Short description

The global Corona pandemic makes us witnesses of an event of historic proportions, which poses great challenges, but also contains opportunities.

The pandemic affects the whole world and yet: everyone is concerned first and foremost about those closest to them. We look at ourselves and lament our losses, our limitations. Doubts and fears accompany our everyday lives. But the European gaze rarely reaches beyond our own navel. To where the pandemic will leave much greater damage than in Fortress Europe. To a place where there are no financial rescue packages for artists, entrepreneurs or entire industries.

The project "AUFBRUCH/DEPARTURE" involves research and the development of artistic interactions between theatre makers in Germany, Cameroon, Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The results of this research and the artistic interactions will be presented in a lecture performance in the municipal theatres in Greifswald, Putbus and Stralsund.

The video recording of the performance will be translated into the respective national language of the partner countries and also published on the social networks and websites of the participating artists, the Goethe Institutes and German embassies of the participating partner countries.

In normal times, the project partners work with the means of theatre. Because of the pandemic, they now have to look for other ways of artistic engagement and dare to experiment, following the motto "If the audience cannot come to the theatre, the theatre must come to the audience". 

With professional writers, musicians, performers and film teams in Cameroon, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Germany, we are looking for new formats for collaboration. In this way, we create artistic productions in the different places that take fairy tales, myths or legends as an occasion to bring them together on film. 

In Africa, a short film is being made based on Credo Mutwa's "The first people". The German partners are working on a short film based on the fairy tale "The Wayward Child" by the Brothers Grimm. A lecture performance documents the project, reports on the Corona situation in all partners and presents the artistic results.

The premiere of the lecture performance is on 17.4.21 at 20:00 in the Stadttheater Greifswald, on 18.4.21 at 20:00 in the Stadttheater Stralsund and on 20.4.21 at 19:30 in the Stadttheater in Putbus.


The questions

How are our partners in Cameroon, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique doing at this time? How are artists in these countries dealing creatively with the crisis? What will be left of the previous life when the pandemic is over? What do we need/want to adapt to? Do we use the opportunities that lie in the crisis for a different future? What should this other future look like? Can we permanently create something new and integrate it into our lives?


The artists 


Cameroon: Landry Nguetsa is a young Cameroonian artist, writer, actor and director who graduated from the University of Yaoundé in performing arts and cinematography. He has participated in and directed writing and acting workshops both in Cameroon and internationally. He is the author of several plays and performances, lead actor in the television series "Remember" and winner of several awards. He assisted big names in theatre such as Dieudonné Niangouna at the Berliner Ensemble (Germany). Landry Nguetsa met Jens Vilela Neumann in 2019 for the project "PAST / PRESENT / FUTURE KAMERUN", a German-Cameroonian collaboration with artists from Yaoundé and Berlin. His team for this project: Essako Paulin, Irène Nke, Juvenil Assomo, Fonjang Mekano, Frank Fopa, Ayrich Sefo, Mbongue Joseph, Sandy Mey, Opodo Ewodo, Frida Abena, Claire Soga, Leroy Enandjoun, Eustache Ngah

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Tanzania: Vicensia Shule is an independent theatre, film and television producer who has worked globally for over 15 years. She is a professor at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Creativity and Innovation and a senior member of the University of Dar es Salaam's Theatre and Film Department. Over the past five years, she has produced more than 300 radio drama episodes, plays, feature films, short films, documentaries and television commercials. She has conducted various researches, written reports and authored over 20 academic publications in the fields of arts and culture and political economy of creative industries in Tanzania and Africa. Her team for this project: Wenceslous Mashingo, Eva Nyambe, Peter Charles Gwivaha, Anastasia osward, Gerald Mushi


South Africa: Thandi Sebe is a freelance writer, director and actress from South Africa. The 28-year-old German-South African grew up in Cape Town. In 2014, she wrote the play "Mostly Waiting" and produced a documentary work to accompany it. Both the play and the documentary were staged/performed in Cape Town and funded by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. In collaboration with Amina Eisner, Thandi Sebe wrote "Young, Gifted and Black", which premiered at Ballhaus Naunynstraße in 2015.  In early 2016, she played her first cinematic lead role in the American production "Empire of the Sharks". PG and Thandi Sebe have been working together on the production "Pandora - the Return of Heritage" since early 2020. Their team for this project: Tshamano Sebe and Naima Sebe


Mozambique: Eliana N ́Zualosconsiders herself a storyteller. In her blog "Escreve Eliana, Escreve" (Write, Eliana, Write) and the podcast "O Nome Disso É Á África" (The Name is Africa), she explores feminism, Africa, history and politics. She is the founder and member of the collective "Mata-bicho Feminista" (Feminist Breakfast), which aims to create a space for debate and reinvention of feminism in Mozambique. In 2017, she was a speaker at TEDxMaputo and in 2018, she was a facilitator at the artistic residency Colab Now Now, which took place as part of the Maputo Fast Forward Festival in Maputo. Her team for this project: Matateu Ubisse, Denilson Pombo, Jorge Pacule, Yuck Miranda, Silvana Pombal, Edson Artur


Zimbabwe: Michael Kudakwashe, or Michael K as he is known at home, is a theatre, film and television actor, voice-over artist and acclaimed comedian and cartoonist. Michael Kudakwashe is a National Arts and Merit Award (NAMA) recipient and has an experience of well over a decade and a half. His works include 'Harvest of Thorns,' 'When Angels Weep,' 'Roki and Maneta encounter,' 'Burn Mukwerekwere Burn,' 'Great Escape,' 'The Island,' 'Zambezi News,' 'Tanyaradzwa' and 'Water Games' among others. First collaboration with PG in "Water Games"  the adaptation of Ibsens "Enemy of the people", he was invited to tour Germany (he performed in Greifswald among others) and at the Ibsen Festival in Oslo. His team for this project: Nothando, Marlon, Kai, Haily 

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Jens Vilela Neumann brings together and coordinates the numerous project partners and artistic results. He is a theatre maker who works with various partners (inter-) nationally as a director, actor or author. PG made a guest appearance with their Zimbabwean production of "Water Games" at Theater Vorpommern three years ago. The show was a success and since then there has been an ongoing exchange about how the collaboration with the team from Zimbabwe could continue. In the course of the Corona crisis, the head dramaturge of the Vorpommern Theatre, Sascha Löschner, contacted PG. Together with him, the idea for AUFBRUCH was developed.

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Theatre Vorpommern: Dr Sascha Löschner is a dramaturge, lecturer, author and director. He has worked as head dramaturge at Theater Vorpommern since 2012. He writes children's plays, dramatises novels for the stage (H.G.Wells "The Visit; Dirk Kurbjuweit "Angst") and writes articles for magazines and periodicals. At the beginning of the summer semester 2021, Sascha Löschner will move to the University of Paderborn as director of the studio stage. Together with Jens Vilela Neumann, he developed the idea for AUFBRUCH.


Cameroon: Juvenil Assomo is a Cameroonian artist in the field of theatre. In 2014, he completed an M.A. at the University of Yaoundé 1. During his postgraduate studies, Assomo has written numerous plays and performed in various theatre productions. He is a laureate of the Goethe Institut Cameroon découverte in littérature in 2018, as well as the Visa pour la création of the Institut Français in Paris in 2020.


Theatre Vorpommern: Sebastian Undisz was born in Leipzig. After studying music (composition/piano) in Dresden, he worked at over 40 theatres in Germany and abroad as musical director and composer for theatre productions. He has also composed musicals and chamber music, as well as experimental musical instruments (Waterphone, Microphonic Soundbox, Marimbula). He is also not afraid to set legal texts and house rules to music for a choir (Ode to Order 2018).


Thomas Ostermeier Süddeutsche Zeitung on 3.4.20 

"The crisis is now triggering a lot of empathy and solidarity, but I fear that the longer it lasts, the more clearly it will contribute to social polarisation. Solidarity on the inside is already accompanied by great brutality and lack of compassion on the outside. The massive human rights violations at the Greek border hardly seem to bother anyone. The virus acts like an accelerant that once again exacerbates the social harshness of capitalism." 

David Mwambari:

When African countries began cancelling flights from former colonial countries and quarantining their citizens, the myth of the West's invincibility collapsed, as did the associated assumption that only the global South is vulnerable to infectious epidemics. At this unprecedented historical moment, many fear for the future. Africans do too, but while they will certainly also go through a tough time, they should see this crisis as an opportunity to accelerate the process of decolonisation. (Mwambari is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Conflict and Development Studies at Ghent University) 


From the group chat:

Vincencia 28.1.21: Sorry we are having a very bad corona wave in Tanzania at the moment and people are dying. The president is still denying...

Nelson Faquir (Mosambik) 4.2.21: Guys ... Everything is little care. My niece tested positive ... Yesterday she was at her friend's party (lobolo) ... Today she had results ... The point is that she had a test last week and as she has no symptoms she was not aware. Now everyone in Mafalala my family must take the test. I was with her, at my mom's, the next day my mom was sick and I took her to the hospital, my mom said she was positive, I did the test and in 48 hours my test came out and it's negative. Even so, in this period I preferred to stay QUARANTINE. Just to have an idea ... The drugs cost my mother more than 10 thousand meticais … Aren't these drugs supposed to be accessible to everyone? Is it a virus? Families who are unemployed with low incomes are going to get out of this problem. In addition to medicines, they have food. How to solve this if the policies of this country do not support anything!

Elina N’Zualo (Mosambik) 3.2.2021: Here in Maputo the numbers are getting scarier everyday. A lot of people, including medical professionals, are dying. It is out of control... we don’t have lockdown because it’s just not possible with our economy and the type of leadership we currently have. We have some restrictions (schools are closed except for exams, no access to the beach, no gyms, no cultural activities, no gatherings with >50people) But other than that we haven’t received any type of incentive/ financial support from the State and little has changed. It’s so surreal to think we’ve had a whole year and our government did little to prepare for this 😣😔

Thandi Sebe 3.2.21: Hi everyone! First of all: Strength to you all, sorry about this ongoing catastrophe. South Africa has just reopened beaches and liquor stores today, after we have seen a slight decline in cases. But our numbers are still very high, and hospitals are pretty much overwhelmed with patients. Also no financial support, a ton of stolen money by officials, businesses going under, people losing jobs and homes. We’ve had no cultural activities for a year now but our minister of arts and culture claims theatres are thriving 😅😅 (since a shit storm erupted because a number of artists passed from covid and theatres closed down, artists going hungry with no financial support etc, he deleted his insensitive tweet claiming this greatness in the arts sector).

Vincencia (Tanzania) 5.2.21:  Imagine 've just lost two friends today of Corona whom we have projects together. One is a medical doctor and another one is acting director of Heritage. 

Vincencia 11.2.21: Hello. Things are not anyhow better, they are turning to worse. Testing is 100 $ which many can't afford. Facilities are not there because many ICU are full, do dying is the option left for many, in countless numbers. No revolts, people are worried because the dictator is suppressing everything, 6th year now. Many have died, lost their jobs, jailed, business closed so corona is adding more salt to the open wound. Please if you are on Twitter follow these people they write in English and post images:  Maria Sarungi Tsehai @MariaSTsehai Kigogo @kigogo2014 Tundu Antiphas Lissu @TunduALissu Chambi Chachage (CC) @Udadisi fatma karume aka Shangazi @fatma_karume because that is the only place where people are posting openly and in English.


With the kind support of the