Gob Squad

1984: Back to No Future


German /  English /  90 mins.

A person stands with their back to the camera, wearing a black leather jacket with "No Future" written on it. In the background, probably projected onto the stage in large format, is a pixelated image of a person wearing glasses.
In the foreground there is a person with a technical device in their hand, perhaps a camera or a small spotlight. In the background there are two other people in front of a large picture that says "1984".
Three people stand next to each other and look towards the camera. They are difficult to recognise because, just like the background, they are illuminated with an image of another person that looks pixelated.
On several levels of the picture there are screens on which the faces of the performers of the stage can be seen. One person stands between the screens and their face is also projected onto one of the screens.

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
George Orwell: “Nineteen Eighty-Four”

Since the premiere of “1984: Back to No Future” at HAU had to be postponed due to the pandemic, Gob Squad return to HAU after the final rehearsals and travel back to 1984, back to the good old analogue days when life was simple and there were only three channels on TV. It’s a perilous journey: they might get lost in music, lost in nostalgia or both. But once they arrive, they discover their younger selves: caught up in the Cold War, fearful of nuclear catastrophe, trying to shape who they might become. As they sift through the fragments of their teenage bedrooms, they reconstruct their own personal past, and the music drags them into a psychedelic virtual world of disembodied avatars. Under surveillance and under pressure, they fight, dance, build a nuclear shelter and try to dismantle what may have been written into their programming codes. Were these teenagers in control of their bodies, their fate and their ability to change things? Or were they following ready-made templates, part of a larger plan? Can they re-programme their own story, and influence the currents of history? Or at least see it through different eyes? As Gob Squad warp time and go back to a past which saw ‘No Future’, are they able to shed light on the present, and gain a perspective on what lies ahead?

The new production follows in the tradition of other works by Gob Squad, which reimagine and recast YouTube videos, Hollywood films and Andy Warhol art movies. The project brings to a head the company’s ongoing examination of the mechanisms of power inherent in our image-saturated world and the relationship of personal experience to political reality. In Gob Squad’s work, everyday life and magic, banality and utopia, reality and entertainment are all set on a collision course. The audience is invited into a world of light and shadow to bear witness to an experiment in performative science-fiction and imaginary time-travel. Nothing less than the future itself is at stake…


Costume Design: Ingken Benesch / Concept and Direction: Gob Squad / Set Design: Amina Nouns / Performance: Johanna Freiburg, Sean Patten, Sharon Smith, Berit Stumpf, Sarah Thom, Bastian Trost, Simon Will, Damian Rebgetz und Tatiana Saphir / Lighting Design and Technical Management: Chris Umney, Max Wegner / Sound Design: Sebastian Bark, Catalina Fernandez / Dramaturgy and Production Management: Christina Runge / Video Design: Miles Chalcraft, Noam Gorbat / VR Consultancy, Development and Design: Joris Weijdom / Artistic Collaboration: Mat Hand / Directing Assistant: Valeria Germain / Costume Assistant: Simon Kernen / Set Design Assistant: Stella Nikisch / VR Assistant: Diede Tap / Directing Intern: Rodrigo Zorzanelli Cavalcanti / Management Gob Squad: Eva Hartmann / PR, Communications: Alexandra Lauck / UK Producer: Ayla Suveren


  • Past
    Berlin Premiere
    Mon 1.11.2021, 20:00 / HAU3
    Tue 2.11.2021, 20:00 / HAU3
    Wed 3.11.2021, 20:00 / HAU3
    Thu 4.11.2021, 20:00 / HAU3
    Fri 5.11.2021, 20:00 / HAU3
    Sat 6.11.2021, 20:00 / HAU3
    Fri 4.2.2022, 19:00 / HAU2
    Sat 5.2.2022, 19:00 / HAU2
    Sun 6.2.2022, 17:00 / HAU2

Access to this event according to 2G plus regulation (fully vaccinated + tested negative on the same day OR triple vaccinated without additional test). It is compulsory to wear an FFP2 mask, also during the performance. The seating for this event is arranged in a chequerboard pattern. Please find our complete hygiene policy here.

Due to an extensive PCR testing regime for SARS-CoV-2, the performers can also move on stage in this production without minimum distance.


Production: Gob Squad. Co-production: HAU Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, The Public Theater NY (USA), Schauspiel Leipzig, Anuja Ghosalkar / Drama Queen & Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai (India), HELLERAU – European Center for the Arts Dresden, Sort / Hvid Copenhagen and Teater Momentum Odense (Denmark). Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Gob Squad is funded by: Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.


Hallesches Ufer 34, 10963 Berlin

Wheelchair users are kindly requested to register their attendance at least one day before the performance. Thank you for your understanding. If you need help, please contact our Ticketing & Service team at +49 (0)30 259004-27 or send us an email to

Tempelhofer Ufer 10, 10963 Berlin

HAU3 unfortunately is not barrier-free. Access to the theatre is via a stairwell (3rd floor). The use of a lift is possible with prior arrangement. If you need help, please contact our Ticketing & Service team at +49 (0)30 259004-27 or email us at Wheelchair users are also kindly requested to register their attendance at least one day before the performance.
Thank you for your understanding.

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