High-brow, international culture is on the program of the prestigious Ruhrfestspiele every year. Actors from Hamburg and miners from Recklinghausen initiated the theater festival in 1946: In the years after the war, the miners supplied coal to the actors from Hamburg, who repaid the favor with their art.
Art for coal—a swap that marked the beginning of the Ruhrfestspiele. This founding idea evolved into a quality European festival within almost seven decades. Artists from all around the world make guest appearances in the Ruhr region every May and June.
The Ruhr metropolitan area is on the way to becoming a technological, economic, and cultural powerhouse at the heart of Europe. Over the past 150 years, people in this region have principally defined themselves through their productivity and as a community of mutual solidarity that has always succeeded in integrating people of different backgrounds in their midst.
In addition to the economic strength it gets from industry and SMEs, the Ruhr region also needs cultural beacons like the Ruhrfestspiele. The festival serves to draw attention to and promote this region among Germany’s European neighbors. Evonik Industries has been a sponsor of the theater festival for many years.
This year, artistic director Frank Hoffmann and his team have created the banner "Inselreiche. Land in Sicht – Entdeckungen" (Island realms. Land in sight—discoveries) for the festival. Even in its 68th season, audiences again expect a varied program—this time with stellar actors such as Charlotte Rampling ("The Night Dances"), Isabelle Huppert ("The False Secrets"), Ulrich Matthes, Hannelore Elsner, Katja Riemann (in readings), and Joachim Król ("Scenes from a Marriage").