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AufBruch is an independent Berlin theatre project working artistically on social and political processes and recurrences. The project’s aim is to open prison to art by means of art itself; in a space closed to the public by its very definition. Its aim is to give prisoners a language, a voice and a face by providing them with the tools to perform art. AufBruch is working in a big social and cultural integration and reintegration-process through art workshops and projects. Its aim is a lively theatre with high artistic standards which convinces by its authenticity and significance. AufBruch was founded in 1997 and produces public arts and theatre projects in prisons and other public spaces in the city of Berlin. AufBruch now is working in all prisons in Berlin.

AufBruch is one of the most renowned and professional prison theatre projects in Germany, in the now twenty five years that it has existed, has become well known outside Germany thanks to a large number of productions and shows, invitations to notable festivals and wide-ranging positive reviews in the national and international press. AufBruch realized more than 100 productions with more than 1500 performers, has also produced plays in Russian and Chilean prisons and was involved in a large number of European research and network projects. AufBruch’s theatre work in prisons and in public space is based on the concept of involving people (who have committed crimes) of all ages, from different social backgrounds and cultural milieus, as well as with various levels of language and education, in artistic projects and to then make the final work of art available to the wider public. Through this work on the artistic projects, a space is created in which different social groups and classes can meet, trends towards discrimination are counteracted and integration is encouraged.

A public audience can visit the performances in these prisons. AufBruch uses very different kinds of topical approaches. Traditional literary texts (Schiller – Robbers, Beckett – Endgame, Koltes -Zucco, Shakespeare- Hamlet, Tempest) serve as a basis for the projects, mythological themes (Nibelungen, Atriden) but also texts about related topics (biographies – Spartacus, Hannibal) as well as numerous biographical elements of the lives of the members of the cast. The largest part of our participants has a migration background and german is not their mother language. Performances, which are thematically connected to the “Inside” productions, are created once a year in spaces outside prison not normally used for theatre. For these projects we mix a team with actors and ex-inmates. In all other prisons in Berlin aufBruch creates workshops with inmates (theatre, music, writing, dance, film and video) with the focus of cultural education, deradicalization and anti-violence training.


Berlin, Germany