Over 400 people, including many families, have found temporary accommodations in a former retirement home in Stallschreiber Strasse in Kreuzberg. For the last few months this housing space has been partnered with HAU Hebbel am Ufer as part of the Berlin Mondiale
. The people living there come from many different countries and have a wide variety of personal backgrounds. The adults are mostly busy with official matters and learning the new language. And of course they are concerned about their uncertain future and that of their children. How can a cultural institution make a positive contribution in such a precarious situation? What could be the basis for a partnership that meets eye to eye? We decided on an approach by artistic means.
Along with the game theatre collective “machina eX”
we invited the young residents to a workshop over the Easter weekend. Under the title “Worlds of Games: Rubine, the Robot”
, kids from 7 to 13 got the chance to develop a game with the pros themselves. Using a lot of creativity and various materials such as putty, tubing, cables and computers, they transformed the Houseclub, the workspace for projects with young people at HAU, into an interactive robot play.
The cooperation between the housing space and the theatre had already begun months before the actual workshop. While presenting the project and during short-term workshops in the housing space itself, those responsible from HAU and the directors and childcare providers at the housing space could get to know one another and exchange their wishes for the collaboration. The common goal was both to find artists who could establish contact on site over several weeks, and how to deal creatively with language barriers. One particular challenge and consideration of the workshop was that the composition of the participants was constantly changing due to fluctuations in the housing space. The older ones quickly started brining their younger brothers and sisters along. The goal of the workshop was not to put a perfect performance on stage, but to get to know one another by working together.
During the Easter weekend the children were picked up by the artists from machina eX and the HAU team and brought to the theatre. Together they worked around the idea of a female robot named Rubine, building a construction with marble runs and lighting effects, eating and playing together. When the robot game was presented on a Saturday at the beginning of April, it was not only attended by employees at HAU and the refugee housing space, but also by the children’s parents and siblings.
The collaboration will continue into the 2016/2017 season. Over several weeks new Berlin artists and those with growing networks in the city will work in tandem to put on four workshops with youth and young adults between 18 and 25. In addition we, HAU and the facility at Stallschreiberstraße, will work more closely with one another, enhancing the exchange between the residents and theatre workers. We’ll keep you posted! Julia Schreiner and the team at HAU Hebbel am Ufer
The project “Berlin Mondiale“ is supported by the Governing Mayor of Berlin - Senatorial Office - Cultural Affairs, as part of the master plan integration and security