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Recording: 2014-09-25 , Ballhaus Ost (Video © Walter Bickmann)

Christoph Winkler


Ballhaus Ost

Production Details / Press Releases

The holy grail of German theater tradition, the dream of every actor and actress, the exclusive casting right of dramaturges and theater directors: the lead role! But what if skin color and family background supposedly aren’t suited for the job? Siegfried, Faust or Woyzeck? A dance solo about the visibility of performers of color on German stages.

In late 2013, Murali Perumal – self-proclaimed Indo-Germanic actor, born in Bonn – described his experiences as an actor of color in German state theaters and deplored “a demographic scenario reminiscent of the 1920’s” in an open letter to major German daily newspaper. This letter was part of a larger debate at the Kammerspiele in Munich about the non-visibility of performers from migrant backgrounds and the apparent difficulties that dramaturges have in casting lead roles with actors and actresses of color. The literary works discussed in this debate are largely part of a canon of high culture that interestingly served both sides as a reference for argumentation. For those actors and actresses from migrant backgrounds or simply of “darker” skin color, this canon acts as a dividing line that is difficult for them to overcome. And for quite a few dramaturges, it embodies a mythic aesthetic entity that automatically, in their eyes, entails having to provide an explanation for the appearance of supposedly inappropriately looking actors.

In “Hauptrolle”, choreographer Christoph Winkler questions the aesthetic difficulty behind seeing a black Faust or a Turkish Woyzeck. And vice versa poses the delicate question of why and whether embodying such classical roles is at all to desired by actors of color.

For this solo, Christoph Winkler invited his colleague – dancer-choreographer Ahmed Soura originally from Burkina Faso and still an avid commuter between continents – to explore together some of the typical figures of German classical theatre and sound out the possibilities and potentials that lie in such an encounter.

Cast & Credits

Concept: Christoph Winkler
By and with: Ahmed Soura
Dramaturgical assistant: Agathe Chion
Costumes: Lisa Kentner
Technology: André Schulz
Production: ehrliche arbeit – freies Kulturbüro
Communication: k3 berlin – Office for Culture and Communication

Supported by the NATIONALES PERFORMANCE NETZ Guest Performance Fund for Dance, which is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Departments of Culture and Arts of the German federal state.

Ballhaus Ost

Pappelallee 15
D-10437 Berlin

Ticktes: (030) 440 391 68

Video Documentation

The video documentation is produced on behalf of the Senate Department for Culture and Social Cohesion. The purpose of this contract is to document productions in the field of contemporary dance in Berlin. The master recordings are archived by the University Library of the Berlin University of Arts. Copies of the recordings on DVD are available for viewing exclusively in the reference collections of the following archives (at media desks in these institutions):

University Library of the Berlin University of Arts
Mediathek für Tanz und Theater des Internationalen Theaterinstituts / Mime Centrum Berlin
Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT)

Christoph Winkler / Trailers and Video Documentations

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