Theater im Depot, which has existed since 2001, is setting out from the 2022/23 season to become a stronger hub in the broad network of the independent performing arts. The future program will be characterized by contemporary dance, performance, performance/theater, documentary theater, experimental music theater and all kinds of mixed forms. Works that seek a proximity to visual arts formats will also find a place in the new Theater im Depot.
In addition to stage productions or productions for the art space, these will also be works in the urban environment of the theater as well as works for the digital space. The Theater im Depot is currently setting up a production studio for digital projects, as well as for virtual and augmented reality productions. In addition to this production environment, a VR theater with up to 15 seats is being created. Likewise, the new Theater im Depot is working on establishing various residency programs.
Beyond these conventional programmatic elements, the new Theater im Depot is pursuing the idea of further developing the structure of the cultural institution in a participatory manner with actors from the theater's immediate neighborhoods. This is what the project Die Versammlung der Versammelten stands for. Together with many actors, we set out to investigate how the conventional programming of the house and the work of the assembly can merge with each other step by step in order to establish a new relationship between urban society, artists and the operators of the institution. Room A29, as an interface space with its ongoing program, stands for the processual and permanent work with people from the theater's neighborhoods. Here, social situations and artistic as well as activist and sometimes discursive approaches merge into an offer that focuses on the people from the urban society surrounding the theater.
The program of Theater im Depot is historically influenced by works that were created in the independent scene in Dortmund. For these, the theater has been a crucial production as well as presentation venue over the past 21 years. The projects from Dortmund's independent scene form the foundation of the Theater im Depot's program. Many local groups that are closely connected to the history of the house, such as Rolf Dennemann/artscenico, Drangwerk, I can be your translator, Sepidar Theater, Sterna Pau, trafique/Sir Gabriel Dellmann or Vier.D or also the actors of the former house ensemble regularly rehearse, co-produce and present their works at the Theater im Depot. In addition, the new Theater im Depot also sets out to regularly present positions of the national and international independent performing arts in Dortmund. Our goal is not only to be a guest venue for selected regional, national and international artists, but also to become a co-production center. The new Theater im Depot cooperates with local, regional, national and international partners and will continuously expand its network. The new Theater im Depot is especially committed to young artists at the beginning of their careers. Offering them a space to develop their aesthetic signature is a special concern of the new Theater im Depot.
The Theater im Depot is also the home and cooperation partner for various socio-culturally oriented theater and dance projects. Special attention is given to the cooperation with the Theaterwerkstatt of Barbara Müller and the various groups of the Tanzwerkstatt of Birgit Götz. Their work, which we present regularly at the Theater im Depot, is integrated in a special way into the development of the new Theater im Depot.
With its presentations, thematic focuses, festivals, conferences and symposia, as well as the participatory institutional development in the project Die Versammlung der Versammelten, the new Theater im Depot offers a platform for social debates about art, society and their relationships to each other. We see the new Theater im Depot as a place where even deviant, hitherto underrepresented, contentious positions are presented and where contrary perspectives can meet and be negotiated with each other. Theater im Depot will become a democratic testing ground that offers a protected space for urgently needed social debates and, through its own development, not only reflects social and aesthetic issues, but also decisively advances them.
History of the Dortmund Theater in the Depot
Since 2001, the Theater im Depot in Dortmund has been performing in the rooms at Immermannstr. 29 near the Fredenbaumpark. The supporting organization is the Verein zur Förderung freier Theaterarbeit. The Verein zur Förderung freier Theaterarbeit e.V. was founded in 1995 as the supporting association for the Theater im Depot. The purpose of the association is to promote art and culture, especially by supporting free amateur theaters and free professional theaters.
Thanks to its 330 square meter hall with 184 seats, the Dortmund Theater im Depot is one of the largest independent theaters in NRW. The theater is integrated into the building complex of the Kulturort Depot Dortmund, which offers a varied program with its 35 different tenants.
Once the main streetcar workshop of the municipal transport company, the Kulturort Depot is now a place for art and culture. More than 35 individuals, societies, associations and offices have settled in the building since it opened in 2001. From architecture and design to photography and the visual and performing arts - the Kulturort Depot Dortmund combines everything under one large roof. The program includes exhibitions, theater, dance, cinema, markets, fairs and various workshops.