A new theater alliance for Mülheim

Mülheim an der Ruhr has three very different, lively theatre institutions: The “Stücke” festival for new drama, the ensemble theatre Theater an der Ruhr and the co-production house Ringlokschuppen Ruhr. Together they have formed the new theatre alliance vier.ruhr since September 2019.

In terms of content, vier.ruhr symbolises the exchange between the three institutions and their unifying fourth dimension, with whose creative power they act and impact artistically in the city of Mülheim, the Ruhr region and beyond.

The protagonists and associated artists of vier.ruhr understand art and theatre as a socially interfering form of communication. With innovative formats, projects and cooperations, they have set out together to discover strategies of cooperation in order to strengthen the exchange among themselves and the exchange between theatre, city and society.

As part of the funding programme “Neue Wege”, the cooperation vier.ruhr, which formerly had the working title “Theaterstadt”, is being funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia in cooperation with the NRWKULTURsekretariat.

Theater an der Ruhr

The Theater an der Ruhr was founded in 1980 as an alternative model, an ensemble theatre of a new type. It was an attempt to find its very own answer to the debate about structures in the theatre landscape in Germany, which is dominated to this day by municipal theatres. For its founders Roberto Ciulli, Helmut Schäfer and Gralf-Edzard Habben, three essential ideas were central: the primacy of art as opposed to the apparatus, the idea of the ensemble, which includes all members of the theatre, with equal contracts, and the idea of journeys. In the meantime, the theatre has been to more than 50 countries and has brought artists from these countries to Europe and Mülheim. The theatre’s headquarters in the historic Art Nouveau building at Raffelbergpark is now a place for contemporary theatre and art that defies fashionable compromises and fosters open, multilingual discourse and international encounters – a thought space of diversity.


Ringlokschuppen Ruhr

The Ringlokschuppen Ruhr is a house for contemporary theatre, performance, dance and pop culture. Regional and international artists, current social discourses and diverse art forms meet here. Most of the Ringlokschuppen Ruhr’s co-productions are created in Mülheim and are often on tour for years, some of them worldwide. The co-production house is networked within the independent scene as well as being a partner of numerous municipal theatres. In this way, the Ringlokschuppen Ruhr repeatedly breaks through the boundaries between performative and representative aesthetics. In addition, the house presents the KulturGut.Ruhr programme series with cabaret, comedy and concert evenings.

In addition to a variety of works in the theatre, the Ringlokschuppen Ruhr regularly launches participatory projects in the urban space, such as the current Silent University Ruhr – a platform for refugee academics in Mülheim’s city centre. Since 2015, the long-term project has not only become an important focal point in the city centre, it also sets impulses for the further development of multilingualism and the diversification of the entire house.


Mülheimer Theatertage “Stücke”

For almost half a century, the Mülheimer Theatertage have offered German-speaking authors a forum for new works. Year after year, renowned theatres from Germany, Austria and Switzerland are guests at the “Stücke” festival in Mülheim. They present the best current theatre texts whose authors compete for the Mülheim Drama Prize as well as the Mülheim KinderStückePreis. The focus in Mülheim is on the play texts, not their staging. This concentration on the text gives the festival a unique character. At the same time, the Mülheimer Theatertage are always open to new forms of authorship. They invite us to reflect on questions of scenic writing and to discuss the role of text in theatre.