Juan José Briseno

After his studies in stage design/scenic space, which he completed in 2014, Juan José Briseno – back in his native Mexico – implemented numerous projects in the theater field. In addition to his artistic practice, he is active in teaching theater studies.

You studied theater studies and later stage design in the master’s program. Today you work in both fields in parallel. At the beginning of your studies in the Master Stage Design_Scenic Space, did you already have your current job description in mind?
That’s right, since my return I have worked in both fields in my home country Mexico City as a professor at the Tecnológico de Monterrey CSF and at the same time as a director and set designer in theater, opera and film. I didn’t have my current job description so clearly in mind, although from the beginning I had a kind of unconscious inkling to work like that one day. At that time I had a great fascination for Germany’s theater tradition and was eager to get to know new world views.

Was it your plan from the beginning to return to your home country?
No, I didn’t really have any plans for the future. I only had my studies in mind and was eager to gain new experiences.

What did you focus on in your studies?
Definitely the focus on stage! My interest has always been in the stage and its dramaturgy. As a theater director, I was already at home there in a way. But I felt it was essential to get to know the stage or the theater space from different sides and to open up new possibilities and perspectives for myself and to develop myself further.

What did it mean for you to study in a cultural metropolis like Berlin?
Studying in Berlin is the dream of many theater makers from Latin America. Personally, I was particularly interested in the different worldview of this city. Not only contemporary Berlin, but also its difficult face during the 20th century. The wounds of the city were always and everywhere noticeable. For new inspiration, you just had to go to the streets and listen to what the buildings, houses, gardens, stores, neighborhoods, people wanted to share with you. This helped me a lot for my work in my studies. New York, London, Rome, Barcelona, and Berlin are cities that have a cultural vibe from the inside out, and they shaped me a lot.

Do you have any tips that you would give to someone who wants to follow a similar path?
The time at TU was a very pleasant experience for me, which was also due to my double scholarship (one Mexican and one German). This allowed me to fully concentrate on my Master’s and enjoy everything to the fullest. I recommend it to everyone to apply for scholarships. Nevertheless, one should not underestimate the effort of studying in another culture! You are constantly confronted with challenges in theory and practice that push you to your limits. But of course: At the end you look back on great experiences and an excellent education.

What advice would you give to a first-year student of the Master of Stage Design/Scenic Space?
Everyone brings their own attitude, time and purpose. When I find a new unknown adventure, I say: Why not? It will be fun. And off we go! My advice: Listen! Take a look! Practice already!