Mother of the Arts – A Way to Integration

“Tell me”, the Patati-Patata theatre project with refugees for refugees

Wherever peoples and cultures meet, theatre plays an important role. To learn a language by acting is an exceptionally good medium for integration. Reutlingen is one of the cities in Germany successfully taking part in this experiment.

Thus, the premiere of the play “Tell me” on 27 September this year was not only a wonderful and touching performance. In the comedy style, quite cynically, the play discusses problems and difficulties refugees are meeting in their every-day life.

Project manager Sonka Müller (see her detailed article in German on our website www.fhf-rt.de) says it is a project for all adults who are keen on acting. What counts is the desire to tell something, because the scenes of “Tell me” are based on the stories the players have told each other or have invented. Spontaneous, improvised acting – i.e. without written text – is intended, stories of language muddle, looking for work, endless waiting for something, stories of loneliness, family, one’s home country, of migration and war.

Despite their seriousness, actors succeeded in staging the stories playfully. That’s what theatre is all about, sometimes easy, sometimes serious alive in the sounds of all languages. “I think the audience was very touched.” Sonka Müller and her actors see “Tell Me” as a work in progress, so they want to carry on. But first, they have to find further funding. The project manager is encouraging people to find details under www.theaterpatati.de.

Adul Rahman Dabian from Syria shared the experience (see www.fhf-rt.de). Never before had he been on stage as an actor. Thanks to the Patati-Patata project, he overcame his inhibition in this unknown world. Today, he is full of joy, saying: “I love the theatre and dream of getting on there.”

Theatre as a chance for integration. Refugees wanting to take part will find information on our website www.fhfrt.de (Tag: Theatre). As Voltaire said: “Only in theatre, the nation is united. It consists of thinking and the taste of young people, and on the stage, foreigners learn our language.” This, I think, describes “Tell me” explicitly.

Translated by Sibylle Höf

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