Theatre, Dance & MusicRamba Zamba
In 1990, director Klaus Erforth and actress Gisela Höhne founded Sonnenuhr, a working space to encourage artistic creativity in mentally disabled people. Their own son, Moritz Höhne, was born with the Down syndrome. To help him and other, similar children to overcome prejudice and marginalization, and to encourage self-expression and a sense of independence, they started a circus for mentally disabled children. The circus turned out so well that in 1991 Erforth and Höhne decided to establish RambaZamba Theatre which is located in the Kulturbrauerei at the Prenzlauerberg in Berlin. It is a sheltered working environment for disabled people where they rehearse and perform together with ‘normal’ actors in colorful, extravagant, avant garde theatre plays. Ramba Zamba offers the audience new and stimulating ways of interacting with handicapped people. Many of the productions center around the themes of being different, of discrimination and marginalization, of being outside the norm in a profit-oriented society.
In 2011 the two founders decided to separate ways. Klaus Erforth established a new organization named after the name given to his RambaZamba theatre group in 2004 (www.kalibani.jimdo.com). Gisela Höhne still manages her own group in the original setting (www.theater-rambazamba.org). Both organizations are developing similar activities.
Horizon supported RambaZamba from 1997 to 2010.
Founded in 1985, the Internal Youth and Culture Center Kiebitz e.V., based in Duisburg, Germany, aims to function as ‘a third place’ where children and young people from different cultural backgrounds can set their creativity free. In an environment that differs from the daily school and parental home routines, projects and workshops are offered which are supported by professional artists. Subjects covered are plastic arts, photography, literature, painting, music, dance, theatre and video. Target groups are broadly defined and include individuals, groups or school classes.
The level playing field of the arts offers new and interesting ways of communication to these groups of German and non-German youth. New spaces will develop which will advance mutual understanding and new friendships between participants.
In 2011 Horizon confirmed to support the three year dance theatre project ‘Tanz dich Frei’ in which young people with and without disabilities, from various cultural backgrounds, can express their emotions and opinions together on stage. After its successful completion in 2014 a new, slightly different project which is open to people to of all ages, has started. This sequel to the original project, Menschen im Forum’, will also be supported by Horizon for a period of three years.
Zagreb International Music Festival
The Zagreb International Chamber Music Festival belongs to the leading cultural events of Croatia. Founded in 2006, every year in October internationally acclaimed musicians from many different countries gather in Zagreb to work together with local musicians and to present the results of their rehearsals in public concerts. The concerts take place in the main hall of the Croatian Music Institute (built in 1827, 400 seats) and are broadcasted by the Croatian Radio and Television.
In the last 8 years, 85 musicians from more than 28 nations were invited to Zagreb, to work together with local musicians. Every year, all concerts of the festival (2014: 9) are sold out, the media coverage of the festival is significant and therefore the festival promotes classical music and cultural exchange in the best possible way.
In 2013-2015, with the support of Horizon, additional educational programs were successfully included in order to develop a future audience for classical music and to support young local musicians. Local students of the Music Academy in Zagreb were given the possibility to study with the internationally acclaimed musicians of the festival during open master classes, which has led to an intense cultural exchange between local musicians in Croatia and the participating artists of the festival. For the first time a special concert for children was presented during the festival, which has experienced a huge impact and an overwhelming positive response from the audience. Finally, the concept of a ‘contemporary music lounge’ was introduced by which is intended to attract a new and young audience to classical concerts. By presenting a concert program with classical music in a Jazz club (ca. 400 seats) it has been made possible for the audience to experience classical music in a different and relaxed atmosphere which seems to be the perfect concept to introduce classical chamber music to a new audience, as it makes the “classical concert experience” more easily accessible.
Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO)
The Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) is based in Windhoek, Namibia, a country which is a modern society building on traditional values. Communities are still patriarchal, with the man being perceived as the head of the household and expected to be authoritative. Women are expected to be submissive and to serve their husbands. Children have little or no say. This system is deeply embedded in rural areas. Gender based violence is a national subject raised regularly in the media and by politicians reacting to so-called ‘passion killings’ throughout the country. OYO aims at transforming these beliefs towards gender equality and participation of children and young people.
OYO’s vision is to develop a society in which there is broad access to information and the arts. By developing their creative skills, young people enable themselves to make better choices, and thus to become more prosperous, to increase their life expectancy, and to improve the quality of their lives. Building on the cultural significance within the Namibian society of music, song, dance, and drama, OYO strives to create social awareness, using the performing and visual arts to provide children and young people across the country with the knowledge to make informed choices, including the ability to protect themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. In reflecting on the way they are brought up and behave in their social sphere, especially with their age mates when growing up, young people have the chance to develop awareness and understanding of their human rights and the confidence to stand up, to have their opinions counted and to affect social change.
In 2014 Horizon decided to support the project “Growing Strong’ of the OYO dance group which aims to show to students at 10 secondary schools the benefit of respecting the rights of women and encouraging them to be rural entrepreneurs, without disrupting traditional values. It involves some young people directly in the youth group, showing an example of how young people could develop projects. It further encourages other young people to learn about their rights and become rural entrepreneurs.
More on OYO and its activities: www.ombetja.org or on Facebook: ombetja