A project by

Winterwerft - Winterwerft
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interwoven, interconnected, interlaced, entwined

Winterwerft is the festival for wild, organic theater. For theater at the end of the world as we know it. For theater that dares to look fearlessly, curiously and inquiringly into the abysses of this time. Even before the search for concrete answers, the Winterwerft is a place where a change of perspective is to be dared through critical, creative questioning. There is room here for all the approaches from theater, dance, music, poetry, painting and sculpture that change pace, that dare to step into the undergrowth and throw stones into the rushing stream of anthropocentrism.


The last Winterwerft collaboratorium was dedicated to the idea of collapse. To the collapse and the abyss, to which we can close our eyes less and less – as a civilization, as humanity and as individuals.

Our family members are scattered around the world, we do not know our neighbors. We do not know who produced our clothes and food, what they are made of, nor where they come from. We don’t know who and what we work for.  We live detached from concrete landscapes and places and call it flexibility. We assign ourselves to wage labor institutions and call it breadwinning. We live non-lived lives in front of screens. And meanwhile we watch the world burn.

More and more we have become caught up in the assumption that man as the meaning and crown of creation is somehow detached and removed from the family of the living. Man as a thinking being stands before and above a supposedly inanimate nature, relieved of its laws and enabled and authorized to extract the resources of this dead world, to exploit them, to make them his own and to use them.

But this view of the world, the story that has brought us to the place where we are standing, is slowly becoming fragile. In scenes of droughts, floods, burning forests, garbage dumps and the carcasses of animals, it is showing cracks and holes. Asked about the future, hardly anyone today believes that everything will go well. Those who were born early enough anesthetize the gnawing fear with the fact that they will not experience the worst effects of the trouble to come. Meanwhile, the younger generation shouts out their rage.

How do we locate ourselves in this situation, and what responsibility do we bear as creators of culture, as storytellers in these times of unrest and collapse? Should we be waving our brushes to paint pictures of a radiant future, as we encounter them today only as stale imitations in advertising or in the droning words of Elon Musk? Truly utopian images of transformation and new beginnings seem more illusory than ever in these times of environmental destruction, climate catastrophe and social dislocation. And yet the current situation also holds tremendous potential for change.

Gazing toward the future won’t get us any further. And maybe that’s also not what we want: “further”.

But what if for once we lowered our gaze before the great crises of our time and arrived back in the present? If we looked down to the ground and started to perceive again the space in which we live? What if we got down on our knees, put our hands in the earth and felt for the roots for which we had lost our sensitivity many centuries ago? For the fine connections and networks in which we, as part of this earth, are bound, entangled and enmeshed, no matter how much effort we put into tearing them apart?

Intertwined and interwoven

With the theme ENTANGLED we want to dare with the Winterwerft 2022 to put the crown of creation down in the grass next to us and try to see ourselves as an intimately interwoven part of this multidimensional, species- and generation-spanning network of life. Instead of independence and superiority, let interdependence and vulnerability in. Integrate, not separate.

The fact that we are connected and interwoven in the innermost and most intimate way – far beyond the boundaries of species, tribe, family, species or generations – is being brought home to us more and more today by science. Trees, for example, communicate with each other through their roots and with the help of fungal structures – they take care of each other, provide each other with nutrients and information.

For ourselves, Covid, the pandemic, has made exceedingly clear how much our interconnectedness and interwovenness brings also vulnerability: Because somewhere people are intruding into precious wildlife habitats, trapping rare and strange species, caging them, and selling, processing, and exploiting them in crowded spaces, a global threat is emerging that has shaped our lives for nearly two years now. It shows that we haven’t understood anything about proximity – but also that our crisis is not just a biological one, but also a cultural one. It shows how scarce space on this planet is becoming, how much and how mercilessly we are encroaching on fragile habitats and contexts. 60% of wild animals have disappeared in the past 50 years. They have been slaughtered, hunted, shot, their livelihoods, landscapes and ecosystems destroyed and exploited by homo economicus.


Where to?

It is time to pause and listen, and we want to take this time with the Winterwerft. Stumbling, tender, wild and fierce, we will try to give voice and shape to that and to those who otherwise often remain unheard, precisely because they are unable to speak with a human voice. Landscapes, rivers, beehives, ant hills, ghosts, ancestors, trolls and forest spirits.

We want to withdraw, to de-civilize, to de-anthropocentrize ourselves. De-colonize our history and stories, bodies and thoughts.

We understand the world through the stories we tell ourselves. In the strife and storm for a humane, kind, livable future on this planet, perhaps with the tools of theater and dance, of music and poetry, we can salvage the puzzle pieces and fragments of new and old stories, myths, dances to which we can connect. That allow new perspectives on Homo Sapiens in the circle of his fellow beings and thus might also attach new radical and unexpected aspects to concepts such as sustainability, resilience or community.

It is here, as storytellers, as creators of culture, that we see our role, our task, and our responsibility. Join us, get in the circle – we need each and every one.

The Winterwerft is the festival for wild, organic, uncivilized theater. Theater that changes perspective and gait, that fearlessly looks into the abysses of this time and goes on a search for vision with the means of critically creative discussion.

The Festival gives space and time to re-think and re-tell stories.To safari through the understories of our modern human civilizations and seek, discover and envision healthier, more sustainable ways of living. Here, artists and spectators gather together to share and discuss, to console and enact.

We give space to emotions involved with the loss of such an amount of species – anger, sadness, grief – as well as for visions and stories that help us and encourage to keep going and creatively face change.

At the same time we are a community project based on the merge of a very busy city, envisioning and enacting social and work structures that are sustainable and nourishing for everybody involved.

Our aim is to put nature and culture back together again, both nourishing each other.We believe biodiversity and diversity of opinions and lifestyles are closely related.

We see there is a great gap between nature and culture. But to initiate and support the necessary changes that we have to undergo as a society,  or if we want to adjust to sustainable ways of being we have to close that gap by telling / or seeking stories that strengthen our relationships with the natural world.

In stories our ways of putting ourselves in relation with the other than human world are significantly shaped. In former times stories, landscapes and peoples were closely linked.Literally one thing.That is what made people care and feel at home. To rewild nature,  we have to rewild our stories, our cultures our, structures.We have to green our minds and hearts.

Our vision is to create and support places, spaces, artists and cummunities were the process of re-wilding nature and re-wilding our culture are being put back together again in order to facilitate and nourish processes of sustainable community and culture building in co existence with the other than human world. We host and create theatre that dares to creatively challenge dominant narratives and seeks to strenghten interrelatedness, diversity and coexistence.

We bring culture on the streets and into public spaces, but also into parks and forests and fields.We seek to give voice to landscapes, animals and peoples spanning and connecting generations and species.