A project by

Program overview


The workshops offer an artistic experience and exchange during the festival , and are dedicated to womxn.


Wednesday 15.09:
8 pm, Spiderweb – ANiMA / Anna Orkolainen and Marja Burchard

Thursday 16.09:
9 pm, Die Unverfügbaren Lektüre-Performance – Die Frankfurter Botschaft

Friday 17.09:
4 pm, Symposium Womxn Performing Selves
7 pm, Project.Fail – Alice Nogueira and Ana Clara Montenegro
9 pm, Petals – Teatro delle radici

Saturday 18.09:
9 pm, IN HER FACE ODER DIE AUTORIN IST TOT – Antigone Akgün/Hannah Schassner/Léa Zehaf

Sunday 19.09:
6:30 pm, Variations – Mouvements des Horizons
8 pm, NORA – 7women company

Pandora’s Box

Im Fleischlicht


A small space station of a formerly ambitious, highly funded prestige space project reports back to earth after being lost for a long time. On board: Three mustached astronauts (Anna Maria Pahlke, Kathrin Frech, Sophia Scherer), off to miss the world, long forgotten, eating snack! It is unclear what they have experienced in the meantime and whether they were able to defend their sausage supply against extraterrestrial threats. But there is an intergalactic concept album! 4 videos, 4-7 minutes each.

Kathrin Frech (she/her) studied Applied Theater Studies at JLU Gießen and at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague since 2017. As a freelance artist, she has already been present at various festivals with mostly collectively developed projects that revolve around the sweet spot of female amateurism. She is currently working as a curator and organizer for the international performance festival DISKURS35.

Sophia Scherer was born in Graz in 1995 and has been studying Applied Theater Studies in Gießen since 2017. As a performance and video artist, she has been seen in the Waggonhallen Marburg, in the F ° LAB Frankfurt, at the HTA Werkschauwoche, and at the fast forward festival so far. In addition, she has been working as a curator and organizer at the hungry eyes festival since 2020.

Anna Maria Pahlke has been studying at the Institute for Applied Theater Studies in Gießen since 2017. There are several experiments in the field of radio plays, stage performance, detective investigations and various video works. This continues to happen with a great thirst for nonsense and absurdity, mostly in the sweet spot of universal amateurism.


Sponsored by:


Arantxa Bodenhofer and Paloma Eichin, Guacolda Hessen

Arantxa Bodenhofer and Paloma Eichin are Chilean feminists and mothers with a migration background. They are constantly on the move developing projects and courses, educating themselves and searching their inner nirvana. They met after the social upheaval in Chile and are part of  Guacolda, a group of Chilean women in Frankfurt.

The project was initiated by Arantxa together with her mother Verónica González, actress and director, and the Chilean feminist collective Coordinadora 19 de diciembre (@coordinadora19dediciembre). The main idea is to show an aspect of the lives of the victims of femicide in Chile and Germany in order to remember who they were: their happiness, their dreams, their loves and anecdotes. Gender-based murder must be recognized as femicide in Germany and throughout the world!

Our struggle continues, because WE ARE NOT ALL…THE MURDERED ONES ARE MISSING!

Arantxa is an out-and-out actress who comes from a family of artists. Before she fell in love with a German and started her family in Frankfurt am Main, she worked as a well-known actress in theater, film and television in Chile. Being in Germany, she developed her feminist and migrant parts. She actively participates in workshops for Latinas with migrant background, performs in online theatre plays and shows her artistic side as a designer for different plays, posters and record covers.

Paloma is a journalist by passion and an educator by necessity. Like her colleague, she comes from a family of artists and philanthropists committed to language and education. She lives in Frankfurt with her family. After the Chilean upheaval, she has recovered her fighting claws and has reconciled with herself and her forgotten writing. She is part of the Latin American digital media Rohkomm as well as of the team of Cine en Rebeldía and the parent councils of her children.

weak heart/strong heart

Marianne Kjær Klausen

The video performance takes its starting point in biographical accounts of the heart disease Microvascular Dysfunction (MVD). It mainly affects women whose pain is often attributed to psychological disorders. What can we learn from women with chronic diseases? And what about diagnosis? Looking down a long hallway, fragments from interviews, articles and a longer play text can be heard.

Marianne Kjær Klausen is originally from Denmark, but has now lived and worked in Germany for twelve years. She studied philosophy and works as a theatre director, dramaturg and translator of socio-political books. For the last ten years she has made both experimental and classical forms of theatre and performnce, but it was through Magdalena München and Helen Varley Jamieson that she became interested in the possibilities of the digital. She has been involved with the Magdalena Project since 2019.

Dead Women Gallery

Yinfu Gao

In February 2020, the Chinese Communist Youth League created “Jiang Shan Jiao”, a virtual female idol, as part of its political propaganda during the first lockdown. She only survived for 4 hours on the internet, receiving thousands of aggressive comments. They have turned this virtual image of a pure, perfect and adorable young woman into an ugly, desperate and filthy one to reveal the tragic facts and cliches that women in China face in reality, and to criticize the political situation and the inappropriate propaganda during the beginning of the pandemic. “Dead Women Gallery” is one video in the film series “Jiang Shan Jiao”.

Gao Yinfu was born in China in January 1995. She is an MA-student of Angewandte Theaterwissenschaft  in Gießen. Her working method incorporates documentary theatre play and site-specific dance performance, which often address the social issues in contemporary China.

Pearl & Theory Make Compost

Kate Clayton and Sophie Seita

Pearl and Theory are two artistic personas created by Kate Clayton and Sophie Seita during a project of remote composting, filmed with phone cameras and Zoom during the first lockdown of 2020. Compost is their metaphor for intergenerational dialogue, for transformation. The compost-bed was tended by Pearl and fed digitally by Theory who contributed worm-arias from afar. In this video, Pearl and Theory share their pearls of wisdom, moving liberally through ideas like worms through soil. Photo credit: Laura Cobb, Performance by Sophie Seita and Kate Clayton at Hundred Years Gallery, London, June 2021.

Kate Clayton is primarily a queer performance artist based in Glasgow. Within her practice she works collaboratively, collectively and individually. Her main focus is on the visibility of older women, in what is, in part, an attempt to claim agency for the over-60s/70s. Her methodology includes intergenerational friendship and involves artistic personas: Silver Swimmer, Art Scrubber, Bus Pass, and – since working with Sophie Seita – Pearl Compost and Connie Spry. This autumn she is part of a cohort of five artists commissioned by Scene Stirling to make work on the theme of Climate Change in the time of COP 26. Her practice exists under the overall banner of ‘NOT DEAD YET’.

Sophie Seita is a London-based writer, artist, and educator who explores how text and the act of reading can be visualised and translated into movement, sound, space, costume, and performative objects. Her polyphonic investigations are also about listening and a dialogue with other voices. She’s dedicated to an attentive politics that recognises that aesthetic forms are never unburdened, but enmeshed with our complex and complicit relations with(in) the world. She has taught and continues to teach in a number of institutional and non-institutional settings in the UK, Europe, and the US and is committed to an intersectional, interdisciplinary, and provisional pedagogy. More information on her performances, publications and other collaborative projects can be found here.

Photo credit: Christa Holka

Where the voices go, hectic with sun

Annemarie Wadlow

Here is an elusive image, an echo of something… glimpses of a parallel world accessed through circular portals, permeated with voices of women artists, writers, poets, who are constantly in dialog across time and space. While documenting conversations with three friends, a collective question appeared between us: what does it mean to be in relation to the work of others? Can we create alternative communities by paying homage to those who inspire us?

Annemarie Wadlow As a research-led artist, her work is a continuous exploration into collective feminist practice, collaborative image-making and the power of publishing intimate conversation. Using video, photography & writing, she likes to combine these mediums with found and archival material, questioning to what extent images and writing from the past lead us to inherit or make-up understandings of personal identity and belonging. This results in bodies of work that she presents in installations and publications; creating space for engagement with histories, narratives and characters suppressed by dominant visual culture.


Juliette Pénélope Pépin

Susan is an artificial intelligence trained on a research bibliography on Care practices. They were programmed from a non-exhaustive selection of 100,000 words from the works of authors such as Audre Lorde, Maria Puig de La Bellacasa, Timothy Morthon. Susan is not gendered, but they called themselves Susan: a machinic non-human – a digital oracle. At some point Susan started to compose poems about Care, its future and its foundations. Short videos show Susan’s thoughts, but also their corporality: half machine, half organism.

Juliette Pénélope Pépin is a multidisciplinary artist. Practicing artistic making as well as theoretical and poetic writing, her work evolves according to the encounters and situations she experiences. This positional fluidity allows her to conceptualize projects that translate this total absence of fixity linked to her experience and the research she undertakes  in an experimental and sensitive way. Far from being pieces to be looked at, she wants her projects to become objects to be discussed.

Flighty Matters

Adele Dipasquale

A series of short films/video installations around the politics of production of voice and strategies of active denial. The first video explores the ‘Farfallino’ language, a coded version of Italian used by children to secretly communicate between each other. The second video reconstitutes the performance of Puccini’s aria “Un bel dì vedremo” from the very problematic opera “Madama Butterfly”. The work engages with the idea that, when language is so much manufactured and problematically connoted, the refusal of direct communication opens up a possibility for autonomy.

Adele Dipasquale born in Italy in 1994, is an artist-researcher currently based in The Hague (NL) where she has graduated from the MA Artistic Research at the Royal Academy of Arts KABK. Working across various mediums as film, installation, photography and text, her practice questions the limits of cultural binarism – from femininity to naturality, from fiction to facts – and explores the politics of language. Her recent works created narratives between secret tongues, unpleasant sounds, vibrant mutisms and magical platitudes. Theoretical research and writing are also key parts of her artistic practice.

Alter Ego

Aubane Berthommé Martinez

Alter ego part 1 & 2 are a diptych made from digitally edited analogue and digital photographs. The erotic performativity of the pictures explores the boundaries and fluidity of gender and sexual identity. It is a statement and a reappropriation of identities, a celebration of otherness. By gazing at the gaze, the viewers are invited to accompany the journey and to confront them to the male heteronormative and sometimes orientalist gaze they may project on the artist.

Aubane Berthommé Martinez is a Rotterdam based artist, curator, and a million of other things. As a multidisciplinary artist, she uses various mediums – mainly photography and painting – to explore, question and re-construct elements defining power dynamics and one’s identity (e.g. gender, sexuality, perceived race, positioning in contemporary capitalism). Her visual aesthetics combine pop culture, poetry, kitsch and extravagance. In 2020 she created Squish, a queer and feminist platform organizing cultural events.

The Rooster of Jean Casimir

Marta La Torre Rubio

A ring made of sugar that evokes the cane plantations in Haiti. Two men who mutate and grow spurs to fight. One could be France and the other Spain. White hands full of gold and wealth. Stealing and spoliation. Hands that provoke, prick and alter the environment. Suffering and masculinity to the rhythm of pasodoble. Patriarchy and being locked in a gloomy and grotesque circle. This video was created during a Zoom lecture with El Maestro Jean Casimir talking from Haiti. 1min56sec.

Marta Latorre Rubio was born in Macael, a small village in the very South of Spain which is well known for its marble mines. Her father started working there as a teenager and still works with stones. Her mother had five children with her as the youngest. She currently lives and works in the Netherlands. With a traditional education in Fine Arts, she now tries to unlearn to learn other realms that make more sense for who she is and where she comes from. In her work she investigates the concept of belonging and explores her own identity as a Roma woman in Spain (gitana). Her projects are replete with spiritual and emotional input that derives part of her family history and also gives testimony to the reconstruction history of her ancestors. At  the moment she works in video installations and in a series of big scale oil paintings.

Gathering Oysters

Vera Erykalova

Documentary about a group of Russian speaking women that gather oysters together. They find and open the oysters, they appreciate what is inside them, they connect and relax while they are looking for the good ones.

Vera Erykalova grew up in Rotterdam and is studying Cinematography in Brussels at the moment. The IFFR in Rotterdam sparked her passion for film(making) and she has been exploring this passion ever since.

The space between light and darkness

Edith van den Elzen

From this collection of visuals, an overload of colours, movements and organic shapes is seen on a self-built construction. Enter the dreamworld of the in_between state of being! This work was developed in a collective process that is presented together with performers and musicians.  The visuals were created by filming, editing, projecting and combining images with an overhead projector, using shadow play with performers and editing again. Video installation, loop “20.

Edith van den Elzen During her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, she discovered the need to express herself in a visual way. She experimented with painting, photography, performance and conceptual art and graduated with a degree in film and video art. She investigated how to find authentic ways to tell stories and how to direct performers without script. Instead of writing down the story, she conducted a social experiment where two people met. The actual meeting of these two strangers was more important to her than the outcome of the film.

Hysteria Narratives

Pleun Gremmen

Hysteria Narratives is an 8-minute video work of an on-going exploration of historical Western medical research of bodies with wombs, taking us back to the history of the wandering womb. The project was initiated for and in “Pandora’s Box” at Internationales Frauen*Theater-Festival 2020 in Frankfurt am Main in collaboration with filmmaker Edith van den Elzen.

Pleun Gremmen (NL, 1992) is an artist and graphic designer who creates narratives through a variety of media reflecting mainly on internet subculture and politics. Her toolbox consists of 3D rendering (video and «photographs»), virtual world building, graphic design (web and print), performance and installation.

Cocooning Covid/ This is an emergency/ Rent no paradise

Silvia Maria Philipp

COCOONING-COVID: Insects pupate; people turn away from a threatening world: before the pandemic by choice, during Covid-19 without many choices. Should I think stockpile or live? THIS IS AN EMERGENCY: Emergency situations – a presentiment, reality or history? The rhythm of language reflects the danger situations and rescue ways – a lecture? RENT NO PARADISE: An ocean without water, an asparagus field without harvesters, man-made nature without people. Imagine there is a pandemic and paradise is empty.

Silvia M. Philipp studied art in Munich with stays in Berlin, Rome, London, France, Scotland and Tuscany. In Italy and Germany she met Ben Patterson and Inge Broska. Besides her international art actions Silvia M. Philipp is is interdisciplinary in the fields of visual arts, performance, video, new media and composition. With the worldwide art action “steps into the next millennium” she invited people all over the world to participate. Silvia Maria Philipp combines philosophical thoughts with scientific and social aspects… Besides observation and study, she sets impulses, expresses herself in different fields, from science to Fluxus, involves society and its issues. She is the founder and organiser of the first Women’s Finance Summit and has initiated international projects. Her works have been selected for the House of History of the Federal Republic of Germany, the UN, UNESCO, at the Biennale of Valencia,Ven., at the Museum van Bommel in Venlo, the Netherlands and at the Performance Days in Wiesbaden, among others. Most recently, she attracted attention at the Beethoven anniversary BTHVN 2020 with “Love Beethoven”. Her art is a contrast to “fast-paced life”.

Pretty Woman / Thats not my name

Nana Melling and Anne Mahlow

PRETTY WOMAN / THAT’S NOT MY NAME, a video installation at the intersection of feminist discourse, film, and activism, explores narrative modes and power mechanisms in Hollywood films. In this context, the romanticization and obfuscation of assaultive behavior, sexism, stalking, and sexualized violence plays a central role and is linked to the phenomenon of gaslighting. The project addresses the question: What influence do Hollywood films have on our socialization, on a normalization of role models and behavior patterns? The (almost entirely) male-dominated narrative and the one-sided representation of women are countered by feminist positions. For this ever-expanding archive of feminist counter-narratives, we invite theorists, artists, psychologists, self-defense trainers, and journalists, among others, to share their perspectives in the form of a video contribution.

Pretty Woman / That’s not my name is conceived as a discourse video walk and was adapted as a video installation for the International Women*Theater Festival.

Anne Mahlow works as an artist, playwright and curator. Solo and in various collective contexts, she creates performances, installations and audio walks, which she has already shown at the Staatstheater Darmstadt, Mousonturm Frankfurt, FFT Düsseldorf as well as at the Ruhrtriennale, among others. She is part of the performance collective imaginary company, with which, among others, the performative audio walk Schulausflug was created. In 2016, she founded the Hungry Eyes Festival in Gießen with a focus on film at the crossroads of performance and visual arts, which is collectively directed. Together with Margo Zālīte and Sina-Marie Schneller, Anne Mahlow will be directing the FAVORITEN Festival 2022 and 2024.

Nana Melling works as a director, screenplay writer and trainer for feminist self-defense (Wendo). In various collective contexts, she realizes performances, installations and films, with which she has already been seen at the Volksbühne (Berlin), Zeitraumexit (Mannheim) and the ARENA Festival (Erlangen), among others. In 2017, together with Florentine Seuffert, she founded the collective dunkel.bunt, in which they have been dealing primarily with experimental explanatory formats ever since. In addition to her artistic work, she has completed an education as a Wendo trainer according to the BVfest quality standards.


Aylin Çaka, self-defence trainer and creator of the podcast “Simply No”.
Dami Charf, therapist, trauma activist, author, Wendo trainer
Lisa Charlotte Friederich, actress, screenwriter, director, part of the #ActOut movement
Nhi Le, freelance journalist, speaker, moderator with a focus on feminism and digital media and pop culture
Alicia Lindhoff, self-defence trainer and creator of the podcast “Einfach Nein”, political and business editor as well as a video contribution to the study “Grenzen der Grenzlosigkeit” by Themis, the trust agency against sexual harassment and violence in the film, television and theatre industry


Frauen in Bewegung e.V., martial arts, movement and self-defence
infrau e.V., intercultural counselling and education centre for women, girls and senior citizens
Mafalda, girls’ cultural centre
pro familia, German Society for Family Planning, Sexual Education and Sexual Counselling e.V.
Wildwasser Frankfurt e.V., counselling centre for girls and women – against sexual abuse


Concept, research, curation, editing: Anne Mahlow, Nana Melling
Editing: Janna Pinsker
Equipment / technology / screening station: Sara Hasenbrink
Voice / dramaturgical advice: Asja Mahgoub
Design (map): Jana Bleckmann


A production by Anne Mahlow / Nana Melling, co-produced by Nocturnal Unrest-Festival.

Supported by the City of Frankfurt and the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts.


From Thursday to Sunday there will be different Live-Music-Acts and DJanes on the protagon music stage.

Click on the buttons bellow to see the full music program.

Antagon Body Lab
Performance Laboratorium

on Wednesday 9:30 pm & Friday 8 pm |festival ground of protagon e.V.

is an interchange and communication space between artists and audience for the
development of politically relevant performances and happenings within theater culture. The laboratory seeks the creative process with the audience before it is seen as a piece on stage. By questioning behavioral, physical, and cultural patterns, it seeks to work with the body in a more free-flowing and experimental way. This year’s theme is “Womxn performing selves”.

Since 2014, antagon theaterAKTion organizes the “bodyLab”, an intersectional platform for creative experimentation in the performing arts.


Friday 4-6 pm | festival ground of protagon e.V.

Bar & Café Babuschka

On the cultural grounds of Protagon e.V. we have turned our bar into a cozy place where you can meet and exchange ideas with friends between the performances. In addition, we will of course make sure that there is enough drinks for everyone. To toast and relax after a long day of work, our wine bar offers an exquisite selection of regional wines from the Weingut Frankfurt wine press.

The Babushka Café has become a tradition at the IFTF. All fans of pancakes, vodka with cucumber, homemade jam or even coffee can’t miss this nostalgic, cozy, pleasant granny-kitchen atmosphere.

Make visible 2021

The International Women * Theater Festival stands on its own, but this year our festival is – also officially – part of a larger project. With “Sichtbar machen/ Make visible 2021” we as Protagon e.V. have created a cultural summer for Frankfurt, in the framework of which the Sommerwerft and the performance of antagon theaterAKTion with Klima X have already taken place. The IFTF, now taking place in September, will now be its feminist conclusion.

Theater, as we understand it, brings itself into the social process, and that is why we bring it where it belongs: into the public space, to the people. Finally, we want to “make visible” especially local artists* to whom we finally want to give a stage again. At the same time, it is also about opening our eyes to the urgent questions of our time; to bring the little-noticed, the repressed and the uncomfortable into the field of vision and to explore them together with the means of artistic debate. For this we need spaces in which we can meet.

Since the founding of the association, protagon has been working for these spaces, because they are not given to us. We have to create and fight for them again and again. You are cordially invited to participate and to be part of this process. Current information about the events – what happens where – can be found on IFTF or antagon TheaterAKTion.

Funded by the Hessian Ministry of Science and Art as part of the Cultural Package 2 of the State of Hesse and supported by DIEHL+RITTER/INS FREIE!


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