Cultural Scene of Hamburg: Applause, Applause!

Well, now it’s the time to tell more about my trip to Hamburg. Being invited to a training by Goethe-Institut, I was prepared for a multifaceted cultural program and a lot of things to learn.

Learning part was far from successful as far as majority of the coaches expected to see the group of beginners from Eastern Europe (having not much understanding, what parts of Eastern Europe have been represented). But we were already quite experienced, and in some means we’ve seen much more than a comfortable office and step-by-step-way from a trainee to an editor.

Still some of the workshops and almost every visit to cultural institutions were inspiring: To see how things are done through enthusiasm only is great.

For example, a small theatre Sprechwerk, the smallest theatre of Hamburg, Das Zimmer, and a magazine theatralisch. Each of them tries its best to exist without state support – not because they don’t want it. According to the data of Hamburg Department of Culture, about 50% of their budget (around 120 million euro) is given to the theatres. But the state gives financial support mostly to big players like Opera House or Philharmonic, so smaller theaters have to find the ways to survive.

For example, Sprechwerk gets about 69.000 euro annually, and the rest of expenses they should cover by themselves. Beside the plays, the owners of Sprechwerk also rent their space to some other theatre groups.

Das Zimmer (The Room) is the smallest theatre in Hamburg. Basically, it is really one room with about 40 chairs, which are located in the room depending on a play concept. While watching the performance, you see really everything what’s happening to the actors; the same vice versa: checking out the mobile phone or yawning is noticed by those who are on stage.

Das Zimmer was organized by three enthusiasts, two of them are a married couple. All three are actors. Having decided to make their own theatre, they borrowed money from a bank, rented this space and started their productions there. I’ve attended a play “Projekt Ursula”, and it was really interesting to be that close to the actors. The theatre operates since October, so there is a long and difficult way in front of them. Wish them good luck!

The magazine “theatralisch”, I’ve mentioned above, is also a child of pure enthusiasm and big love to theatre. After a year of spending own money and doing all the possible jobs for the magazine, its founders started attempts to gain money either from state, or from businesses and theatres, but unfortunately those were quite unsuccessful, despite of the fact that there is no magazine in Hamburg, where all the actual information about theatre life could be published. Fundraising didn’t bring anything as well, and now, after an advert paper helped the “theatralisch” a bit, the magazine is being published only twice per year.

I’ve been also to Opera House this time, and yes, the citizens of Hamburg can really see what their money are spent for. Still, those enthusiastic projects have much more soul sometimes, and may really inspire people who are about to make their cultural ideas come true.

In the next posts I gonna tell you about different aspects of media landscape (and because of some reasons it’s gonna be 18+!), and then just show you more photos of Hamburg, which is quite an inspiring city, despite of the fact that there is no castle, as the Cultural Ministry official said. Castles are sometimes a key attraction of German towns, but castleless Hamburg has much more cool things to offer. And I am speaking not about musicals 😉

Stay tuned, the updates are coming!

About Dariko

Born in Ukraine, now Tbilisi-based. Love seeing new places.