted)


About „the Burrow”

„The Burrow” was written at the closing of Kafka’s oeuvre, where a narration takes place about how a perfect architectural artefact has become the potentially perpetual danger to the builder himself.

About Project BB+

In 2015 Paper Tiger’s theatre space in Tuofangying, Beijing was demolished, which marked the beginning of an experiment in a mobile trans-regional way of work. Since 2018, in response to the changes in socio-political reality, this continuing mobility has become an exciting strategy to break through the rigidity easily observed in life. Project BB+ was conceived in such contexts. So looks the picture: the monopolies of central metropolises will be intercepted on the individual level; decentralisation and non-continuity will keep developing to another intensity; Temporal-spatial gaps as well as ruptures between cultures and different systems will serve us. A new situation will be created, in which the exploration of the spaces in between may unfold an unknown potential.

BB+ will take Berlin-Beijing-Berlin as the axis and shall continue in a way multi-regional and multi-anchored Paper Tiger’s transcultural theatre activities that has been developing since years. Rehearsing, performance, shooting, lectures, screening, archiving and publishing will take place along with the practice of life in this mobile and migrative framework.

2019 marks the founding episodes of Project BB+, Year 01 in the bilateral workshops in Dali and Birach. At the Dali workshop in the beginning of March, Paper Tiger has invited Professor Martin Gruber from Ernst Busch Theatre Academy for his Talmi-Methode® training. The past workshop was an experiment away from central metropoles. A cache space that is both new and remote is attempted and will be developed. Paper-Tiger-Rehearsal workshop this September resonates with the Dali workshop. In the future, the bilateral workshop between Dali and Birach will possibly grow into a long-term international performance training programme, or a mobile Paper Tiger academy.


                                during Martin Gruber's BB+ Dali workshop             photo by Laogua

                                     work in progress on BB+ Dali                     photo by Zhiyao

About Workstation Birach

Birach is an old farm house, that has been transformed into a place for workshops and rehearsals, a guesthouse in the middle of a beautiful landscape, surrounded by forest, grass, hills, in the countryside not far away from the city of Munich. For more than 30 years, Martin Gruber has made this place his dojo for performance, for physical movement studies and research. Slipping out of the existing knowledge of ‘performance’, he created his Talmi-Methode®. Apart from serving Martin’s work, the workstation has also served as a liberal habitat for many international theatre makers. In 2017 the team of Paper Tiger’s 500 Meters took residence here. Birach has become one of the stations that accommodate Paper Tiger’s mobile work. Workstation Birach is equipped with one bigger and one smaller rehearsal/training spaces, plus an abundance of outdoor space. Some 20 people can be accommodated.

                                                         barn rehearsal space                      photo by Tian Gebing


















                                                    lunch in canteen                   photo by Tian Gebing


























                                                        farmhouse courtyard ​               photo by Tian Gebing


About Paper Tiger

Paper Tiger Theater Studio is an independent artist collaborative collective built by artists from different fields and trades since 1997. For the past 22 years it has curated and made a number of works and art events, seen in major cities and influential festivals of the world. Paper Tiger experiments early on with the remix of visual arts, social performance and theatre live scene, that will be summarised to Paper Tiger’s heterotopic aesthetics. Since 2011 the collective has refocused on transcultural research theatre and built many cases of international collaboration that can be described as historic. It carries a huge impact in China and internationally, and is credited as ‘the most exciting Chinese performance group in the past 15 years’ on European media. Works in the most recent period include: the Antwerp Trilogy (Monty Kultuurfaktorij, 2010/2011), Iron Horse (Hong Kong Art Festival, 2014), Totally Happy (Münchner Kammerspiele/Beijing Inside-Out Theatre, 2014/2015), Dekalog (Stary Teatr Krakow, 2016), 500 Meters: Kafka, Great Wall or Images from the Unreal World and Daily Heroism (Thalia Theater Hamburg/Festival Theater der Welt/Ming Contemporary Art Museum Shanghai), etc.

(for more information, see www.papertigertheater.com)












photo by Liu Yin​  

About the Facilitators

Tian Gebing

Theatre director, born in Xi’an, graduated from Central Academy of Drama Beijing. He initiated the founding of Paper Tiger Theater Studio in 1997. For over 20 years he has directed all Paper Tiger projects, taking theatre as the medium between history, reality and the individual by means of not playing along and spoilsporting. His works are seen in different cities in the world. Tian also works as curator and writer.


Christoph Lepschy

Dramaturg and Professor for dramaturgy. He graduated in literature and theatre at University of Munich and Trinity College Dublin. Since 1996 he has been working as dramaturg at several German-speaking city theatres and state theatres, e.g. Schauburg München, Theater Freiburg, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Staatsschauspiel Stuttgart, Theater Basel, Nationaltheater Mannheim, Münchner Kammerspiele and at the Salzburg Festival. He collaborated with many renowned directors from different countries. In 2009 he was appointed professor for dramaturgy at University Mozarteum Salzburg. Since 2012 he has been the Paper Tiger dramaturg.

Wang Yanan

Dancer, choreographer. Graduated from Beijing Dance Academy in classical Chinese dance and worked as lead in Oriental Performing Arts Company. She has won major Chinese dance and dance theatre awards such as the Wenhua Award. Since 1999 she has collaborated with Living Dance Studio and toured the world and prestigious festivals. She won the ZKB award on Zürcher Theater Spektakel with Living Dance Studio. Since 2000 she has been part of the curation, conception, choreography and theatre realisation of all Paper Tiger projects. She also served the lighting design, costume design, management and administration in the collective.

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