Death and Birth in My Life invites the audience to listen in on a series of intimate conversations about the most moving and challenging experiences in life. This latest long-term project by Mats Staub asks about existential experiences. It approaches universal themes through individual experiences and in relation to local contexts. In its presentation, it brings people together to talk to each other about their experiences of death and birth, while also presenting conversations from other regions and establishing connections with people from other parts of the world. In Death and Birth in My Life, Staub brings two people together and establishes gentle parameters for engaging each other in conversation. The participants are filmed both speaking and listening so the viewer is be able to look at the faces of both the speakers and the listeners shown on a split screen.

Death and Birth in My Life is an accumulative project. Here we present six conversations, screened at scheduled times during the Festival. After each screening, there is the possibility to share reflections with the participants or other audience, should you wish to. Go to the bottom of this page to find out how.

Click on the WATCH button to view the films during the screening windows.


South Africa, 2018, 57 min

25 JUNE 20:00
1 JULY 11:00
02 JULY 15:00


Germany, 2019, 58 min

26 JUNE 11:00
1 JULY 15:00
4 JULY 19:00

Dominique & Smangele

South Africa, 2018, 55 min

25 JUNE 15:00
29 JUNE 18:00
4 JULY 11:00

Niel & Lali

South Africa, 2018, 52 Min

28 JUNE 15:00
2 JULY 11:00
5 JULY 18:00

Donna & Cath

UK, 2018, 56 Min

27 JUNE 11:00
30 JUNE 18:00
3 JULY 15:00

Rob & Dave

South Africa, 2018, 56 min

28 JUNE 18:00
29 JUNE 15:00
5 JULY 11:00

If you would like to share your reflections or responses with Sharon, Hlengiwe, Tony, Kaminina, Dominique, Smangele, Niel, Lali, Donna, Cath, Rob or Dave, we invite you to do so by way of a letter.

You can write a letter and send it in to the Festival by emailing  We will send it to Mats to pass on to its recipient.

If you consent, we would like to add it to the collection of letters, which has been accumulating over several presentations.  View a selection of letters in the gallery.


Idea, Concept, Direction: Mats Staub

Camera: Benno Seidel, Matthias Stickel

Scenography: Monika Schori

Dramaturgical Associates: Simone von Büren, Elisabeth Schack

Research: Tim Harrison (Manchester), Maia Marie (Magaliesburg), Patrick Mudekereza (Lubumbashi), Dada Kahindo (Kinshasa), Marcus Rehberger (Basel), Nele Beinborn (Frankfurt), Wolfram Sander (Hannover), Leo Saftic (Perg), Celya Larré (Paris)

Technical Direction: Hanno Sons, Stefan Göbel

Post Production: Benno Seidel

Translation, Subtitles: Simona Weber, Martin Thomas Pesl, Matthias Stickel, Benno Seidel

Production Management: Barbara Simsa, Elisabeth Schack

Production: zwischen_produktionen

Co-production: Kaserne Basel, SICK! Festival Manchester, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt, Festival Theaterformen Hannover, Festival der Regionen, Spielart Festival Munich, Centre culturel suisse Paris, Migros-Kulturprozent

Funding: Fachausschuss Tanz und Theater BS/BL, Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council, Christoph Merian Stiftung, Ernst Göhner Stiftung


Mats Staub (*1972, Muri/Bern, Switzerland) lives and works in Berlin and wherever his projects take him. He studied theatre studies, journalism and religious studies in Bern, Fribourg and Berlin. In the past, he has worked as a journalist for various publications (1996 – 2001), and as a dramaturge at Theater Neumarkt in Zurich (2002 – 2004). Since 2004, he has been creating art projects in the transitional area between theatre and exhibition, literature and science.