Independent Performing Arts

The self-perception and collaboration within Berlin’s independent performing arts community is not solely a function of similar aesthetic or content-based perspectives; it is primarily a result of the shared experience of independent, self-driven work.

LAFT Berlin

Landesverband freie darstellende Künste Berlin e. V., or LAFT Berlin, is a self-organized association of over 380 professional artists and culture makers working in all fields of the performing arts. It also represents the industry-specific interests of the community publicly and politically. LAFT Berlin also works within the community. The work of the association creates foundations for supportive forms of networking, passes on valuable knowledge and offers services for the community. These include the Berlin Performing Arts Program, the Berlin Performing Arts Festival, voluntary work groups and a wide variety of additional events and initiatives.

On the association website, LAFT Berlin provides information about important dates, its structure, its cultural policy work and its events. In addition, it also serves as the online presentation platform of the members of LAFT Berlin, including a short description, field of work and contact information in German and English and is also published at irregular intervals as a printed catalog of members. The LAFT Berlin newsletter can also be subscribed to via the website and regularly provides information about cultural policy developments as well as events, calls for applications and funding application deadlines.

Berlin Performing Arts Program

The Berlin Performing Arts Program is the central point of contact for artists and members of the city‘s independent performing arts community as well as for everyone who would like to inform themselves about Berlin‘s independent performing arts community and enter into contact with it. Questions dealing with artistic work in the independent performing arts community find answers in the Information Center. Cooperation events and symposia provide information about changes. Each year, the Industry Get-Together of the Independent Performing Arts invites the community and guests to take part in updates, discussions, presentations and workshops. Digital directories such as the Berlin Rehearsal Space Platform (Proberaumplattform Berlin) or the Freie Szene Kompass provide orientation.

Visiting industry professionals from throughout Germany and abroad find professional support for their concerns in the Central Point of Contact. The Touring Office supports the (inter)national visibility of artistic work “made in Berlin“. The schedule of programming of Theaterscoutings Berlin provides audience members with new perspectives through discussions, workshops and tours of performance venues. Experts pass on the knowledge they have gained about professional arts communication both in writing as well as at professional events.


There are additional structures dedicated to the useful and empowering combination of genre-specific similarities. These exist beyond the independent performing arts community and are intended for all members of the relevant genre’s community.

Bundesverband Zeitgenössischer Zirkus – Städtepol Berlin

BUZZ – Bundesverband Zeitgenössischer Zirkus e. V. has set itself the goal of actively driving forward the recognition of contemporary circus as an independent art form and part of the performing arts. The association works on a voluntary basis to network professional circus makers and to make the work of circus artists more visible. In the form of regular meetings, the BUZZ works as a contact point, meeting place and location for discussion and exchange for everyone interested in circus as well as newcomers. The shared website for the cities of Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Munich, Leipzig, Darmstadt and Freiburg and the Ruhrgebiet area provides a pool of information and knowledge with an event calendar, community directory, list of links, minutes of meetings and publications.

IG Puppen Berlin

IG Puppen Berlin promotes the networking of professional puppet and object theater practitioners in Berlin – performance venues, performers, puppet makers, museums as well as courses of study. It represents the interests of Berlin’s professional independent puppet theater makers in dealing with politics and the public and holds regular meetings to encourage solidary and constructive exchange.

Tanzbüro Berlin

Tanzbüro Berlin is the information and advising center for Berlin-based artists working in the field of dance and interested parties from outside the city. It operates the website as a broad service portal with a dance-specific events calendar as well as information regarding funding opportunities, cultural policy developments, production and rehearsal spaces and workshops. With the discount card tanzcard, the review portal tanzschreiber and the communication program mapping dance berlin, it provides a variety of opportunities for orienting oneself within Berlin’s dance landscape as well as networking. In addition, Tanzbüro Berlin works with initiatives and work groups in a variety of areas within Berlin’s dance community in order to rectify deficits and found new initiatives; it has also developed a city-wide campaign for dance and publishes the magazine tanzraumberlin.

TanzRaumBerlin Network

The TanzRaumBerlin Netzwerk brings together Berlin venues, presenters, institutions and artists whose goal is to strengthen the field of dance. As a one-of-a-kind dance initiative, the network meets regularly and is an important forum for exchange, discussion and cooperation.

Zeitgenössischer Tanz Berlin

The association Zeitgenössischer Tanz Berlin e. V. (ZTB, or, Contemporary Dance Berlin) represents the interests of choreographers, dancers, companies and dance institutions in Berlin. It informs, advises and provides its members with a public voice. As a partner for those seeking guidance and as a forum for mutual and continuous cultural policy work, the association creates initiatives to bring about urgently necessary improvements in the production and performance options and hosts various exchange forums for artists. In addition, with the support of Tanzbüro Berlin, ZTB ensures improvements in the financial and infrastructural situation of contemporary dance in Berlin.

Contemporary Music Theater Berlin

The association ZMB – Zeitgenössiches Musiktheater Berlin brings together key players in the field of innovative music theater forms in Berlin. It represents the cultural policy interests of Berlin’s independent music theater community, provides a platform for the bundling of their energies and pursues the goal of creating greater public and cultural policy attention for contemporary music theater in Berlin. Within events and initiatives, ZMB supports discourse regarding aesthetic and cultural policy aspects of contemporary music theater as well as the exchange with other (inter-)national music theater communities. It maintains a calendar with current events on its website and presents ensembles, groups and individual members of the community.

Since 2018, ZMB presents the festival BAM! - Berliner Festival für aktuelles Musiktheater (Berlin Festival for Contemporary Music Theater) and creates a platform with it that brings together a wide selection of Berlin-based music theater makers along with their different aesthetics and approaches. The next edition is expected to take place in 2021.


In order to network all artists and culture makers, organizations have formed in Berlin that work across all genres to promote shared interests.

Diversity Arts Culture

Diversity Arts Culture is the conceptualization and advisement center for diversity development in the field of culture. Its goal is to improve access to the field of culture for underrepresented groups and to remove existing barriers. To achieve these goals, it advises cultural institutions, develops qualification programs and empowers artists who experience exclusion in the field of culture. In addition, it advises Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Europe on diversity questions and initiates the collection of equality data. Diversity Arts Culture is a project of Stiftung für Kulturelle Weiterbildung und Kulturberatung (the Foundation for Continuing Cultural Education and Cultural Advisement). It is funded by Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

The Coalition of the Independent Arts Community

The coalition bundles the interests of all independent Berlin-based artists, ensembles, institutions and structures specifically for Berlin’s independent arts community. It is an open platform that discusses and formulates cultural policy demands over the course of regular meetings and organizes campaigns. It actively negotiates the jointly-achieved results with administrators and politicians.

Guides to Berlin’s Independent Arts Community

The project Guides to Berlin’s Independent Arts Community is intended to support international artists, writers, musicians, performing artists and culture makers in gaining a foothold within the cultural sector here as well as to provide the existing support structures with intercultural sensitivity. The goal of the program is to more effectively connect the existing information, advisement and qualification opportunities as well as the effective networking of the independent arts community with regional art communities in Berlin through a multilingual offering of advisement opportunities, specific information events and the creation and distribution of a multilingual print brochure about existing opportunities in Berlin. Guides to Berlin’s Independent Arts Community is a cooperation between the Performing Arts Program of LAFT Berlin with the advisement structures Schreiben & leben of Lettrétage (literature advisement program), Music Pool Berlin and Künstler*innenberatung (artist advisement program) im Kulturwerk des bbk berlin GmbH.

Council for the Arts

The Council for the Arts represents Berlin’s cultural sector as an elected independent body. This body has 24 members, which includes culture makers from well-known cultural institutions in Berlin as well as independent artists. Rat für die Künste discusses all pending cultural questions, sees itself as a mediator between politics and cultural practice and provides suggestions for future developments in the interest of the cultural life of the city and the people living in it.