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German-Sudanese theatre: Culture reaches beyond politics

Hassan Berkia
Lamps, tables and teabags moved through the room during a performance of “Pulling Strings” a joint European-Sudanese performance in Khartoum.
22.11.2013  |  Khartoum

The event, showcased during Goethe-Institut Sudan’s German-Sudanese Independent Theatre Days in early November, showed how cultural links are alive and kicking despite frosty international relations between Europe and Sudan.

Choreographers Eva Meyer-Keller and Sheena McGrandles worked with Sudanese performers, choreographers and theatre makers at the Goethe Institute event which ran November 2-5.

Lilli Kobler, Head of the Goethe Institute Sudan, November 3.
© The Niles | Hassan Berkia
Among the works showcased on the roof of the institute were small productions from the independent scenes of Port Sudan, Nyala and El-Obeid.

We are pleased with this success,” said Lilli Kobler, Head of the Goethe Institute Sudan, welcoming independent theatrical groups from outside Khartoum. We will use culture to promote communication between Sudan and Europe and especially Germany.”

The German-Sudanese Independent Theatre Days sparked applause and enthusiastic interruptions from the audience, who welcomed the unusual event and the high-quality plays.

Abu Baker Abdul Razeq, a journalist who attended the event praised a performance called ‘At the time of fear, the mute throat dies’ by the Beshish group. It was a mixture of nostalgia, hope, pain, determination, crying and bitter sarcasm,” he said.

It is the Institute’s philosophy to celebrate the culture of Sudan and swap ideas and expertise.”
Jamal Sadiq
‘Invisible Work’ by Andrea Kaitz and ‘Oil Slick’ by the Zoom Theatre Group from Port Sudan, was also praised for tackling topics like alienation, exile, escaping death, displacement and the destruction of wars.

Jamal Sadiq, Head of Cultural Programmes at the Goethe Institute in Khartoum said he was pleased with the regional range of performances included in the event. It is the Institute’s philosophy to celebrate the culture of Sudan and swap ideas and expertise.”