Heiner Goebbels

Everything that happened and would happen

Mayfield, Manchester
10 October 2018 - 21 October 2018

Live music, performance, sound, movement, image, and moving image were brought together on the site of a former railway station in Manchester to explore Europe since the outbreak of World War I.

As with much of the artist’s previous work, this new commission will draw inspiration from literature, art, and current affairs. Everything that happened and would happen incorporates texts from Patrik Ouředník’s 2001 book Europeana, re-purposed costumes, props and sets from Goebbels’ own 2012 staging of John Cage’s Europeras 1&2, and feeds from Euronews’s No Comment: original, unedited footage of that day’s news with neither commentary nor mediation.

As with Europeana, this durational performance work is non-linear. Featuring 20 performers and musicians, it will highlight the paradoxes, collisions, and rifts of European history instead of simplifying its complexity into a single narrative line.

Co-commissioned with 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, alongside Park Avenue Armory and Ruhrtriennale, this world premiere is co-presented with Manchester International Festival (MIF) as a pre-Factory event. The audience is invited to explore the vast expanse of Mayfield and experience the work from a range of different vantage points. 

Since Manchester, the performance has toured to Park Avenue Armory, New York, USA from 3 – 9 June 2019 and will be performed in Ruhrtriennale, Bocham, Germany from 23 – 26 August 2019.

Image: Heiner Goebbels, Everything that happened and would happen (2018) at Mayfield, Manchester, October 2018. Photograph: Thanasis Deligiannis


Heiner Goebbels in Saint Petersburg

31 October – 2 November 2019
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Heiner Goebbels in Saint Petersburg

SOON 31 October 2019 - 02 November 2019

Heiner Goebbels, Everything that happened and would happen at the Street Art Museum - SAM, St Petersburg

Goebbels’s most recent Artangel project is a sideways view of European history – from the First World War to the present day. It has been performed in Manchester, UK, New York, USA and Bochum, Germany.



Revolyutsii Hwy
84AB | entrance from Industrialny Avenue
Saint Petersburg






by Patrik Ouředník
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Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century 

The Germans were tall too, while the tallest of all were the Senegalese fusiliers in the First World War who measured 176 centimetres, and so they were sent into battle on the front of lines in order to scare the Germans. — Patrik Ouředník, Europeana

Europeana is a surprising deconstruction of the 20th century, beginning with the First World War. The 120-page, 66 chapter book was written in 2001 as a series of incongruous juxtapositions of political and social history, seismic events and trivial anecdotes, often jumbled up and out of sequence.

This video is also available to watch on Vimeo and YouTube.

Directed and produced by Soup Co.
Camera/Director: Mark Thomas
Additional Camera: Stefanos Aktipis
Edited by Maretha Ilves

Europeras 1&2

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Europeras 1&2

John Cage’s Europeras 1&2 draw on arias, stage sets, costumes, figures, and gestures from the store of European opera history. Heiner Goebbels originally staged Europeras 1&2 for the Festival Ruhrtriennale in 2012. Costumes and sets from this production, rather than Cage’s music, will contribute to a dynamic landscape of objects, bodies and images, in permanent states of change. Goebbels’ own music and soundscapes will fill the space.

Image: Heiner Goebbels, Everything that happened and would happen (2018) at Mayfield, Manchester, October 2018. Photograph: Thanasis Deligiannis


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Dancers in black jumpsuits twist and turn through hundreds of delicate beams of light. They reach up from their prison cells to clasp at daylight and bound about nervously on all fours. — Kate Connolly, Guardian

Selected Press

He hopes his audiences – who are being urged to wear sturdy footwear, dress up warm and leave babes-in-arms at home – will go away from his performance feeling different. “But maybe not in the sense that they get an answer. Maybe in the sense that now they have more questions.” — Kate Connolly, the Guardian, 9 October 2018
Through the gloom at the rehearsal in September, the performers dragged heavy props around a stage set with tall, two-dimensional trees and a projected map of Germany. – Fisun Güner, The New York Times, 10 October 2018
“Everyone brings their own reality to the work” – Heiner Goebbels interviewed by Maya Black, Manchester Evening News, 3 October 2018
Elsewhere in this epic show, dazzling lighting effects, rolling rocks, pillars and even laundry trolleys complement the performers’ exhausting antics. – Kevin Bourke, Northern Soul, 11 October 2018
He has created a phantasmagoric, ever-changing landscape permeated by spoken text and film, and populated by 12 dancers and five musicians who perform for almost three hours amid a plethora of constantly manipulated props and objects. – Roslyn Sulcas, New york Times, 2 June 2019

No Comment

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No Comment

No Comment is a strand of the European TV channel Euronews which offers original, unedited footage of each day’s news with neither commentary nor mediation. Short clips are labelled with the date of the recording and the name of the location. The news ‘story’ can only be understood via the viewers’ imagination, combining time, location, sound, and image.

Image: Heiner Goebbels, Everything that happened and would happen (2018) at Mayfield, Manchester, October 2018. Photograph: Thanasis Deligiannis


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Built to relieve the pressure on the nearby London Road station, now known as Manchester Piccadilly, the Mayfield railway station opened in 1910. Despite being hit by a parachute mine in December 1940, the station maintained a busy service until the expansion of Manchester Piccadilly in the 60s made it superfluous. It became a postal depot for Royal Mail in the 70s and early 80s and earned its new name, but afterwards was only in use briefly as an indoor karting track and occasionally as a TV and film set. In 2013, Manchester International Festival breathed life into this now partly derelict building, staging a series of performances here, then returning again in 2015, and again in 2017 with Boris Charmatz’s 10000 Gestures.

This video is also available to watch on Vimeo and YouTube.

Directed and produced by Soup Co.
Camera/Director: Mark Thomas
Additional Camera: Stefanos Aktipis
Edited by Maretha Ilves

Setting Up

30 seconds
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Video: Behind the scenes at Mayfield

In August 2018, a team of technicians began transforming the site of Mayfield, a former railway station in Manchester, for the performances. In this video you can see them rigging fabric as projector screens and creating a grid of 64 fields, like a gigantic chess board, to make the floor. 

This video is also available to watch on Vimeo and YouTube.

Directed and produced by Soup Co.
Camera/Director: Mark Thomas
Additional Camera: Stefanos Aktipis
Edited by Maretha Ilves

Making of Everything that happened and would happen

10 minutes 15 seconds
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Making Everything that happened and would happen

Heiner Goebbels discusses the making of Everything that happened and would happen with insights from the performers and musicians.

This video is also available to watch on Vimeo and YouTube.
Subtitled versions are available on Vimeo and YouTube.

Camera by Mark Thomas, Stefanos Aktipis and Leanne Judge
Sound by Maretha Ilves and John Redfern
Edited by Maretha Ilves

About Heiner Goebbels

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Heiner Goebbels

Heiner Goebbels has worked with Artangel on two projects, Stifter's Dinge (2008) and Everything that happened and would happen (2018).

Inspired by an eclectic range of influences and sources, composer and director Heiner Goebbels’ fascination with literature, politics and anthropology informs richly textured visual compositions that integrate classical, pop, jazz and traditional indigenous music. Works by Goebbels performed in the UK include Songs of Wars I Have Seen, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 2007; Eraritjaritjaka, Edinburgh International Festival, 2004 and Hashirigaki, Barbican, London, 2002.

Goebbels works as a professor at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies of the Justus Liebig University in Giessen and is President of the Theatre Academy Hessen, Germany. From 2012 to 2014 he was the artistic director of the International Festival of the Arts Ruhrtriennale.


Images: (left) The artist and performers at performance workshops of Heiner Goebbels’ Everything that happened and would happen (2018). Photograph: Killa Schuetze; (above) Heiner Goebbels speaking about Stifter’s Dinge at Ambika P3 in 2012 (above). Photograph: Ewa Herzog

Production Credits

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Production Credits

Concept, Director — Heiner Goebbels
Video Design — René Liebert
Light Design — John Brown, Heiner Goebbels 
Sound Design — Willi Bopp
Dramaturgy — Matthias Mohr
Assistants to the Director — Théo Arnulf, Niels Wehr
Observation & Support — Maud Blandel, Thanasis Deligianassis, Shiori Tsuchida 
Technical Director— Georg Bugiel

Music — C.Emaille, G.Gebbia, C.Lartigau, L.Maurel, N.Perrin, O.Messiaen, H. Goebbels  

Performers — Juan Felipe Amaya Gonzalez, Sandhya Daemgen, Antoine Effroy, Ismeni Espejel, Montserrat Gardó Castillo, Freddy Houndekindo, Tuan Ly, Thanh Nguyễn Duy, John Rowley, Annegret Schalke, Ildikó Tóth, Tyra Wigg

Musicians — Camille Emaille, Percussion; Gianni Gebbia; Clarinet, Saxophones; Cécile Lartigau. Ondes Martenot; Léo Maurel, Organ; Nicolas Perrin, Guitar, Electronics

Voices — Vincent Dugdale, Shiori Tsuchida, Thanasis Deligiannis

All set elements originally designed by Klaus Grünberg for John Cage: Europeras 1&2 (directed by Heiner Goebbels, Ruhrtriennale 2012)

Texts from Europeana by Patrik Ourednik

News Clips No Comment by Euronews

Click to read full credits for the Mayfield performance and workshops in Manchester, Essen, Paris, and Hanoi.

Image: From the performance workshops of Heiner Goebbels, Everything that happened and would happen (2018). Photograph: Killa Schuetze


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Who made this possible?


Produced by Artangel. Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW; WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, Artangel, Park Avenue Armory and Ruhrtriennale. The world premiere is co-presented with Artangel and Manchester International Festival (MIF) as a pre-Factory event. 14-18 NOW is supported from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Artangel is supported by Arts Council England, and by the private patronage of The Artangel International CircleSpecial Angels, Guardian Angels and The Company of Angels.

With the kind co-operation of Euronews.

Featuring extracts from EUROPEANA: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century by Patrik Ouředník.

Contextual programme supported by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany London, with thanks to Goethe-Institut London. With grateful thanks to Goethe-Institute, Vietnam for support towards the participation of Thanh Nguyễn Duy.