Temple of Alternative Histories (TAH) is a transdisciplinary collaboration between visual art, stage art, scientists, and the wider community unfolding at Staatstheater Kassel between 15 June and 24 September 2022.

TAH revisits the many entanglements between nature and culture and seeks to discuss current perceptions of time and matter. How can mythological narratives impact nature and vice versa? What spaces and forms of mediation can enhance a public, artistic, and scientific debate about the current states of affairs?

Consisting of three major components—an arts exhibition, public programme, and stage work—TAH is inspired by the origins of the theater as a ritualistic meeting place, a structure built around an empty metaphorical space intended to stage and host meaning. All aspects aim to explore the transformative, potentially cathartic, communal possibilities for our time.

Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson, theater director

Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson (IS) is a theater director and author. Thorleifur is a leading voice within the European theater scene, with a reputation of dissecting canonical literature in a highly collective method along with his collaborators. He is the former chief of the theater department at the Volksbühne (Schauspieldirektor) and is currently a part of the leadership group at the National Theater of Iceland as well as being a regular director at the house. Thorleifur’s work has been presented, among others, at the Burgtheater Vienna, Volksbühne Berlin, Thalia Theater Hamburg, Hannover State theater, and the Norwegian National Theater. Thorleifur received the FAUST prize, the prize of the German Theater association, for the Best Production of the year 2018 for DIE EDDA—a retelling of the Poetic and the Prose Edda.

Anna Rún Tryggvadottir, visual artist

Anna Rún Tryggvadottir (IS) is a visual artist working in Reykjavik, Iceland and Berlin, Germany. She was a resident at The Künstlerhaus Bethanien (KB) in Berlin 2019/2020 resulting in a solo show in their public gallery. Her installations have been presented at Kunstverein Potsdam, the Reykjavik Art Museum, The Geology Museum of UNAM Mexico City, Gerdarsafn Museum, and Hafnarborg Museum Iceland as well as various other venues. In her continued work with material performances the artist devises technologically driven systems that facilitate and explore kinetic and cyclical behavior of natural elements. In 2021 she received the prestigious Gudmunda Art Prize for outstanding women artists in Iceland.

Cassandra Edlefsen Lasch, curator, editor

Cassandra Edlefsen Lasch (US) is a curator, editor, and writer based in Berlin, focused on the role of the editorial—processes of rereading—within artistic practice at large and at length. A major thread of investigation focuses on collaborative thought and how this is manifest in the process of making artist publications and materialising artwork in direct relation to context. She has managed global publications independently and with Hatje Cantz, served as Founding Editor at PRAXES Center for Contemporary Art in Berlin (2013–2015) and within Bergen Assembly 2016, and liaised on behalf of international artists with the gallery neugerriemschneider, among others.

The artistic directors of TAH, Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson, a theater director and author, Anna Rún Tryggvadóttir, a visual artist, and Cassandra Edlefsen Lasch, a curator, editor, and writer, explore transdisciplinary artistic expression translated via an array of mediums. In a highly collaborative process incorporating the expertise of over 140 participants from the Staatstheater Kassel, the regional community of Scientists for Future (S4F), the University of Kassel, and representatives inside Kassel civil society, various formats emerge to enhance a public, artistic, and scientific debate about the status quo and conceivable future paths.

The use of the term "temple" refers not only to the potential of a theater site, it also extends into the everyday field of contemplation, out in the world, in nature of all forms.


Arts exhibition, on view in the Staatstheater Kassel
opera foyer, 15 June – 24 September 2022


Public programme, March – 24 September 2022


Stage production, presented by Staatstheater Kassel, premiering 9 July 2022

In Collaboration

TAH is presented by Staatstheater Kassel.

Staatstheater Kassel

It is further supported by The Nordic Culture Fund, The Nordic Culture Point, and The Icelandic Art Grant.

ZUKUNFTSDIALOGE (Future Dialogues)

Citizens’ questions for the future are at the heart of ZUKUNFTSDIALOGE, a series of public events where science, art, and society embark together on the search for alternative paths to a more sustainable society. Questions collected during a series of citizen dialogues in March 2022 form the basis of programming June – September where an artistic incorporation of these impulses will be seen within the staged performance and a series of interactive public events.

The cooperation of Temple of Alternative Histories and Staatstheater Kassel with UniKasselTransfer (UKT), and Scientists for Future (S4F) is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, among others, as part of the Science Year 2022 – Participate!

To stay informed about this series of events and opportunities to get involved with the project, join the UKT newsletter.

UniKasselTransferScientists for FutureWissenschaftsjahr 2022



Artistic directors
Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson
Anna Rún Tryggvadottir
Cassandra Edlefsen Lasch

Carola Uehlken
Gréta Bergsdóttir
Business Iceland

Kolbrún Ýr Einarsdóttir

Heiðrún Harðardóttir

Ariane Spanier

Markus Kehrer

Project assistance
Megan Auður Grímsdóttir
Unnur Sesselía Ólafsdóttir
María Pétursdóttir
Amanda Poorvu
Maria Sideleva

Guðný Guðmundsdóttir


Research assistance
Charlotte Bluhme
Niko Görge
Dylan Lygo

Michelnauer Steinbruch, Michelnauer Tuff Stein
Quarzwerke Gruppe Sand
ThyssenKrup Steel
Hessenforst Kassel

Tryggvi Aðalsteinsson
Ævar Örn Ævarsson
Elín Hansdóttir
Sylvia Stöbe
Þórhildur Þorleifsdóttir


Curatorial contribution
Cassandra Edlefsen Lasch
Jonatan Habib Engqvist
Dehlia Hannah, Ph.D.

Invited participation
Rhea Dall, Ph.D.
Camalo Gaskin
Lydia Goehr, Ph.D.
Aino Ihanainen
Johanna Leinius, Ph.D.
Andri Snær Magnason
Lundahl & Seitl
studio b severin
Alexander Weibel Weibel
Mi You, Ph.D.


Staatstheater Kassel
Florian Lutz, artistic director
Patricia Nickel-Doenicke
Ann-Kathrin Franke
Kornelius Paede
Ilka Daerr, press
Georg Reinhardt, design

Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson, director and screenplay
Anna Rún Tryggvadóttir, installation
Mario Hartmuth, musical direction
Sebastian Hannak, set design
Frank Lamm, visual arts
Karen Briem, costume design
Marie-Luise Fieker, lighting
Patricia Nickel-Dönicke, dramaturgy
Katja Prussas, dramaturgy
Laura Kohlmaier, dramaturgy
Silke Meier-Brösicke, dramaturgy
Teresa Martin, dramaturgy

Amelie Werner
Mario Schomberg
Anna Hoffmann


Daniel Opper, director
Gianna Dalfuß, project coordinator
Katharina Leinius, project advisor

Scientists for Future Kassel (S4F)

Funded By