Francis Kéré presents mobile stage for Berlin theater | Arts | DW | 05.09.2017
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Francis Kéré presents mobile stage for Berlin theater

The design for Francis Kéré's temporary mobile stage at "Hangar 5" of Berlin's disused Tempelhof Airport has been unveiled. It's part of Volksbühne's plan, under director Chris Dercon, to spread theater across Berlin.

The new director of the famous Berlin theater Volksbühne, Chris Dercon, is leaving his first mark on the city's cultural landscape. Dercon commissioned architect Francis Kéré with a draft for a temporary stage at the Tempelhof Airport, and the two presented the design on Monday. 

Kéré's vision for the now defunct airport's "Hangar 5" is a mix of theater and architecture. His construction consists of a round, amphitheater-like stage with space for up to 400 people. While the stage will be positioned in the hangar, it will also be mobile so it can be taken outside.

The delicately designed work of art is made of wood and fabric. "We are standing at a construction site, but it is a good start," Kéré told news agency dpa.

Read more: Francis Kéré's stunning new pavilion opens in London

The architect from Burkina Faso has been living in Berlin for 20 years. He became famous with his design for the arts village planned in his home country by director Christoph Schlingensief, who died in 2010.

Known for his socially and ecologically minded designs, Kéré has also garnered attention for his primary school in Burkina Faso and has held solo museum shows in Munich and Philadelphia. He was also one of the architects behind Geneva's International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.

Theater for Berlin 

Chris Dercon, a Belgian art historian and former director of Tate Modern in London, described Kéré's work as "flexible and radically simple."

The theater has been renamed Volksbühne Berlin and, under Dercon's leadership, aims to transport theater into the city via satellite stages like the one at Tempelhof.

Read more: Why multicultural Berlin can't stomach the internationalization of its most traditional theater

The Volksbühne will present theater and dance shows in this mobile theater every year in autumn and in the long term, perhaps also in the summer. At the moment, however, funding for the temporary theater's completion has not yet been secured, according to Dercon.

Finished or not, the new theater space at "Hangar 5" will be inaugurated on September 14, 2017, with a world premiere of the dance piece "A Dancer's Day" by the French choreographer Boris Charmatz. He will also be opening the Volksbühne's new season with the dance show "Foud de Danse" on September 10.

rb/kbm (with dpa)