Deutsches Theaterfest at MHC April 26

Posted: April 5, 2007

Updated: May 2, 2007 - Photo Gallery from the Event

The German studies department of Mount Holyoke College will sponsor the thirtieth Annual German Theatre Festival and Competition Thursday, April 26. This year's festival will take place from 9 am to approximately 5 pm in Chapin Auditorium.

Elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and colleges and universities from New England and New York will be participating. The presentations in German will be judged by representatives from the Goethe-Institut and German Consulate in Boston, several high school German teachers from the area, professors of German from Mount Holyoke College and other Five College German departments, and faculty members from the Mount Holyoke theatre arts department, among others.

Presentations consist of a one-act play, a scene from a longer drama, an adaptation of existing material, or an original dramatization or skit and last ten to 15 minutes. Previous skits have included adaptations of Grimm's fairytales; original plays; student-written works; and excerpts from plays by Bertolt Brecht, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, and Ephraim Kishon. Performances are judged on language proficiency and acting skills, as well as appropriateness of material to level of group.

Donna Van Handle, senior lecturer of German studies and dean of international students, is organizing the event, as she has for the past 20 years. "Every spring German language students from all over the Northeast look forward with great anticipation to their annual trip to Mount Holyoke to participate in the Deutsches Theaterfest," Van Handle said. "I think the theaterfest has become so popular and well known around the country because it offers students the opportunity to use the language they've learned in a contextually meaningful way. At the same time they also realize that language learning can be lots of fun."

The festival, the only one if its kind in the country, has been held at Mount Holyoke for the past 20 years and has always been a resounding success.

"The German Consulate General and the Goethe-Institut Boston are more than proud of this annual festival, which has been held for 30 years now," said Wolfgang Vorwerk, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Boston. "This festival has demonstrated countless times that it can be fun to learn German."

Related Links:

German Government Honors Van Handle

German Studies

Donna Van Handle - Faculty Profile