German Theatres on a Run for more Sustainability

Today kicks off the nationwide theatre project with the German title “Auf die Plätze! Endlich! Los! – Theater-Staffellauf fürs Klima”. It is a relay run (“Staffellauf”) from theatre to theatre, from north to south in 18 days throughout the country. It is a symbol of and a demand for more sustainability and climate protection in the theatre sector – a need and engagement which has been growing exponentially in Germany.

The “Staffellauf” project

The runners

49 German theatres and theatre festivals, together with independent ensembles and theatre professionals from all over the country take part in this project. Among the participants are the Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen, the Theatertreffen Berlin, the Theater Dortmund and Schauspielhaus Bochum, the Pina Bausch Zentrum and the K4 Theater für Menschlichkeit in Wuppertal, the Theater Bonn and the Staatstheater Karlsruhe, the Staatsschauspiel Dresden together with the Theater der Jungen Generation in Dresden as well as the Bayrische Theatertage in Bamberg and the Stadttheater Ingolstadt (find the full list of runners at the end of this article).

The routes

On two routes they will pass by a total of 30 stops. Each stop will present a variety of creative activities such as plays on the climate crisis, poetry slams and concerts. But also panel discussions, artist interviews and other activities in public spaces can be expected. In the name of raising awareness to climate protection, they invite the public to take part in discussing and developing utopias for a sustainable future.

The image shows the two routes than run throughout Germany.
Two routes lead from north to south.

#1 Route West: Recklinghausen, Dortmund, Schwerte, Bochum, Essen, Wuppertal, Mühlheim, Düsseldorf, Bonn, Gießen, Frankfurt, Saarbrücken, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart/Esslingen, Ulm to Augsburg.

#2 Route East: Kiel, Hamburg, Bremen, Berlin, Potsdam, Halle, Leipzig, Dresden, Gera, Jena, Eisenach, Bamberg, Erlangen, Nürnberg, Ingolstadt to Augsburg.

The kick-off

The town Recklinghausen will kick-off the relay run today with a cultural fair and festival which is also the kick-off of the theatre festival Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen. All day long, there will be a diverse cultural programme on the outdoor stages framed by food and drinks. On a panel discussion, artistic director Olaf Kröck and Michael Lippold will talk about our shared responsibility, challenges, attitude and hope in the face of climate crisis. 

In the afternoon, the Faber Theatre from Italy invites the audience to a participative performance throughout town. Six actors present moving scenes from the life of the great Italian cyclist Fausto Coppi. And the audience? It will cycle along.

The finish line

On the 19th of May, both routes will reach the finish line at the start of the climate festival “endlich.” in Augsburg, Bavaria. The festival at the Staatstheater Augsburg brings together all possible professionals from state funded institutions, the independent scene as well as from cultural policy and science. What they talk about? You guessed it: The necessary transformation of the performing arts sector in Germany towards more sustainability.

The initiators

This project is initiated by Performing for Future – Network for Sustainability in the Performing Arts. The network is an association of various professionals in the performing arts sector from all over Germany. Since autumn 2021, they have been implementing various projects on a voluntary basis. Besides the relay run, these are sustainability wiki(pedia) for theatres and a manifesto for an ecological-social transformation in the performing arts (the so-called ManifÖST) amongst the organization of networking and training events (soon to come). 

The network meets regularly in order to exchange knowledge and to promote a sustainable transformation in the sector. Thereby, it really wants to get to the heart of the matter: to change operational processes systematically.

For more information visit the initiative’s Social Media accounts on Instagram and Facebook.

Preparing the run in one of the many Zoom calls

Complete list of runners

The following institutions and theatre festivals in Germany take part at this project:

  • Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen
  • Theater Osnabrück
  • Theater Dortmund
  • STUDIO 7 Theater, Schwerte
  • Schauspielhaus Bochum
  • PACT Zollverein, Essen
  • Musiktheater im Revier, Gelsenkirchen
  • k4 Theater für Menschlichkeit, Wuppertal
  • Pina Bausch Zentrum, Wuppertal
  • K4 Theater für Menschlichkeit, Wuppertal
  • Theater an der Ruhr, Mühlheim an der Ruhr
  • Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf
  • Theater Bonn
  • Beethoven Orchester, Bonn
  • Theater im Ballsaal, Bonn 
  • Stadttheater Gießen
  • Theaterhaus Frankfurt
  • Theaterschiff Maria Helena, Saarbrücken
  • Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe 
  • Staatstheater Stuttgart
  • LIMA Theater, Esslingen
  • Theater Ulm
  • Junges Theater im Werftpark Kiel
  • Initiative Stimme X, Zeitgenössisches Musiktheater, Hamburg
  • Theater Bremen
  • Bremer Shakespeare Company
  • Uckermärkische Bühnen Schwedt
  • Theatertreffen Berlin 
  • Galli Theater, Berlin
  • Heimathafen Neukölln, Berlin
  • Hans Otto Theater, Potsdam
  • WUK Theater Quartier, Halle
  • Theater der Jungen Welt, Leipzig
  • Staatsschauspiel Dresden
  • Staatsoperette Dresden
  • Theater der Jungen Generation, Dresden
  • Landesbühnen Sachsen, Radebeul
  • Bund der Szenografen e.V.
  • Theater Altenburg Gera
  • Theaterhaus Jena
  • Freie Bühnen Jena e.V.
  • Landestheater Eisenach
  • Theater Bamberg
  • Theater Erlangen
  • Staatstheater Nürnberg
  • Theater Salz und Pfeffer, Nürnberg
  • Stadttheater Ingolstadt
  • Altstadttheater Ingolstadt
  • PATHOS München
  • Staatstheater Augsburg

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