Archiv für März 2008

La Fortuna

Montag, 31. März 2008

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EXODUS is a joint theatre production of artists from Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Malta and is dedicated to the foundation of a veritable European Theatre: The seven participating theatre companies from all over Europe aim to create a regular schedule under the umbrella of a common corporate identity. EXODUS is the initiative?s showcase. The international production team will be blogging on the development of the initiative on a weekly basis.
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Par Marion Sancellier

Après trois jours à Naples avec Björn, afin de faire quelques recherches pour nos projets, nous partons pour la Sicile, Catania, afin de rencontrer Paola, notre partenaire italienne de notre Théâtre Européen et de parler d?Exodus, de la dramaturgie?ce fut pour moi l?occasion de la rencontrer. C?était un réel plaisir, je mettais enfin un visage sur un nom. L?équipe prend forme. Le lendemain Björn et moi partons pour rejoindre Malte où notre travail nous attend.

Une tempête traverse la Sicile, c?est le lundi de Pâque, les transports sont perturbés?nous finissons après quelques difficultés, par accéder à Pozzalo, port où nous devons prendre le bateau pour Malte?Mais la météo bloque le trafique maritime, et nous voilà coincés pour deux jours (le prochain bateau n?est prévu que pour le surlendemain soir). Il pleut, il fait froid, il est tard?nous trouvons un hôtel. Que faire pendant ces deux jours?notre temps est précieux.
Nous avions appris quelques jours auparavant que dans l?Italie du sud, dans la région de Calabre (antique colonie grecque à l?époque de la Magna Graecia), qu il y avait encore quelques personnes qui parlent un dialecte hérité du grec ancien ! Incroyable?après presque 3000 ans. Et si nous trouvions une personne pouvant participer au projet Exodus? ? Quelqu?un qui avec cette identité culturelle vraiment minoritaire? réminiscence de la Grèce ancienne, source principale de notre culture européenne ! Nous identifions quelques villages où quelques habitants parlent encore ce dialecte et nous décidons de partir pour Bova !

Bilingual road sign in Bova Marina

Bova, petit village perché au dessus d?une montagne de Calabre, vu sur la mer?dans cette région les noms de rues sont écrits en italien et en grec, lieu incroyable?mais il fait toujours froid et il pleut toujours?Nous trainons toujours ma grosse valise rouge, depuis Naples?et oui nous sommes « en route »? Malheureusement ni Björn ni moi ne parlons italien?nous avons un peu de mal à nous faire comprendre. On nous indique la présence dans ce village de Maurizio?.allemand, vivant ici depuis quelques années ! Il nous est d?une grande aide, nous trouve une chambre à louer chez un vieux couple tenant une petite boutique. Nous discutons de nos projets, et de nos recherches autour d?un verre, notre enthousiasme est toujours là malgré un peu de fatigue. Le lendemain Maurizio nous apporte trois noms de personnes susceptibles de correspondre à nos recherches?Nous les contactons et arrivons à obtenir un rendez-vous avec l?un d?entre eux, Attilio, pour le lendemain à Reggio di Calabria. Nous passons notre dernière nuit dans ce petit village et sous la pluie et le vent nous partons pour Reggio di Calabria curieux de rencontrer Attilio.

Marion and Attilio in Messina

Nous l?attendons à la sortie de la gare?il doit aller en Sicile, nous devons faire le trajet avec lui, nous continuerons ensuite notre route pour Malte. Le voilà ! Un homme d?une soixantaine année, cheveux blanc mi-longs, yeux bleus, profonds, nez aiguisé (« à la grecque ») une énergie folle, heureux de nous rencontrer ! Il est si fier de son origine, de sa langue ! Ce dialecte grec est sa langue maternelle, et elle se meurt. Notre projet l?intéresse beaucoup et l?enthousiasme?il pourra parler de sa langue, de son histoire?si peu de personne savent qu?elle existe encore ! Il veut se battre pour ça, pour son identité ! Attilio, nous a confié qu?il se sentait d?abord grec avant de se sentir italien, son histoire aurait sa place dans Exodus?
Nous l?écoutons beaucoup, nous lui exposons le travail?et nous nous séparons. Nous nous reverrons très bientôt pour commencer le travail.

La météo devient plus clémente. Nous retrouvons Paola à Catania où nous passerons une dernière nuit avant de repartir pour Malte.

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Marion Sancellier was born in Dijon in 1980. Marion will be directing the French contribution to EXODUS. She developed her talent while attending three years of classes of dramatic art at the Conservatoire Nationale de Dijon with Ewa Lewinson. Her formation included dance and chant as well as a workshop on the methods of Meyerhold?s biomechanics held by acting trainer Guenadi Bogdanov. The physical techniques of Commedia dell?arte also was part of Marion?s formation. In her professional career, Marion worked with various theatre companies in France and abroad. Since 2004, Marion is working with the French company PRÉFACE on a constant basis.

The Uprising

Montag, 24. März 2008

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EXODUS is a joint theatre production of artists from Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Malta and is dedicated to the foundation of a veritable European Theatre: The seven participating theatre companies from all over Europe aim to create a regular schedule under the umbrella of a common corporate identity. EXODUS is the initiative?s showcase. The international production team will be blogging on the development of the initiative on a weekly basis.
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By Maciej Adamczyk

From March 5 to 12 I went to thw Polish capital to visit the Warsaw Rising Museum; a museum showcasing the biggest patriotic rising of World War II. The opening of the WarsawRisingMuseum marked the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Rising. It is a tribute paid by the residents of Warsaw to those who fought and died for an independent Poland. The exhibition was opened to the public on October 2, 2004.

My quest was to find someone who was had experienced first-hand World War II and the havoc it had wreaked in Poland, and who was willing to recount his experiences of this time on stage. The co-director of the Museum: Pawe? Ukielski , an extremely considerate person, promised to help me in my quest. He recommended that I contact his assistant Karol Mazur, who then guided me through this incredible place: the Warsaw Rising Museum.

I was told that every year, during the anniversary of the Rising various theatre projects take place in the Museum. I recalled that two years back, one of my colleagues: Marcin Liber, with whom I had worked in the course of some projects involving my theatre company Body Snatchers Theatre, had directed there. Furthermore, just one year ago Jan Klata, a very popular and avant-garde theatre director in Poland, also staged a performance in this Museum. His production was particularly poignant and the combatants present were extremely moved. Interestingly, Klata has his own theatre festival called ?Klata Fest? during which he once staged a performance called ?Transfer!? which gives an account of the evictions which occurred after the Second World War ? this performance did not include any actors, only the people who had experienced the event first-hand recounting their experiences.

My quest led me to meet Mr Jerzy Kasprzak, who was 15 years old during the Rising and was a member of the uprising post. Our conversation ran for hours, his experiences being so riveting! Mr. Kasprzak also gave me a journal he had written, within its pages were preserved his memoirs of the time. Unfortunately it turned out that he and other combatants I met were unable to participate in the staging of the production due to their age. Yet I collected all their stories with particular reverence and respect towards each narrator, it being clear that these were people who had helped shape the Poland ? my Poland ? that I know today. I am particularly struck at what a pity it is that these stories cannot be presented by their original raconteur as every single story would make excellent material for any theatre or film production: the biography of a man who for 50 years pretended to be a combatant; the story of two Italians who fought on the Polish side, even an Indian who took part in the Polish Rising! Most of the stories are terribly heartbreaking and tragic. As I once again walk through the Museum and think of the people I met and their experiences, the realization of all the terrible events that took place in Poland during World War II sinks in deeper that it ever has and a deep melancholy grips me. In the few days I spent searching for candidates for our theatre project I encountered so many heinous experiences, much more than I could ever have imagined. Yet in the midst of such terrible stories, one thing always shines through: the courage of the people. It?s a place of memory, a place of remembrance for the great Polish people who fought for their country. Such people don?t seem to exist any more; Poland is so different nowadays. I am doubtful as to whether such people still exist; people who would risk everyting for what they believe in.

Maciej

Instead of working with a participant of the Uprising, I will now be performing myself: I will be travelling to Jerusalem, the Holy City of the three monotheistic World Religions. Being equipped with a camera and further technical stuff, I will take our audiences to a guided tour through the city. The images will be projected live on a screen that will be part of our stage settings; so, when you come to see one of our shows in Malta, Catania, Vienna, Munich, Warsaw or Lisbon, I will take you live to Jerusalem – this is also a nice challenge!

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Maciej Adamczyk was born 1972 in Krosno Odrza?skie. He studied acting at the National School of Theatre in Wroc?aw. Maciej works as a theatre director and actor (film and theatre). He is the co founder of Teatr Porywacze Cia? (Body Snatchers Theatre). The Pozna? based company has received wide acclaim for their contemporary performances in Poland and entire Europe.

En Route?

Sonntag, 16. März 2008


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EXODUS is a joint theatre production of artists from Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Malta and is dedicated to the foundation of a veritable European Theatre: The seven participating theatre companies from all over Europe aim to create a regular schedule under the umbrella of a common corporate identity. EXODUS is the initiative?s showcase. The international production team will be blogging on the development of the initiative on a weekly basis.
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Par Marion Sancellier

Mes valises sont faîtes, me voilà prête à prendre la route à la rencontre de tous les membres de notre Théâtre Européen et de tous les participants d?EXODUS. En route sur le chemin de cette grande aventure, la valise à la main.
La valise, symbole de l?homme en marche. D?une ville à une autre, d?un pays à un autre, d?une langue à une autre, d?une histoire à une autre.

Cette envie de fonder un théâtre européen, c?est aussi l?envie d?exploiter ce creuset culturel qu?est notre Europe actuelle, au carrefour des influences socioculturelles et religieuses créer par tant de mouvements migratoires, de rencontres.
EXODUS est ainsi un grand voyage à la rencontre de notre histoire contemporaine.
L?exode, qui est souvent un voyage sans retour, où notre valise contient notre vie. L?exode, mouvement migratoire, mouvement de fuite, mouvement qui cherche. L?homme en mouvement, implique le mouvement de son histoire. Dans sa valise, on y trouve sa culture, ses traditions, ses croyances, sa langue.

Mettons?nous en mouvement pour raconter ces histoires, pour montrer le contenu de ces valises, partons sur les routes européennes pour diffuser ces histoires, avec le théâtre.
Le théâtre, art vivant, art du mouvement, de la parole, de la transmission. Ses artistes qui se mettent en route pour donner à voir et entendre ces histoires de vie.

Nous sommes au début du chemin, nous en croiserons d?autres et petit à petit notre route se dessinera. Nous déballerons nos valises, y rajouterons un nouveau bout d?histoire et nous repartirons?sur la route !

Bon voyage?

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Marion Sancellier was born in Dijon in 1980. Marion will be directing the French contribution to EXODUS. She developed her talent while attending three years of classes of dramatic art at the Conservatoire Nationale de Dijon with Ewa Lewinson. Her formation included dance and chant as well as a workshop on the methods of Meyerhold?s biomechanics held by acting trainer Guenadi Bogdanov. The physical techniques of Commedia dell?arte also was part of Marion?s formation. In her professional career, Marion worked with various theatre companies in France and abroad. Since 2004, Marion is working with the French company PRÉFACE on a constant basis.

May we kill for our ideals? If not, what are we going to do if we have to?

Montag, 10. März 2008

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EXODUS is a joint theatre production of artists from Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Malta and is dedicated to the foundation of a veritable European Theatre: The seven participating theatre companies from all over Europe aim to create a regular schedule under the umbrella of a common corporate identity. EXODUS is the initiative?s showcase. The international production team will be blogging on the development of the initiative on a weekly basis.
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By Björn Potulski

The basic concept of EXODUS is to find in Europe seven ?real people? whose biography includes a form of ?Exodus?; a term which implies migration, the frequently quoted ?clash of civilizations? and inter-religious and political conflicts. In confidential interviews, our cast shall divulge their stories involving war and the suffering it brings about, being a refugee, suppressing others or being suppressed themselves for religious, political or cultural reasons and so forth. We ask for their ?Promised Land? and what they did to attain it and if they failed, why? This work will result in the seven storylines the show shall be consisting of. These autobiographical accounts will be presented on stage by those who have experienced them:

?In 1999 I was working in Slovenia when I saw on TV that the war had started. I called my family, told them I felt that I should be fighting for my home. They agree.?

My own journey to Kosovo takes place nine years later, on February 15th, 2008. The plane from Vienna is packed with journalists and cameramen; it is a miracle how they all manage to stow their equipment in the overhead bins. Independence is expected to be declared by Kosovo in the following days. Seeing as our theatre production is asking for Promised Lands, the former Serbian province offers a fascinating subject matter. It is my mission to find in Kosovo a new member for the EXODUS-cast. The UÇK: the ?Kosovo Liberation Army? comes to mind. The Hague Tribunal officially considers UÇK a ?criminal organisation? whereas the Albanians in Kosovo regard them as heroes for their people. I also think of the Serbs in Kosovo living in enclaves that have to be protected by UN-troupes. The Serbian massacres committed against the Albanian population in 1999 led to the intervention of NATO. The subsequent allies? air strikes on targets in Serbia caused a great deal of inner conflict in Europe, which many Europeans, myself included, remember very vividly.

Two Albanians are picking me up at Pristina airport

Pristina, February 17, 2008

?As soon as possible I take a flight back to Albania. I meet with my comrades near the frontier to Kosovo to be armed. The following night, we cross the border. Each of us is carrying at least 35kg: a machine gun, ammunition, grenades…?

On the way from the airport the ragged beauty of the landscape impresses me: greenish hills and snow-white mountains, rising three thousand metres above sea level silhouette the horizon. I recognise these images; I have seen them many times on TV. Along the streets I see countless flags, all displaying a black, two-headed eagle emblazoned on a red background: the national flag of Albania. The red background signifies blood, my Albanian guides tell me.

?During a 28-hour march, carrying a burden of 35kg, we never stop or leave the forest. If the Serbian troupes found us, it would be over. They were much better equipped and their soldiers greatly outnumbered us. But we knew the territory like the back of our hands. This is our home.?

February 16: I ask my guides to take me to Mitrovica, a divided city in the north of Kosovo. On the south side of the river, the Albanian population lives, while the Serbs have their houses in the northern part. French KFOR-troupes try to keep them apart. I want to see the famous bridge.

?But you don?t want to go on the other side, do you?? my Albanian friends ask warily. Of course I want to, I reply. They say they would never join me as in doing so they would be putting their lives at risk.

On the way to Mitrovica, my Albanian guides direct my attention to a number of terraced houses along the street. The houses look idyllic. ?The Slovenian Village? they say. Upon enquiring the origins of the term they reply, ?During the war in Croatia and Slovenia, Serbian refugees who had lost their houses and families came here.? They explain: ?The refugees were given these places to stay. When in 1998 the Kosovo war started, the Serbian refugees returned.? All right, I think, ?they returned?.

?We arrive at a place near my home village. Around thirty members of my family live there. Our order is to offload the weapons at this place. We had been successful. The Serbs had not caught us…?

Björn and Imer Deliu, Kosovo, February 2008

Mitrovica: My Albanian friends depart for a short while. I have a discussion with the soldiers guarding the bridge, aiming to convince them to let me pass. They see my German passport so they let me go. I slowly walk towards the Serbian side. A cold iron hand grips my heart ? walking through a divided city, in the midst of Europe. Serbian flags everywhere. Defiance. Hurt pride. I sense that I am being looked at furiously ? most probably I am mistaken, it is only the despondent ambience. I think of German fighter planes dropping bombs on Serbia.

?Serbian troupes are approaching! They are much greater in number than we are. Our commander gives the order to leave the place as quickly as possible. If the Serbs associated our presence with the village and its inhabitants, they might take revenge.?

On the way back from Mitrovica, my guides suggest stopping at a small village where they have family and friends. They want me to meet someone who fought with UÇK right from the beginning of the war. He lost 24 members of his family in a massacre. In the solitary heated room we sit on the floor around an oven. Some seven men and boys are present. They are shocked to learn that I had just returned from the Serbian side of Mitrovica. ?Did you have problems?? one of them asks. Not at all, I reply. ?That?s because you are German and they are afraid of your Tornado-fighter planes?, he says. Some of the others laugh. I don?t.

The UÇK-veteran arrives. A man in his fifties, clearly highly-respected: all the others stand up immediately when he enters the room and approach him to shake hands. I am impressed by his dignity. He speaks carefully, in a resolute manner, and is incredibly polite. He tells me his story. Before long, I am certain: This is our man. I ask, whether he would like to come to Malta to join the cast of EXODUS. He agrees. We fix an appointment for the next day to have an exhaustive interview.

?From a distance, we observe the Serbs? approach. They enter the village. From the sounds we hear it is obvious that something terrible is going on. We stay hidden. We observe. We were powerless, unable to do anything to stop them.?

February 17: At 3pm, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, before parliament, declares the independence of the new Democratic and Multiethnic Republic of Kosovo. In his speech, he also addresses the Serbian minority in Kosovo in the Serbian language. At a hotel lobby in Pristina which is packed with Albanians and journalists, I watch the ceremony live on TV: Each Member of Parliament is being addressed individually to sign the declaration of independence. The Serbian MEP?s are absent. The streets are packed with thousands of people, waving thousands of flags: the Albanian flag, the Stars and Stripes, the German and Italian Tricolours. It is the most touching scene I have ever witnessed.

?In the early morning ? whilst dawn was still dim and foggy ? it was decided that we should send someone to the village to check what had taken place. I was chosen to go. I was extremely careful not to cause any noise, not to be seen. When I arrived at the village I could see that there were no Serbs around. With a growing sense of dread I search for my family. But there were no sounds at all??

The next day: On the way to the interview with the UÇK-veteran, my Albanian guides stop the car in the midst of nowhere. They take me to an improvised cemetery next to the road. Twenty-four grave stones, marking the resting ground for members of a village, all killed on the same day. The eldest was 94 years old, the youngest a mere 3 months. An hour later I ask our future actor how long in his opinion it will take, until Serbs and Albanians will the able to coexist in Kosovo peacefully as neighbours. ?Soon?, he replies; ?I hope it will be soon?.

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Björn Potulski was born in Munich in 1976. As the initiative?s artistic director, Björn is coordinating efforts to form a veritable European Theatre and to produce EXODUS. Björn studied Drama, Literature and Political Science at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. In 1997 he founded Munich based Theater Sündenfall. Since 2006, the company is consisting of a Franco German team that is regularly performing on an international level. Björn?s international experience includes the organisation of various guest performances amongst others in Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, Vienna, Budapest and Paris.

Starting up

Samstag, 1. März 2008

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EXODUS is a joint theatre production of artists from Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal and Malta and is dedicated to the foundation of a veritable European Theatre: The seven participating theatre companies from all over Europe aim to create a regular schedule under the umbrella of a common corporate identity. EXODUS is the initiative?s showcase. The international production team will be blogging on the development of the initiative on a weekly basis.
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By Björn Potulski

A father, mother and five children had been offered places on one of the last remaining ships heading west. Taking this chance meant leaving their life behind, taking with them none of their belongings except the clothes they wore and if lucky, one suitcase between them. Nonetheless they fervently awaited the moment they were to board that ship. Should they hesitate, the places they currently occupied would be taken from them in an instant by any one of the thousands of others who shared their dream. However the father did not manage to reach in time the harbour where his family awaited him. In order not to be separated from him, the family decides to wait for the father before joining the Exodus of refugees fleeing on the country way. The aforesaid ship was the Wilhelm Gustloff: on January 30th 1945, it departed from a harbour in Eastern Prussia without this particular family.

Alexander Iwanowitsch Marinesko?s career in the Soviet navy was currently unstable. A lack of discipline had attracted his superiors? attention: a shortage of officers being the only reason he had maintained his position as commander of a submarine. In the night of January 30th, 1945, Marinesko?s crew reported the sighting of a major target. Now was his chance to redeem himself. Marinesko gave order to fire four torpedoes. Three of them hit the Wilhelm Gustloff mid-ships. She sank within 50 minutes, drowning 9.000 refugees in the ice cold Baltic Sea. For sheer coincidence, one family was not on board the sinking ship: it was my family.

I am German, yet I bear a Polish surname ? I have never seen my grandparent?s house and most likely, it no longer exists. This very personal background might be part of my motivation to initiate a major theatre project about identity, questioning demarcation, asking for Promised Lands and what people are willing to sacrifice and go through in order to reach their dreams.

We have called our project ?EXODUS? and shall be keeping you informed regarding its development on a weekly basis through this blog. ?We? refers to a team of artists from Malta, Germany, France, Poland, Italy, Austria, Spain and Portugal. We shall be simultaneously working upon our project in these afore-mentioned countries. By the end of April, the whole team will assemble in Malta to combine their contributions and share them with you. EXODUS shall premiere on the island in May before going on tour to other European countries.

The basic concept of EXODUS is to find in Europe seven ?real people? whose life-history includes a form of ?Exodus?; a term which implies migration, the frequently quoted ?clash of civilizations? and inter-religious and political conflicts. In confidential interviews, our cast shall divulge their stories involving war and the suffering it brings about, being a refugee, suppressing others or being suppressed themselves for religious, political or cultural reasons and so forth. We ask for their ?Promised Land? and what they did to attain it and if they failed, why? This work will result in the seven storylines the show shall be consisting of. These autobiographical accounts will be presented on stage by those who have experienced them. We shall be focusing on the individual; the tangible and poignant presence of a real person. We are not interested in politics; we are not interested in abstract discourses.

Our casting is in progress. Recently I have met with Captain James Grixti who is Commander of the Maltese Navy?s flagship. I was fascinated by his stories of search and rescue missions, them being the first contact with arriving immigrants and the tragedies happening on the open sea. Yet even these distressing stories held moments in which pure altruistic humanity expressed itself. Our search shall lead us to Palestinian Christians who have emigrated from the Holy Land after circumstances become unbearable. We are about to cast a veteran of European colonial wars in Africa, an immigrant from Africa to Europe. A former combatant with the Albanian rebel army fighting for their Promised Land, an independent state that would be a catastrophe for Serbian people still living there. In Warsaw we established contacts with contemporary witnesses of the Uprising (1944) who then as Boy Scouts have delivered letters for an underground postal service; these boys were called ?messengers of hope?. We are interested in the fact that this postal service stood in the centre of attempts to establishing a civil democratic society in midst of occupation and terror?

We are grateful to be citizens of a unified Europe, giving us the opportunity to live and work wherever we choose to. We now want to exploit this opportunity which has been achieved through the hard work of previous generations to bring into being a veritable European Theatre. This project shall undoubtedly lead to many unique encounters, which we wish to be able to share. Thus, we will be presenting our experiences and reflections in this weekly blog. My journey to Kosovo shall be the focus of the next issue. I witnessed the declaration of independence in Pristina on February 17.

We would like to extend our thanks to the City of Munich for a generous grant in support of this project.

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Björn Potulski was born in Munich in 1976. As the initiative?s artistic director, Björn is coordinating efforts to form a veritable European Theatre and to produce EXODUS. Björn studied Drama, Literature and Political Science at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. In 1997 he founded Munich based Theater Sündenfall. Since 2006, the company is consisting of a Franco German team that is regularly performing on an international level. Björn?s international experience includes the organisation of various guest performances amongst others in Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, Vienna, Budapest and Paris.