March 2020: Shortly before the premiere of the dance solo FRACTURA with Bibiana Jiménez and the Norwegian illustrator Katarina Caspersen, the virus and the precautionary measures that had been taken stopped the theatre in the middle of final rehearsals. This was followed by weeks of uncertainty. But there were also encouraging signs from many sides, including the Fonds Darstellende Künste, which supports artists with the programme #takecare and encourages artists to look into the future and continue working. WEHR51 will also be supported to develop the concept and text of TransSENSUALITY. The piece continues the exploration of how reality is constructed in VR experience and what the role of the perceptual senses is. It will be staged as a walk-in performance in 2021/22.
WEHR51, based on performative postdramatic arts and closely connected with other arts/artists, is directed by director Andrea Bleikamp and dramaturge and author Rosi Ulrich. WEHR51 has its origins in the wehrtheater (2000-2018) and the theater-51grad (2001-2018). The permanent artistic team includes the video artist Jens Standke, the composers Sergej Maingardt and Sibin Vassilev and the stage/costume designer Claus Stump.
Since 2012, Rosi Ulrich and Andrea Bleikamp have been linked by a continuous cooperation which has resulted in a number of successful productions. One of the first joint productions was "Rockaby" for wehrtheater/Andrea Bleikamp, which was nominated for the Cologne Dance Theatre Award in 2015. Furthermore, for the theater-51grad "ERSCHÖPFTE DEMOKRATIE" (2016), a theatre evening as applied utopia research at the Max Planck Institute, BLUR (2017) 6 miniatures on fuzziness were created under the artistic direction of Sergej Maingardt, Jens Standke, Andrea Bleikamp and Rosi Ulrich for three evenings. In November 2018 THE INFLUENCER - a cyber-thriller about power and influence at the Orangerie Theater - premiered. In addition, the theater-51grad appeared as co-producer for the production HEROES in early 2018. The continuous collaboration with a permanent team from other genres began in 2010 with the composer and sound designer Sibin Vassilev, followed by the outfitter Claus Stump in 2011, the composer Sergej Maingardt in 2013 and the video artist Jens Standke in 2016.
This successful collaboration, which is manifesting itself more and more, led to the idea of producing under one roof from 2019 onwards and to merge the two theatres into one: The WEHR51!
The WEHR51 and its productions are supported by the Cultural Office of the City of Cologne with multi-year project funding, the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia with conceptual funding and the RheinEnergieStiftung KULTUR. The piece development of TransSENSUALITY is supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media. We thank!