Heiner Goebbels's Stifters Dinge and the Arendtian Public Sphere


  • Luke Matthews The University of Melbourne




Arendt, Heiner Goebbels, Stifters Dinge, Eichmann


Heiner Goebbels’s works are examples of “postdramatic” theatre works that engage with the political by seeking to challenge socially ingrained habits of perception rather than by presenting traditional, literary-based theatre of political didacticism or agitation. Goebbels claims to work toward a “non-hierarchical” theatre in the contexts of his arrangement of the various theatrical elements, in fostering collaborative working processes between the artists involved, and in the creation of audience-artist relationships. In offering a reading of Goebbels’s “no-man show” Stifters Dinge, this paper seeks to situate Goebbels’s practice within a theoretical tradition that also encompasses Hannah Arendt’s deployment of the theatre as a metaphor for the public sphere. Within this analysis, I suggest, theatre can be seen to offer the possibility of a participatory democracy through its attention to disappearance and absence.

Author Biography

Luke Matthews, The University of Melbourne

Luke Matthews is a recent Masters graduate from the School of Culture and Communication at The University of Melbourne, where his research focused on performance and the public sphere. His Masters thesis centred on the work of Heiner Goebbels. Luke also teaches Theatre Studies and English at St Michael’s Grammar School in Melbourne and has previously taught literature and performance at both secondary and tertiary level at a number of Australian institutions.


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How to Cite

Matthews, Luke. 2019. “Heiner Goebbels’s Stifters Dinge and the Arendtian Public Sphere”. Performance Philosophy 5 (1):109-27. https://doi.org/10.21476/PP.2019.51271.