PRESS INFORMATION by the City of Wuppertal, press department 13.05.2015 / Page 1 of 2 

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia promises half a million euro to plan a Pina Bausch centre

The German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia will contribute 500 000 euro towards the costs of planning a Pina Bausch centre on the site of the former civic theatre in Elberfeld, Wuppertal; the city has now received confirmation from Ute Schäfer, NRW culture minister. At the end of last year the federal government announced it would make 1 million euro available. The planning costs have been estimated at a total of 2 million. The remaining sum of half a million, to be provided by the city, is likely to be approved by the council at its next meeting on 11 May.

“This joint initiative by the federal government, the state and the city will enable the planning of this nationally and internationally significant venture,” the minister declared. “The future of the art form dance in the context of Pina Bausch’s artistic vision is a very high priority for me.”

Wuppertal’s mayor, Peter Jung, was also delighted: “This is a big step towards securing the heritage and vision of Wuppertal’s great artist and honorary citizen Pina Bausch for the future.”

Chief executive of the council Dr Johannes Slawig added, “The commitment from the state is the next big result following the initial success of obtaining funding at a federal level. The Pina Bausch centre is an outstanding venture and one of the thirteen key projects comprising the Wuppertal 2025 strategic plan.” The fact that both national and regional funding has been secured demonstrates that this is a question of “national cultural heritage,” Slawig added. “Pina Bausch has equal status to an artist such as Joseph Beuys.” As well as thanking the state and federal governments, he thanked Wuppertal’s members of the state and federal parliaments for their engagement. “This project is beyond party politics,” Slawig said, “and will only succeed if it remains that way.”

Citizens’ Participation Envisaged

Assuming the council votes in favour, the city can now embark on the planning phase. This means that the existing idea will be revised and planned in detail. Investment and subsequent costs can be calculated and the architectural concept can be transposed into a design.

As Slawig and the council’s culture director, Matthias Nocke, emphasise, a broad spectrum of all local citizens are to be involved even at the planning stage. Ultimately the Pina Bauch centre is not intended solely as the home of the Tanztheater Wuppertal and the Pina Bausch Foundation, but as a place for meeting and exchange. The plans are to be finished by summer 2016.

Responsibility for the project will lie with the city’s buildings department (Gebäudemanagement Wuppertal: GMW). For its director Hans-Uwe Flunkert it is therefore crucial “that I first ask the people who will later be using the building what they envisage, and what they might need, if I am to plan a cultural centre and meeting place.” A specially chosen team at the GMW will be dedicated solely to this project. There is huge excitement, Flunkert says. Everyone is eager to start.

Culture director Nocke was keen to emphasise, however, that the plan was not simply to restore the theatre. “We will create something new,” he said.

Despite all the euphoria, the chief executive of the council  Dr Slawig was unwilling and unable to make a cast-iron guarantee that a Pina Bausch centre would in the end be created. “But I can guarantee that we will do everything we can. And we have now taken a big step forwards.”

Contact details for further enquiries:

Dr Johannes Slawig, Chief executive of the council  (Stadtdirektor), Tel: +49 (0) 202 563 – 5356

Matthias Nocke, culture director of the council (Kulturdezernent), Tel: +49 (0) 202 563 – 6550 

Hans-Uwe Flunkert, GMW director, Tel: +49 (0) 202 563 – 6842


copyright Pina Bausch Foundation, Foto Ulli Weiss
Tanztheater Wuppertal - Pina Bausch