Carena Schlewitt on the Covid 19 situation in HELLERAU

Dear visitors and friends of HELLERAU,

Unfortunately, due to the cancellation of events and the closure of our event rooms, we have not been able to welcome you in HELLERAU in the last few weeks, nor have we been able to exchange ideas and information before and after the events, in workshops and discussions, as usual. We – the team of HELLERAU, but especially the artists – miss this direct encounter and exchange with you very much. At this point I would like to take you along and tell you a little bit about what has happened here in the last weeks and how we assess the situation for the future of art and culture. Like almost all areas of society, the artistic and creative sector has to struggle very hard with the corona measures. Much has already been reported about the first phase – closing of the houses, cancellation of events, postponement of projects, development of various scenarios for further cooperation with the artists, groups and partners. Despite the cancellation of the events, we in HELLERAU – the team, the artists*, the partners – have been active in dealing with the consequences of the pandemic and are now in demand with scenarios for the future. From the perspective of a house like HELLERAU, measures to support and maintain the artistic work of the freelance artists* and groups, but also of all those working in the creative sector on a freelance basis, are of absolute importance. In this sense, we expressly welcome the state, federal and municipal aid and support measures and their necessary expansion! This is a large area of cultural and social life, which seems to be taken for granted in the “normal case”, is gladly used by many citizens and will be missed by many in the future, if exactly this area is not preserved. From club to opera house, from cabaret to contemporary dance, from theatre to cinema, from exhibitions to concerts and much more – a cultural landscape is only entitled to this title if it is not riddled with holes. It is about the cultural needs of an entire society. Dresden did not make it to the next round with its application for the title of Capital of Culture, but the – also critical – deliberations on what a process to obtain this title means have set a lot in motion. This should definitely be carried forward and not be forgotten. Especially with Corona and with the processing and coming to terms with the Corona crisis, the question of the future of our society remains virulent – this urgency is all the more apparent in the current situation. It remains important for Dresden to maintain its supra-regional, international image as a city of art and culture – in all its forms! Even in a precarious present marked by crises, the future must play a role – for the urban society, but also as a tourist attraction, which Dresden has always been and wants to remain. And Dresden should be a city of the future, uniting all generations and offering young people in particular the opportunity to stay here and to see the city as their city of the future. This will not be possible without a strong participation of all creative people. HELLERAU can make a contribution here – with the freelance artists, with its regional, national and international partners, with its curious audience, with its committed team and with the aim of making a contribution to this task for society as a whole. At the moment, the overall social framework, the concrete corona situation, the question of the future, the significance of a diverse and multifaceted cultural landscape also include for us very concrete tasks and works. On the one hand, we are developing several scenarios in constant exchange with the artists* on how and when we can make up for the cancelled projects – always according to the specifications updated every 14 days as to when we could possibly start again. This process is time-consuming and exhausting. It also includes the questions of whether and how the originally developed artistic form has to and can be adapted under the new conditions, how far we have to postpone major international productions until next year, how we can still maintain questions of thematic focuses and festivals that cannot take place in this density at the moment. Like so many other cultural and art institutions, we also present current artistic works on our website, which both recapitulate the past programme and present new works and background material on the artistic work. Many thanks to the artists* for providing their material! It is important to us to collect some of the measures to support people who are particularly in need of help. Here individual people can also get involved for others. Within the framework of the Alliance of International Production Houses, voices of artists* worldwide on their work situation are collected – it is worthwhile to take a look at these “VOICES” ! Regardless of the current situation and the permanent restlessness to react to it artistically and practically, I would like to point out that – as always – we are also working intensively into the future, developing projects, planning the next season again. Projects such as our EU project “Moving Borders” or TANZPAKT Dresden are being further developed, co-productions, thematic focuses, digital formats play a role. This means that behind the scenes we continue to work on the artistic diversity that you have been able to experience in HELLERAU over the last few months and we very much hope for the first return to the programme. The opening of the theatres is possible with the current new Saxon ordinance and I can assure you that we are working flat out to be present again before the summer with a small programme. As we are dependent on several components for the implementation of this programme, I am unfortunately unable to give a date at the moment. My hope is that we will know more in the next few days and then we will be able to become concrete – we are in the starting blocks!