documentary based arts
The Berlin and Hamburg based COSTA COMPAGNIE was founded by Felix Meyer-Christian in 2009 as an open collaboration of interdisciplinary working artists during his studies at the Conservatory for Music and Theatre in Hamburg. The works of the past years combine documentary, performative and choreographic methods with an essayistic, multi-perspective narrative. The group pursues their concept of an Archeology of the Present and the focus of several works have been global war- and conflict zones, processes of transformation and the human within. COSTA CIE. thus conducts interviews with the people on site and gathers film- and audio-footage, such as in South Sudan (2019), Afghanistan (2014), the US (2014/16), UK (2019), Israel (2015-17), Russia (2012), Fukushima/Japan (2012), Norway (2017), Lebanon (2013) and Iraq (2017).
Part of the filming is conducted with drones and 360°-cameras and assembled in immersive media performances and films. Meanwhile the group works on developing documentary and performative content in virtual reality. In their most recent work OK, GOOGLE, the Costa Cie. is performing text and media together with the first fully operational Artificial Intelligence inside a performance space. Apart from these technical rather complex setups, the group also researches into analogue immersive settings, by using imaginary trips as a practice of participation, together with the audience.
Members and collaborators come from the fields of directing, choreography and contemporary dance, audio, video, visual- and performing arts, computer science, stage design, theater sciences and geography. Their academic backgrounds include the Theatre Academy of Hamburg/University of Music and Theatre, the University of Visual Arts Berlin, the Institute for Applied Theatre Science in Giessen, the Humboldt University Berlin, the Free University of Berlin and the University of Visual Arts Hamburg. All members also work in other contexts and sometimes a production includes just 2 or 3 and sometimes up to 15 artists. Almost each work aims to integrate new artists into the group.
Productions, partially study-related, have been presented within
// the Independent Scene at the at IMPULSE-Theater-Festival 2016 at FFT Düsseldorf, at Kampnagel Hamburg, at Ballhaus Ost Berlin, at Mousonturm Frankfurt, the Theaterdiscounter Berlin, the Lichthof Theater Hamburg, the Residency Program of Fleetstreet Theater Hamburg, the Your-Chance-Festival Moscow,
// at State- and City-Theaters such as the Körber Studio Junge Regie 2012 at Thalia Theater Hamburg, the Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, the Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg, at Theater and Orchestra of Heidelberg, at Staatstheater Mainz, the St. Pauli Theater Hamburg, the Outnow-Festival at Theater Bremen and the Theater Osnabrück
// at Institutes and Universities at the Goethe Institut New York City, the Fergusson Dance Theater at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie (NY, USA), at Alfred Institute Tel Aviv, at Sacharov Centre Moscow/Intl. Lab for Documentary Theatre and
// at Galeries, Art Museums und Exhibition Centres such as the Gallery Mario Kreuzberg and the Circle-1-Gallery in Berlin, the Art Museum Harburger Bahnhof in Hamburg, Cuxhavener Art Museum, the Center for Contemporary Art Tel Aviv and the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in Rio de Janeiro.
The company has been funded by the National Performance Net, the Mellon Foundation, City of Hamburg Department for Cultural Affairs, the Hamburg Cultural Foundation, the Rudolf Augstein Foundation, the Mara and Holger Cassens Foundation, the Ilse and Horst Rusch Foundation, the Zeit Ebelin Foundation and Gerd Bucerius, the Fleetstreet Residency Programme, the Albert Töpfer Foundation and the Fonds for Performing Arts.
From 2013 until 2015 the group was funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation for the two-year residency program „Fonds Doppelpass“ together with the Theater and Orchester of Heidelberg. The project CONVERSION focused on the draw-down of American forces from Heidelberg after 68 years of presence as well as the draw-down of German and American forces from Afghanistan.
In 2016-17 the COSTA CIE. was touring their production CONVERSION / AFTER AFGHANISTAN at the Ballhaus Ost Berlin, Theater am Lend Graz, Impulse Festival Düsseldorf and Kampnagel Hamburg, as well at Vassar College, NY, and the Goethe Institut NYC, USA.
From 2018 – 2020 the new “Fonds Doppelpass” project FIGHT (FOR) INDEPENDENCE together with the State Theater Nuremberg, the State Theater Oldenburg, the Edith Russ House for Media Art and the Ballhaus Ost Berlin for guest performances will follow. Interview based research will take place in Germany, England, Catalonia, Mozambique and South Sudan.
Felix Meyer-Christian (Artistic Director / Performer / Author) works within the company, in solo works in the visual arts, as well as a director and writer in text-based theater. His latest works contain on-site-research combining documentary, choreographic and performative methods with an essayistic narrative and a focus on global transformational processes.
In 2012 he completed his studies in theater directing at the Theatre Academy of Hamburg (Conservatory of Music and Theatre). He also holds a Master Degree (2007) in Geography, International Law and Environmental Management from the Humboldt- and Free University of Berlin and the University of Lisbon, Portugal, with several internships in Bhutan, Peru and the U.S. During this time, Felix focused on the field of development cooperation, disaster risk reduction and climate change, especially with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). Since 2014, he has also been working as a dramaturg for the Japanese choreographer Chikako Kaido in Duesseldorf.
Katharina Kellermann (Audio) studied at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies in Giessen, since then she has worked as an auido artist in the field of performance, choreography, installation and art in public space. She was involved in various performance projects (at Mousonturm Frankfurt, Sophiensäele Berlin, Kampnagel Hamburg, Schauspiel Frankfurt, Theater und Orchester Heidelberg among others). She is part of the feminist performance and media art collective SWOOSH LIEU, which was honored with an invitation to Tanzplattform 2014 with their performance The Factory – eine Besetzungsprobe. She has created soundwalks, audio pieces and installations, such as a series of radio plays for the Museum Judengasse in Frankfurt, the site-specific audio installation Images from tomorrow – a walking monument in the area of the former Hospital Barracks in Heidelberg and recently the multichannel audioinstallation In the vicinity – an assembly in between history and memory at CCA Tel Aviv.
In her work she considers music and sound as a equal medium of the theatralic process, in several productions she is performing live. She deals with sound-based forms of commemoration and the transformation of visual phenomenas into the acoustic medium. In doing so, she tries to develop formal-aesthetic approaches based on emancipatory (feminist, postcolonial) discourses and to create temporary heterotopias.
Since 2015 she is a PhD candidate at the graduate school Performing Citizenship (HCU,K3, Fundustheater – Hamburg) with an artistic research project on Citizenship and politics of remembrance. Sound as a commemorative cultural medium in postcolonial Hamburg.
Miguel Murrieta Vasquez (Video) born in Guayaquil, is an Ecuadorian media artist, based in Hamburg. He has a German Bachelor degree in Sound Engineering in Media Technology and a Masters degree in Time-Based Media (sound & vision). In his line of work he combines engineering and arts. His first sound installation was in the State Residenz Theater in Munich and he also worked long term for the Thalia Theater in Hamburg. Meanwhile, he has been active already in 16 different countries and is an expert in documentary film productions, including two scientific expeditions in Mexico and the Antarctic. Miguel is currently working for a German feature film about Afghanistan and has also been collaborating with the costa compagnie as their video artist in 2015 – 2018 and ongoing. He worked in various sound, opera and film projects are scheduled in 2016/17, in Germany, Switzerland, England, Ethiopia and and has been working two productions in Antarctica.
Jascha Viehstädt (Dance / Choreography) – MA Choreography at the Inter-Univercity Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT) / HfS Ernst Busch. Graduated in contemporary dance from the Contemporary Dance School Hamburg in July 2011. Accompanying studies in “Cultural Management and Media Management” at the University of Music and Theatre Hamburg. Workshops and dance classes in ballet, modern, choreography / composition and improvisation among others with Wanda Golonka, Ingo Reulecke and Manuel Alfonso Pérez Torres.
Starting to concentrate on his own choreographic development since 2011, works has been shown in Uferstudios Berlin, BAT-Berlin and Kampnagel Hamburg. Engagements as dancer and performer in various free productions at Kampnagel and K3 – Zentrum für Choreographie Hamburg as well as in projects of the Hamburg Theatre Academy, as Guestdancer at the Staatsballett Hannover and the municipal theater of Lübeck. Since 2009 Jascha is a member of the COSTA CIE as performer and choreographer and is touring with CONVERSION.
Hauke Heumann (Performance) was born in Lübeck and studied German Language, Literature Studies and Gender Studies in Hamburg and Berlin. Afterwards he completed an acting degree at te University of Fine Arts Berlin. From 2005 to 2008 he worked for the City Theater Aachen. Continuous collaboration with the performance group Gintersdorfer/Klaßen since 2006. He also works regularly with Johannes Müller for Sophiensaele Berlin and the State Opera of Munich, participated at the International Forum of the Berlin Theatertreffens in 2012. From fall 2012 Hauke Heumann worked with Gintersdorfer/Klaßen as artist in residence at the City Theater Bremen in the program Doppelpass of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes. Collaboration with Costa Compagnie since 2013 with FUKUSHIMA, MY LOVE and CONVERSION. He lives and works as freelancing actor in Berlin.
Maria Walser (Dance / Performance) lives and works as a freelance dancer, choreographer and actress in Berlin. Since 2011, she has been working in dance with co<Labs, Kopergietery Gent, MS Schrittmacher, Elisabeth Lambeck, Sergiu Matis and COSTA COMPAGNIE. As an actress she starred at the State Theater in Oldenburg, the Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin and the Volksbühne in Berlin. She choreographed works for the group Mass and Fieber Ost which were presented at the theaters in Jena and Mainz and created works for Zeitgeist Gruppe. Before, she was a dancer at the Dancetheater of Nürnberg, working with Daniela Kurz, Andre Gingras, Rui Horta and Stijn Celis. From 2007- 2010 she was a dancer at the State Theaer of Oldenburg and danced for Jan Pusch, Club Guy and Roni, Rami Beer, Inguun Bjornsgaard, Ina Christel Johanessen and Tero Saarinen.
Marcus Thomas (Audio / Sound / Composition) studied Cultural Studies, Aesthetics and Applied Arts at the University of Hildesheim and completed a Master of Arts in the field of Sound Studies at the University of Visual Arts Berlin. His own artistic works vary from sound installations, concerts for prepared instruments, soundscape compositions, workshops on sound, electro-acoustic music pieces to experimental radio formats. He lives in Berlin and works as a freelance theatre musician, performer, composer and sound artist for various film, theatre, dance and opera projects. He is also a founder of the music theatre group “musiktheater bruit!”. Institutions he worked for have been amongst others the State Theater Hannover, State Theater Dresden, Sophiensaele Berlin, Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, Atze Musiktheater Berlin, Ballhaus OST Berlin and Kunstfestspiele Herrenhausen Hannover. www.marcusthomas.de
Nicole Nowak (Assistance / Stage) is a stage manager and assistant stage designer for COSTA CIE in various productions. She currently also studies Interior Design at the University of Hannover, majoring in Inner Architecture and specializing in stage design. As preparation, she completed internships as a tailor, carpenter and at the State Opera. She also worked in a production at Thalia Theater Hamburg as an assistant to Annika Marquardt and Lani Tran Duc and contributed in FUKUSHIMA, MY LOVE and CONVERSION / NACH AFGHANISTAN.