IS German robbers in Dschihad

freely based on Schiller

Cologne Theatre Award 2020

16. - 18. September 2021, 20 h, Zionskirche, Zionskirchplatz, Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg
reservation info [at]

Astonished, unbelieving and with incomprehension, the Western world observes how its own children leave their homeland to go to a war they call jihad and the West terrorism. This war is directed against the values and principles of the societies they come from, against democracy and tolerance. According to military strategist Carsten Bockstette, terrorism is less a military strategy than a communication strategy. The suicide bombing thus gives unrestricted media attention to those who would otherwise not have a chance to be heard. When we talk about suicide bombing today, we first think of Islamist fundamentalist terrorism. But this assumption ignores the fact that German/Western history and literature also have examples of the same. In Schiller's Räuber, Karl Mohr, who is basically a figure of light, has a dark side. He founds a gang of robbers, he robs and murders to give to the poor, but in the end he himself is frightened by the excesses of violence - late insight.

  • "I feel an army in my fist - death or freedom!" - The Robbers II, 3 / Karl Moor

What is the fundamental idea of man? What moves these young people? Do they find in radicalisation, in Islamism/robbery an alternative to the feeble parental home? Is the way into jihad a youth culture, a rebellion against the value system of society or its absence? The path leads into the desert or into the forest and finally to court!

On the foil of Schiller's "The Robbers", the father-son conflict reflects the generation conflict and the rebellion against society, the formation of a gang of robbers is a logical consequence - is the way into jihad the same? There are similarities that go beyond temporal and cultural dimensions and suggests the assumption that violence is anchored in human nature: But how to escape it?

In the Freihandelszone, the piece begins with a performative "robber" installation. The foundation of a gang and its demolition. From there, the visitor is led into the monumental church building of Sankt Gertrud, a place of open encounter and religious confrontation, of love and art, but also of a court hearing that juxtaposes irreconcilable opposites and positions. As at a meeting of the UN Security Council, the audience follows the trial on the choir gallery via headphones. Various stations, video projections, play scenes, witness interviews, eye axes and the phenomenal spatial sound of the church produce changing perspectives, both mental and visual. Like in classical drama, the structure is divided into 5 acts.

with: Asta Nechajute, Fabian Kuhn, Lucia Schulz | Dance: Sara Blasco Guitérrez (Katharina Sim)

Director: Andrea Bleikamp | Text version & Dramaturgy: Rosi Ulrich | Music: Sergej Maingardt | Video: Jens Standke| Set Design: Claus Stump| Light design: Jan Wiesbrock | Production Assistent: Gina Bensch | Technics: Jens Kuklik | PR: mechtild tellmann kulturmanagement | Public Relations: neurohr & andrä | Photos: Alessandro De Matteis
Many thanks to Misagh Basim (singer of the Nasheed song)

PR: 27.11.2019, 20 h / 28.-30.11. / 15. - 18. October 2020, 20 h, Sankt Gertrud: cultur and church, Krefelder Str. 57, 50670 Cologne
23.04.-26.04.2020, 15. - 18. April 2021, 20 h (cancelled due to the Corona crisis): Sankt Gertrud, Krefelderstr. 57, Cologne
Stream: 15. April 20 h - 18. April 2021, 23:59 h on:





Kantinengespräche - Podcast (German) //

To complement various productions, WEHR51 publishes a multi-part podcast: KANTINENGESPRÄCHE.

From the aether of the WEHR51 theatre canteen, theatre makers Andrea Bleikamp and Rosi Ulrich discuss various topics with academics and experts.

In the context of IS German Robbers in Jihad, the invited discussion partners were:
- the professor of personality and social psychology Ernst-Dieter Lantermann
- the extremism expert Claudia Dantschke
- the Syrian couple Shireen and Juan
- Bonustrack: Andrea Bleikamp and Rosi Ulrich answer Prof. Ernst-Dieter Lantermann's questions about the production IS German Robbers in the Jihad

30 September 2021: Episode 7 - How Society Radicalises with Ernst-Dieter Lantermann
24 November 2021: Episode 8 - What to do with radicalised people with Claudia Dantschke
27 November 2021: Episode 9 - Why flee? with the Syrian couple Shireen and Juan
30 November 2021: Episode 10 - Questions for the artistic team by Ernst-Dieter Lantermann

Concept / Realisation: Rosi Ulrich, Andrea Bleikamp | Conceptual research: Silvia Petrova| Interviewees: Andrea Bleikamp, Rosi Ulrich | Guests: Ernst-Dieter Lantermann, Claudia Dantschke, Shireen & Juan | Technical support: Tobias Zimmermann, Jan Kutscher

Produced within the framework of the EXCHANGE programme, the mediation programme of WEHR51.
The Exchange Programme is supported by the RheinEnergie StiftungKultur

Episode 7 - How Society Radicalises with Ernst-Dieter Lantermanneter Lantermann

Episode 8 - What to do with radicalised people with Claudia Dantschke

Episode 9 - Why flee? with the Syrian couple Shireen and Juan

Episode 10 - Questions for the artistic team by Ernst-Dieter Lantermann


Bleikamp and her team show highly topical, political theatre in an entertaining form, without releasing the audience from their obligation to take thoughts beyond the evening with them. Very successful! (O-Ton, 28.11.2019, Michael S. Zerban)

""I'm full of hate and I love it!', it whizzes through the headphones right into the ears of the audience. ... Discomfort is spreading. Looking for help, one looks to the right, then to the left: In your own row are inflatable plastic dolls. Are you really the only one here who sees this disaster coming? ... Not a classical drama, but a variety of art forms pouring down on the audience unfiltered. Enormous floods of images and video installations (Jens Standke) are projected onto the bare concrete walls of the church, while Sergej Maingardt's constantly changing soundscapes challenge the sense of hearing. In Acts, the spectator accompanies a fictive court trial - from the indictment to the plea. The confrontation with the events is relentless. The acting trio (Asta Nechajute, Lucia Schulz and Fabian Kuhn) is also using the power of this almost limitless stage. They challenge, frighten, stifle brief glimmers of hope, in which humanity flows back into their bodies, and yet still awaken compassion. ... The ensemble experiments and asks questions, but provides no answers. Instead they try to fill the void with art: an overlapping cacophony of image, music, drama and dance shows the complexity of the subject. But this is precisely what makes 'IS German Robbers in Jihad' a political theatre - and an art experience. (StadtRevue April 2020 Pascal Dombrowicz)

"...the way and the how is impressive. Besides dancer Katharina Sim, Asta Nechajute, Lucia Schulz and Fabian Kuhn are brilliant ... in a dramatically realistic play. The attraction of the evening is the picture thunderstorm of the video artist and KHM graduate Jens Standke. ...that becomes a captivating multimedia narrative." (Kölnische Rundschau, 29.11.2019, Thomas Linden)

Produced by WEHR51, in cooperation with Freihandelszone - ensemblenetzwerk köln
We thank our hosts sankt gertrud: church + culture in Cologne and Zionschurch in Berlin
supported by: Kunststiftung NRW, Kulturamt der Stadt Köln, Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, NRW Landesbüro Freie Darstellende Künste, RheinEnergieStiftung KULTUR