Film recording of the performance from 6 May 2017 at Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken

Saarländisches Staatstheater:
Die Folterungen der Beatrice Cenci

Ballet by Gerhard Bohner to music by Gerald Humel

The premiere of Gerhard Bohner’s choreography Die Folterungen der Beatrice Cenci (The Tortures of Beatrice Cenci) took place on 16 April 1971 at the Akademie der Künste (Academy of Arts) in Berlin. It caused uproar among critics and the public alike and made Bohner famous overnight. The subject of the piece is the bloodthirsty tale of the Roman patrician Beatrice Cenci (1577–1599) who, having being seriously abused by her father, murdered him and was later tortured as punishment.

With its realistic portrayal of torture, the choreography not only reflects the expressionist tradition of someone like Kurt Jooss but also continues the expressive, narrative, classical-based style introduced by Tatjana Gsovsky. The piece also shows how emerging German dance theatre was influenced by Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty as well as by the ideas of Jerzy Grotowski and the work of the Living Theatre.

Saarländisches Staatstheater’s ballet company brought Bohner’s signature piece back to the stage in May 2017 when it was performed for the first time in 25 years. The reconstruction was led by the choreologist Cherie Trevaskis using he notation she produced when the work was being rehearsed under Bohner’s direction at the Bavarian State Ballet in 1989/1990; it was also produced here under Bohner in 1972. Ivan Liška and Colleen Scott, who danced the lead roles in the 1973 Düsseldorf production, supported Trevaskis in her work.

The Saarländisches Staatstheater is showing the reconstruction as part of a double-bill evening with Stijn Celis’s latest work Pulcinella offering a cheerful contrast to Bohner’s bleak choreography.

Interview with former Bohner dancers (German)

A talk with Jacqueline Davenport and Margaret Huggenberger about working with Gerhard Bohner at Bremen Theatre.

The Interview is part of the documentation of Helge Letonja’s TANZFONDS ERBE project Zwei Giraffen tanzen Tango – Bremer Schritte.

Interview with Ivan Liška and Coolen Scott

In the interview, Liška and Scott remember Bohner and their work on the 1977 production of The Triadic Ballet.

The interview is part of the documentation of the TANZFONDS ERBE project “The Triadic Ballett” which was realized by the Akademie der Künste Berlin in cooperation with the Bayerische Staatsballett II in 2014.


Choreography – Gerhard Bohner
Music – Gerald Humel
Stage design – Ansgar Nierhoff
Costumes – Markus Maas
Répétiteur – Cherie Trevaskis
Artistic advice – Colleen Scott and Ivan Liška
Musical direction – Christopher Ward

Beatrice – Zuzana Zahradníková
Francesco – Laurent Guilbaud
Lucrezia – Alexandra Christian
Olimpio – Saúl Vega-Mendoza
Guerra – Francesco Vecchione
Torturers – Dean Biosca, Edoardo Ciano, Marioenrico D’Angelo, Federico Longo and Miguel Toro

Saarland State Orchestra

Performance Dates


  • 6 May 2017 | Saarländisches Staatstheater, Saarbrücken – premiere
  • 13 May 2017 | Saarländisches Staatstheater, Saarbrücken
  • 25 May 2017 | Saarländisches Staatstheater, Saarbrücken
  • 31 May 2017 | Saarländisches Staatstheater, Saarbrücken
  • 2 June 2017 | Saarländisches Staatstheater, Saarbrücken
  • 6 June 2017 | Saarländisches Staatstheater, Saarbrücken
  • 11 June 2017 | Saarländisches Staatstheater, Saarbrücken
  • 25 June 2017 | Saarländisches Staatstheaterm Saarbrücken
  • 28 June 2017 | Saarländisches Staatstheater, Saarbrücken


  • 24 March 2018  | Saarländischen Staatstheater, Saarbrücken
  • 4  & 5 April 2018 | Gasteig Munich, Carl-Orff-Saal (TANZFONDS ERBE funding for guest performances)
  • 7 April 2018  | Saarländischen Staatstheater, Saarbrücken



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