Shetland Arts are welcoming partners from Das Letzte Kleinod theatre in Bremerhaven to Shetland this week in the first phase of a joint youth theatre project. Juliane Lenssen and Jens-Erwin Siemssen of Das Letzte Kleinod will be meeting Stephenie Pagulayan, director of Shetland Youth Theatre, and the Shetland Arts team to explore Shetland, its historic trading links with Northern Germany and its industrial past and present, from fishing to energy, that tie the two regions together across the North Sea. Later in the week the Das Letzte Kleinod team will also meet the young people of Shetland Youth Theatre for workshops and development sessions.  

This is one of seven projects in the UK that were awarded up to £20,000 to work in partnership with at least one participating German organisation. The projects kicked off in November 2021 to share learning, exchange expertise and develop new approaches to socially engaged practice. The visit from the Das Letzte Kleinod team to Shetland was originally planned to take place in December 2021 but the decision was taken to postpone until February due to the COVID situation at the time, in the meantime meetings have been taking place via Zoom and a small Shetland Arts team will be hosted by Das Letzte Kleinod in a return visit next month.

With investment from Fonds Soziokultur, Arts Council England, Arts Council Northern Ireland, British Council, Wales Arts International, Creative Scotland and Goethe Institute in London this programme will build new relationships in the field of participative arts and culture between Germany and the UK.

The following seven partnerships were awarded funding in this pilot phase:

ENTER - Kulturvilla Nellie, Lörrach, Baden-Württemberg + Creative Black Country, West Bromwich

STAGING THE HIDDEN WORDS - Sommerblut Kulturfestival, Cologne + Writing on the Wall, Liverpool

BRIDGIT ‘Building Better Bridges’ - Fine Arts Institute Leipzig (FAIL), Leipzig + Folkestone Fringe, Kent and Alchemy Film & Arts, Hawick

NORTHSEA NEIGHBOURS - Das Letzte Kleinod, Schiffdorf, Niedersachsen + Shetland Arts, Shetland Islands

ENSEMBLE UPVENTION - S27, Berlin + Govanhill Baths, Glasgow

ODE TO EARTH - Die Villa, Leipzig + Beyond Skin and DU Dance, Belfast

MIND THE GAP - University of Music Lübeck and Emanuel Geibel-Schule + Valleys Kids, Penygraig

International collaboration and exchange is vital for new ideas and new connections between nations to flourish. From Shetland to Glasgow and the Scottish Borders, Cultural Bridge creates a unique opportunity for local communities in Scotland to take part in, enjoy and be inspired by a range of creative projects developed collaboratively between Germany and Scotland. Similarly, Scotland’s musicians and artists have always had strong ties with German audiences and this initiative is key to strengthening those relationships, and further extending our shared creative voice.” (Ian Munro, Creative Scotland CEO

"The Cultural Bridge pilot programme is an important step in strengthening cross-border collaboration between the UK and Germany. With support from the seven lead partner organisations the participating exemplary local cultural institutions have discovered valuable common ground to forge new connections through this pilot. The programme and each of the new partnerships are based on the strong belief that cultural democracy in our societies is needed more than ever. Shared learning and development of new approaches to socially engaged arts practice through the Cultural Bridge is likely to be of benefit to us all.“ (Mechthild Eickhoff, Managing Director, Fonds Soziokultur)

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