top of page

换心术 The Art of Swapping Hearts

—Paper Tiger Rehearsal-Workshop in Birach


10 – 20 September 2019


Kunstbetrieb 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 BB+.


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


Group size 

max. 15


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



Via email:

(Email will be the only channel. Please enclose a short biography within 100 words and a motivational text within 200 words.)








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 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.

























































bb+ 2.jpg
bb+ 3.jpg
birach 4.jpg
birach 1.jpg
paper tiger.jpg
tian compressed.jpg

About Kunstbetrieb Birach

Birach was an old farm house. It has been transformed into a place for creative experiments, martial arts training and a place of hospitality, in the middle of a beautiful landscape, surrounded by forests, farms, hills, in the countryside connected from the city of Munich. For more than 30 years, Martin Gruber has made this place his dojo for performance, for movement studies and artistic research. Slipping out of the existing knowledge of ‘performance’, he created Talmi-Methode®. Apart from serving Martin’s work, the workstation has also served as a liberal habitat for international theatre makers. In 2017 the team of Paper Tiger’s 500 Meters took residence here. Birach is part of an international artist network. Kunstbetrieb Birach is equipped with one bigger and one smaller rehearsal/training spaces, plus an abundance of outdoor space. 20+ people can be accommodated.

at BB+ Dali workshop with Prof Gruber                                  ©Laogua

studio                        ©Tian Gebing

 lunch at kitchen                                ©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.

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.

courtyard ​                                          ©Tian Gebing

© Liu Yin​  


About the Facilitators

work in progress at BB+ Dali                                       ©Zhiyao

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.

paper tiger logo (with tongue).jpg
birach logo.png
bottom of page