For the World – Lessingtage

Plays from Nigeria, the Libanon, the Ivory Coast, France, Germany
Premieres, Discussions
with Dunja Hayali and Michel Abdollahi, Falk Richter, Ifeoma Fafunwa, Sebastian Nübling, Omar RajehThomas Ostermeier, Compagnie Dumanlé, among others

The ‘For the World – Lessingtage Festival' has been taking place at Thalia every year since 2010. It is committed to questioning today’s major socio-political themes from a diverse range of perspectives, through its own productions, guest plays from Germany and around the world and in discussion formats. The responsibility of art when dealing with things that define our public sphere, the freedom within it, and how it allows us to take a more acute, valiant look at our society – this is one of the important topics embraced by the festival’s namesake Gotthold Ephraim Lessing.


As a cosmopolitan, radical thinker and proponent of the avant garde, Lessing helped shaped the Hamburg literary and theatrical scene of the 18th century. It was the time of the Enlightenment – a world view that turned away from preconceptions and received wisdom. These days, in times of regressive politics, Lessing’s rational optimism provides space for a controversial exchange at eye level. Passion and reason are not contradictory forces here. Or, to borrow the words of the journalist and author Heribert Prantl: ‘The person who thinks that nothing will help really cannot be helped. Enlightenment is something different, it is the end of fatalism.’
With ‘Hear Wor(l)d’ the 2019 Lessingtage is focussing on raised voices against mechanisms of repression, combined with the invitation to listen to the polyphony in the world. Among other things, the upcoming Lessingtage from 23rd January to 6th February 2020 will give a thematic focus to the international social, political and economic causes and consequences of climate change. 

Trailer Lessingtage 2019