New Hamburg in Veddel via the Schauspielhaus
There’s an interesting new initiative underway, the brainchild of Hamburg’s august yet cutting-edge Schauspielhaus Theater. The plan is to repurpose the Immanuelkirche, a Protestant church located in the heart of the city’s Veddel quarter, as a multiethnic theater and cultural gathering place.
Veddel has a population of 5,000, half of whom are of Turkish descent. 1/5 of new Veddelites are from the former Yugoslavia or Africa; more than 60 nationalities now call Veddel home. Those residents who were born in Germany mostly consist of a couple hundred students. Now a group of theater professionals, including dramatic advisors Björn Bicker and Malte Jelden and stage designer Michael Graessner, plan on helping the Immanuelkirche, which has seen its congregation dwindle, remake itself into the New Hamburg theater.
The New Hamburg’s celebratory opening on May 17, billed “The First Supper,” will feature a multi-religious celebration, a children’s festival, and football games. Readings, musical events, workshops, and all kinds of meet-ups are planned for the future. They’ll be produced locally, with the support of Schauspielhaus professionals, local grocers, craftspeople, and the church’s enthusiastic pastor, Ulfert Sterz. In October, a three-week theater festival is planned.