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IMTAL Training Day: „Death in the Country“

Sun 24th November 2019, 10 am – 4 pm (regular opening times for the public) at Hessenpark Open Air Museum, Neu-Anspach near Frankfurt/Main, Germany.

Theme: „Death in the Country“

Nowadays, death is pretty much excluded from daily life. Until only a few generations ago, however, death and dying as a natural process were highly visible throughout society, and ever-present at every stage of people’s biography: Young mothers could die in childbirth, out of a large flock of siblings, only some would grow up to be adults. Life expectancy was generally lower than it is today. Risky and physically demanding work, as well as malnutrition or disease took their toll. Medical services could be scarce, especially in the remote countryside, and accidents could soon be fatal. Furthermore, custom dictated the presence of those who had passed away in the family home until the funeral. Therefore, dealing with loss and handling the deceased was therefore rather common. But how can we introduce the theme of death to a modern audience, with modern sensibilities, by means of museum theatre? How literal, how drastic, or how abstract, does it have to be? Which performative means and methods are at our disposal? Together, we will explore various ideas and compare different approaches. The museum will be regularly opened to visitors, who may be included in feedback or audience activities.


10:00 Arrival
10:15 Introductions, Setting the Theme (Angela Pfenninger, Chair of IMTAL Europe; Torsten Halsey, Head of Education and Museum Theatre at Hessenpark).
11:00 Participants improvise & try out scenes in 2-3 farmhouses, followed by other participants’ feedback.
12:30 Lunchbreak (own expense).
13:30 Get together to put down insights of trial phase. Which approaches work/don’t/or would work elsewhere?
14:00 Combine useful ideas to put together one scene; allow the public to watch and comment.
15:30 Final get together, reflection, conclusions
16:00 End of training day


How to get there

The address is: Freilichtmuseum Hessenpark, Laubweg 5, 61267 Neu-Anspach, Germany www.hessenpark.de

Hessenpark is not far from Frankfurt city and Frankfurt/Main Airport. If you are joining us from further away and need to stay overnight, let us know. Perhaps an overnight stay in Hessenpark's guesthouse (which has limited capacity) may be possible. If this is requested by anyone, we will figure out conditions individually. If you don’t come by car, let us know and we try to arrange for pick-up at a nearby station (however, NOT Frankfurt centre or airport! That takes ages). Hessenpark can also be reached by public transport. These are the options:

  • Take the „Taunusbahn R 15“ to Wehrheim and there take bus no. 64 in the direction of NeuAnspach/Anspach.
  • You can also take the train to Neu-Anspach /Anspach Bahnhof station and there take bus no. 63 in the direction of Wehrheim until the stop Haltestelle Neu-Anspach/Anspach Hessenpark.
  • On weekends and holidays, the “Kulturbus“ (which is city bus line no 5) is available from Bad Homburg/Gonzenheim or from Bad Homburg/station via Saalburg to Hessenpark Freilichtmuseum. This bus leaves hourly.

Attractions nearby

If you are in the Frankfurt area, there are many prominent museums that can be recommended - in the city itself (i.e. Städel Art Gallery; German Film Institute; Schirn Art Gallery; Museum of Communication etc.) as well as the reconstructed Roman Fortress Saalburg, which is located a stone's throw away from Hessenpark. Many architectural treasures are within easy reach by train from Frankfurt (ie. Worms, Speyer and Mainz Cathedrals; Lorsch Carolingian remains) or cities of Wiesbaden, Mannheim and Darmstadt, which boast museums and art nouveau architecture. Or why not stay on a bit, and sample some German Christmas market atmosphere? Most markets start around the 25th Nov.



Hessenpark Entrance (€ 9,-) for all participants. For IMTAL members, morning tea/coffee is included. Non-members are requested to donate an extra € 5,- for tea/coffee. Lunch can be brought in or bought at the museum restaurant at own expense. Participation fee is payable on the day. Please note that IMTAL cannot reimburse travel or accommodation expenses.

How to register

If you would like to participate in the training day, and meet the lovely museum theatre colleagues from Hessenpark (one of the few German sites with year-round, professional costumed live interpretation), drop us a line to board@imtal-europe.com until 18th November.


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