Dear members of the audience,

The Ruhrtriennale 2015 will be my first Ruhrtriennale as Artistic Director. I am looking forward enormously to being allowed to run such a large and special festival, with which I have felt a strong affinity for such a long time. I have been part of it from the very beginning, under the artistic direction of my good friend and role model Gerard Mortier, with productions such as “Sentimenti” – a work of which I have many beautiful memories. For me, to run the Ruhrtriennale feels like coming home.

Making an individual kind of music theatre in specific locations away from the great artistic capitals and large theatres is how I began as a director. We wanted to perform for people who never go to theatres. It is very hard to achieve that. It was mostly the elite from Amsterdam who came to our performances then.

Now, too, we shall use all our powers to try to engage with the inhabitants of the Ruhr region, those in work and those without work. The Germans, the Europeans and the inhabitants of the world. The Ruhrtriennale should inspire and excite people, it should establish connections and make these deeper.

Two words are important to me as Artistic Director of the Ruhrtriennale: “Seid umschlungen” – “Be embraced.” This is a line from Schiller’s ‘Ode to Joy’, which Beethoven later set to music in his 9th Symphony. “Be embraced” will be my leitmotif – the Ruhrtriennale’s gesture of inclusion.

Instead of a thick brochure all we published is a map, on which we present our programme for 2015. We want to show you everything at a glance: the Ruhr region, the venues, the productions. In the spring we shall also publish a Ruhrtriennale newspaper in which we will tackle themes of importance to us and report on the progress of our productions.

The Ruhrtriennale has always been a festival which transcended boundaries, this year perhaps even more so. New music theatre creations and concerts are mixed with innovative electronic pop, theatre meets video art, installations meet contemporary dance. The Ruhrtriennale is a festival of the arts.

I am very much looking forward to it and hope to meet you at many of our performances.

Johan Simons

Johan Simons © Judith Buss