RefugeesWelcome Workshop

Theatron Workshop Refugees Welcome

#RefugeesWelcome – Concrete Approaches, Actions and Activities supporting Refugees and New Neighbours in our Communities

20-21 March 2016 in Dresden, Germany – Register by 15 March

This workshop aims to discuss approaches, actions and activities supporting refugees in their new neighbourhoods. Case studies from European Performing arts houses – from deep aesthetic reflection to concrete, hands-on social action – will be used to discuss best practices and challenges. We invite all those with practical experiences to come and share their insights and those who consider working with this audience group to come and be inspired.


The continuing flow of refugees from Syria and the Middle East is creating an enormous challenge in all European countries. Beyond the significant logistical, political and economical concerns, the influx of refugees is testing the social and cultural values of our societies. It is challenging the openness of our communities and empathy of our citizens. And – consequently – it is forcing performing arts organisations all over Europe to rethink their mission:

  • What is the role of performing arts organisations in this situation?
  • What concrete actions and tasks are required?
  • How can artistic houses and their teams actively assist new arrivals in their neighbourhoods?
  • In what way can we use our skills, stages, infrastructure and communication channels to help?
  • How can we find the right balance between deep aesthetic reflection and concrete, hand-on social action?

This workshop will

  1. present concrete experiences with both aesthetic and social actions by different European performing arts houses
  2. give insights to practical actions and activities that may serve as inspiration to other houses
  3. kick-off a debate on the role of performing arts houses when it comes to refugees and new arrival in our communities
  4. create a support network for those houses that would like to continue to exchange ideas and experiences

It is aimed at

  • creative and administrative leaders of European performing arts houses, as well as their board members
  • practitioners involved in community outreach, education, audience development and communication in the performing arts
  • NGOs, politicians and administrators working on the interface between the arts, refugees and communities

The 1-day programme includes

  • Best Practices, Inspiration, Lessons Learned: case studies by European theatres and performing arts organisations already working with refugees
  • Challenges in 2016 and Beyond: insights by socio-economical European experts on the development of the refugee crisis in 2016 and beyond
  • Between Aesthetic Reflection and Social Action: Debate on the evolving role of the performing arts structures
  • Getting Help to Help: funding sources and support structures for work with refugees and new neighbours
  • Taking Part: participation in Hellerau’s ‘Kitchen Talk’ an ‘open kitchen for refugees, inhabitants, new citizens, crazy cookers and eaters’.


Contributions include:

  • European Center for the Arts (Hellerau, DE): Hellerau is accomodating asylum seekers in a self-contained part of the house, has taken on ‘guardianship’ for other refugees and launched a series of formats that bring refugees and citizens together.
  • Dresden State Theatre (Dresden, DE): The Schauspielhaus has created an active network with citizens’ movements and NGOs for an open and cosmopolitan Dresden since 2014. Their ‘Monday Café’ brings together refugees and the citizens of Dresden on a weekly basis, their Bürgerbühne (citizens’ stage) is co-producing a new repertory piece with refugees and non-refugees under professional guidance.
  • Odense Theatre (Odense, DK) FORFRA: A ‘New Citizens Stage’ exploring the topic of newcomers, their alienation, adaptation and inclusion. Co-produced with local immigrant and non-immigrant amateurs, FORFA will be led by the professional director Kasper Sejersen and premiere in May 2016.
  • Theatre Grob (Copenhagen, DK), in collaboration with Theatre UnCut (UK): Over 1 week during CPH:STAGE 2016 Theatre Grob is facilitating a theatrical process aimed at investigating the theme of “refugees”. This international crises calls for an international perspective. 3 Danish playwrights will be working along side 1 British, a Syrian and a Turkish playwright to produce and stage 6 new written 10 – minute plays.
  • Uppsala City Theatre (Uppsala, SE): The theatre has established an ongoing cooperation with the Red Cross, working with refugees, unaccompanied youth
  • Young Vic Theatre (London, UK): The Theatre is working with LGBTQI refugees seeking asylum in the UK because of their sexuality, producing an original piece of work with them about their experiences
  • Since February 2014, the Kilden Performing Art Centre (Kristiansand, NO) is engaging (refugee) children and youth from around the world in ‘Fargespill’ (Kaleidoscope) – a multicultural musical project as part of their Kilden Dialogue Outreach Initiative.  Fargespill focuses on what happens when differences meet through traditional music and dance: when Sami joik meets a Kurdish ballad, a coconut-dance from the Philippines meets Norwegian children’s rhyme, Albanian folkdance meets rap, and a child is rocked to sleep in many different languages throughout a vast musical landscape.
  • The Platforma arts and refugee network UK will present their project “Bards Without Borders”. Platforma supports and develops arts by, about and with refugees and migrants from marginalised communities. It brings together groups and artists / performers of any background or political status (e.g. refugees and non-refugees), whose work examines the varied experiences of refugees both before and after they arrived and settled in their host country. Platforma is managed by Counterpoints Arts in partnership with organisations across the country.


Workshop Schedule

19 March 2016: Pre-Workshop Performance Visit

The Past (last edition) now new show from Constanza Makras (English/German)

20 March 2016

from 14h – WELCOME  to Golgi Park
Join the spring garden party upon arrival on 20 March to celebrate the International Weeks Against Racism with new & old neighbours, supporters, friends, artists and activists.

18h – Welcome and Registration

19h – Kitchen Talk
HELLERAU´s open kitchen for refugees, inhabitants, new citizens, crazy cookers and eaters. Cooking and then eating together is a great way to get into conversation. A chance to meet new neighbours and new culinary delights. Feel free to join us on that special event which is part of HELLERAU´s activities for refugees and an open society.

21 March 2016

09:15 – Welcome – Lars Seeberg, Director of the Theatron Network

09:45 – Between artistic reflection and social action: roles & responsibilities of performing arts houses in the refugee crises – Dieter Jaenicke, Artistic Director of HELLERAU

10:30 – Refugees Welcome? Facts, Trends & Opportunities in the EU – Benita Lipps, Theatron Coordinator

11:00 – Coffee Break

11:20 – How to make refugees welcome? 8 European Case Studies

13:0o – Joint Lunch

14:30 – Best Practice Fair – Exchanging best practices, challenges and lessons learned

16:00 – #Refugees Welcome – Summary & Outlook

17:30 – Monday Café @ Staatsschauspiel Dresden – Dialogue between old and new citizens

20:00 – Dinner (optional for those who confirmed via doodle)

22 March 2016 Steering Committee Meeting (Theatron Members Only)

09:30 – 12:30 Steering Committee: Activity, Budget, Theatron 2.0


Practical Information

Getting to Dresden

  • Fly directly to Dresden. Dresden Airport is 5-10 mins away from Hellerau by Taxi
  • Fly to Berlin (Schönefeld or Tegel) and take the ‘Flixbus‘ coach directly from the airport to Dresden Central Station (ca. 2 hrs)

Getting to Hellerau

From Dresden main station (Hauptbahnhof) take tram no. 8 (ending in Hellerau) to the Festspielhaus Hellerau tram stop. More info

Hotel Recommendations

Stauffenbergallee 25a
01099 Dresden
phone: 0049 (0)351 806 30

Moritzburger Weg 24
01109 Dresden
Telefon: 0351 8808 256





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