In the depths of the Kreuzberg neighbourhood lurks an array of activates to fill your day. Record stores, small cafes markets and even a dance studio. For the last four years, there has also been a local community theatre making itself known.
Berlin, Germany- The Expedition metropolis community theatre, set up in 2010 , hosts art workshops and theatre productions for the local community encouraging local children to get involved, but it’s recently come into a bit of a problem- funding.
“Yeah, we’ve run out of money since the last project and now we’re having to crowd fund and look for funds from other sources” Jascha Thuns , the light manager tells me-“The volunteer fees are paid by the state, but we’re a non-profit organisation so every bit of money we get from our sources is important.”
The theatre operates seven days a week, hosting workshops and running theatre classes for youths aged from two to twenty but it’s not always regularly full-“on average we have about twenty to thirty people come through the doors, but it’s sometimes difficult to show things are happening, we’re in need of a better marketing plan.”
And one of sorts has begun, stickers have been designed and are ready to be placed round town, theatre’s activities are being promoted via email and word to mouth has increased as the theatre’s core team has got bigger, however there still lacks a clear social media promotion hindering their efforts.
The headquarters is located in a former disinfection house, used to wash away the supposed diseases countryside’s would bring when they came to the city, during the war- “I like to think the building brings its own history, cleansing and creating something new”.
The cleansing aspect comes in the collaboration the theatre has with a youth rejuvenation programme, they host the same office space and try to rehabilitate young children that have been in trouble with the authorities.
Metropolis, boasts a lively history, putting on theatre projects with a theme that teaches: “one of our most recent ones was called Araumteller, it taught the children about boarders within the community, as well as the theatre aspect we also took them out into the neighbourhood to see how different businesses operate.”
Thuns is also highly proud of the work the organisation does with local schools, one of the most recently completed being a project called ‘diamonds’, which taught about the importance of human nature, however Thuns remembers it as a particular tense experience- “some teachers weren’t so supportive, they didn’t see the importance and felt the kids should have been doing more intellectual learning, it was a real shame actually”.
Located next to the theatre is another local school in which the head teacher is “completely supportive, despite objections from some of his members of staff”. The kids from school will sometimes take time out of their school day to come over and use the facilities but Metropolis wants more connections to be built with schools.
ForThuns the ethos of the metropolis theatre comes with the name; “the term Metropolis means community life, of exchange and creation and through that we strive to tackle diversity”.
The theatre wants to become something of an artistic movement as it hopes to also provide a breeding ground for musicians to get together. The latest project called ‘Hausmeister’ involves musician playing their music and jamming together while the theatre films them and provides them with a sound engineer.
For the theatre this is just one of numerous projects coming up, they also boast a summer festival that is a week of “music, fun and dance” according to Jasper.
Thuns is quick at the end of our chat, to show me his lighting board, he’s ever so proud of, he flicks the switch and demands my attention as we marvel at the flickering light routine he has spent the past four months perfecting.
But if Thunswants to upgrade his lighting board it requires money , something the exhibition is struggling to come by- “yeah, I hope we can last for years and years but if we can’t get the support then we’ll have to shut down.”