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Fringe festival

Performing Arts Festival 2022: Berlin’s indie underbelly

Berlin's premier arts fringe festival returns from May 24-29 for its seventh installment.

Now in its seventh year, BAF explores the concept of “togetherness” through theatre, dance, puppetry, and contemporary circus all across Berlin. Photo: Monopol Berlin

Most big cities with major theatre or performing arts festivals end up also having another festival that plays the scrappy but endearing little sibling, hanging on and vying for attention – a fringe festival. Berlin is no exception. 

The Performing Arts Festival Berlin (PAF), which follows on the heels of the Berliner Theatertreffen, gives the many performers who aren’t on the state payroll a chance to get together, meet and form affiliations, create networks and, of course, stage their colourful shows. 

Formed in 2016 from the ashes of its predecessor, 100Grad Festival, the PAF promises a riotous programme including any kind of performance you can think of – and then some. With 50 productions over six days encompassing theatre, dance, music theatre, puppetry, contemporary circus and children and youth theatre, it’s all here for the taking once PAF’s reputable elder sibling, the Theatertreffen, has come to an end and left the party with dignity. 

Visitors can look forward to acts such as avant-garde collective She She Pop; DJane and pole performer DJ FRZNTE; multimedia documentary performance group Costa Compagnie; the RECLAIM Kollektiv, which reappropriates public space in the form of billboards for art exhibition; and experimental opera company Novoflot. PAF’s ‘Wandering Festival Center’ will move between four different venues, giving each the opportunity to host events, workshops and networking opportunities. 

You can also get a glimpse behind the scenes on the Day of Open House(s), where many participating venues open their doors to interested punters. The heady mix of anything and everything is a perfect start to your summer. 

  • PAF Ballhaus Ost, HAU, Sophiensæle, TD Berlin and other locations May 24-29, more information here.