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Twice Peter Pan & more

Twice Peter Pan and more

After a long time of silence, words just flow out of me today and I wish to write, write write... That's what I'm doing and I'm allowing myself the luxury of not being brief. And I do - allow myself the luxury of not being brief.

I invite you to spend 10 minutes with us and our last year - or even to just delete this email and wait directly for the future.

The year 2022 was a special success in many respects. We have increased our course numbers in the analogue world, expanded our course system, doubled our audience. We have wonderful documentation material in words, sound and images. But - to use the words of my colleague Slava Gebner - we have bitten rocks along the way.

January 22: We are flying high... Since summer 2020, our Vertical Dance Company has had a permanent venue: the Theater unter der Brücke - so called because a move to the halls under the Mülheimer Brücke, the landmark of the Mülheim district, is planned in perspective. At the end of March 2022, the lease was extended, initially until 30.6.2023 with the option of continued use until construction begins.

... and fall deeply: The odyssey from August At the beginning of August, the premature notice of termination due to demolition for our venue arrives - it is to be vacated by 15 September 2022. This is despite the fact that there is not even (and still not) a building permit... The ground under our feet seems to collapse. A lot of energy and time goes into lawyers' offices instead of rehearsals and shooting days, research and development.

Eventually we turn it away, the termination, - for now - because on 31.3.2023 we will leave our venue and become - literally - a (homeless) theatre under the bridge.

But for now we have a home. Since we have no choice, we are moving everything that was planned for late summer to October, November and December. We sure would have liked to avoid that, because the inside and outside temperatures of the venue are now the same.

It´s cold. Freezing cold. And when it's cold, it's hard to move. And to think. We are all sick at some point. That's why our Peter Pan production is very quickly running out of schedule - and the level of illness is on the rise.

At some point, we all - children and adults alike - have the feeling that "giving everything" is unfortunately not enough. When four days before the premiere of Peter Pan (actually the 1st main rehearsal) not even a run-through is possible because the scenes are so under-rehearsed that they become dangerous, the low point is reached.

We postpone the premiere by one day and make it a public dress rehearsal. That way we gain a run-through. In addition, we meet in small groups on Monday and Tuesday. In the middle of this already far too tight schedule, we record a podcast with dripping noses and shoot interviews with seven warming layers on top of each other - trying very hard not to look like we are frightfully cold.

While the temperatures outside continue to drop - it's the coldest week of the year and we'll have -11° at the premiere - a new world is emerging inside. Born out of these challenges, the flexibility to think things differently again and again and the confidence that somewhere there is a way which is ours.

It's a world where we all together learn to fight for our dream, take responsibility and rise above for ourselves.

"Every single day we make an effort to believe we can fly." And it works out. Suddenly the magical world of Neverland exists in our venue. Music that creates its own atmospheres, light that turns white walls into pirate sails, performers under the ceiling, in front of, behind, next to and in the audience - it cannot be grasped in words - this world - and yet it is full of words.

"Now I need a moment to find my way back to the normal world," said a teacher after the last school performance in March.

Today the resumption is already over. Almost 1000 audience members and the jury of the Cologne Children's and Youth Theatre Prize came to see it.

Today I enjoy listening to our podcast - especially in the warm rays of the spring sun.

Today I can watch our film and think it was easy. I can forget the cold and the effort, lose myself in our images and words.

And tomorrow? The day after tomorrow? What will we take with us for the future? Breathe in. Exhale. Stand up. Straighten the crown. Move on.

We've had a good shake-up since August. But what if we had achieved things we never even dreamed of at the beginning of 2022?

What was the reason for that? Above all, life. If someone had told me in January 2022 that going on stage with 20 children at -11 degrees was possible, I would have doubted the educational value of such an undertaking. And I still do - yet I think it much more likely to reach for the impossible from time to time.

So what if we learned to walk through the air in 2023? Who, if not us, the flying theatre...?

Life goes on - it always does. Our base has broken away: We no longer have a venue. Not even a pile of rubble to be angry with as the building has not yet been torn down.

What we do have is a pile of problems, questions, sadness and anger. But that's not exactly how it is.

Because the real base of this theatre are the people who make it, both big and small. And these people are all still there, looking for how things can continue. So out of our pile of problems comes a phoenix in the shape of a new process and a 2023 in which we perform in urban spaces, at the school theatre festival on the façades of the Schauspiel and the Opera, in a real Circus Tent, tour Peter Pan to Berlin, enter into processes of urban transformation with KLuG e.V., find many options for interim use with the Otto-Langen-Quartier, the Gilden Brauerei, Kronenbrot and the Osthof, are in the founding and development team of the Creation Centre Contemporary Circus Cologne ...

So what if.

...we continued to change perspectives and viewpoints, to create dreams and to make an effort every day to believe that we can fly - very real and just as metaphorically - and sometimes to make the impossible possible - in short, to simply keep flying?

That is exactly what we intend to do.

"Are you sure?" is the penultimate line in Peter Pan.

"Quite sure!" is the last.

And if you want to help us because you have a venue, know important people in the city and in politics, have an idea or simply want to become a supporting member, then write to us. We appreciate every thought - and every euro ;)

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