Pina Bausch’s pieces derive much of their strength from the personal influence of her dancers. She developed ways of working based on an intensive engagement with the personalities and (dancing) potential of individual ensemble members. Her decision to create new productions of Kontakthof, long after its premiere, both with elderly performers and with teenagers, extended this approach to include work with amateur performers. Pina Bausch thus became a pioneer of what are now known as participatory methods.
Over the last twenty years such techniques have been developed further, within the independent scene initially, later also in municipal theatres. As institutions, however, municipal theatres have undertaken only minimal structural re-education. This is where the Wupperbogen Forum will step in. It will be a laboratory for the future development of cultural institutions, in which the subjects and aesthetic forms of participatory projects can be pursued consistently and applied to the whole institution. At the same time, the Wupperbogen Forum will co-operate closely with the other areas of activity at the Pina Bausch Centre. The development of the programme is so far governed by only a few basic principles and will evolve out of the initial events.
Each season the Wupperbogen Forum will make its home in particular districts of the city to work with people locally, in collaboration with pre-existing organisations, initiatives and associations. As individuals forge links to the Wupperbogen Forum through joint (artistic) activities in each district, both decentral spheres of activity and potential stakeholders will be gained for the period following the opening of the Pina Bausch Centre. A particular focus here will be reaching out to sections of society so far underrepresented in municipal cultural institutions and placing their issues at the centre of the creative work in these locations.
At the centre of the negotiation processes on the establishment and configuration of the Wupperbogen Forum is the form the institution will take, and its relationship to the city’s pre-existing cultural institutions. Along with various stakeholders from the civic society and invited artists and academics, the conventional tiers of activity and operation within cultural institutions are to be examined, and alternative models developed for the Wupperbogen Forum. At the same time, through co-operation with various groups in the city, the process will determine what expectations of the Pina Bausch Centre exist, as well as identifying where there is indifference towards the project, and which needs can be addressed by a new cultural institution.
Based on the results of this work, a model for the Wupperbogen Forum is to be generated. To that end, the perspectives will be broadened by inviting artistic practices and theoretical approaches to Wuppertal which augment the themes of previous events with aesthetic and progressive approaches, or suggest other points of view. Developed through this process, the initial functioning model for the Wupperbogen Forum will be celebrated with a closing festival and will form the basis for the ongoing programme.