Cure for the Soul – Puppet Theatre SternKundt is in crisis

An arena must now be

"The theatre is the cure of the soul," says the Cologne actress Ulrike Kundt.A cure that could hardly succeed on the TV screen, but still in the cinema. As with the theatre, it is beyond the mediated film content to experience the "same breath of many" in front of the stage and screen, to experience something together with others, while sensing, smelling, listening to each other.

The puppeteers Ulrike Kundt and Joachim Stern can be seen in a newspaper photo from the old days. They stand very closely with a girl who explores the wooden faces of the figures with her fingers. 'We can't do that anymore, we can't touch it.People are only allowed to look at the figures from afar," regrets Ulrike Kundt. It is a pity that such encounters as in the photo of that time have become unthinkable for fear of contagion.

Microphones carry the voices into the distance

Microphones and loudspeakers have become part of the essential equipment of their peephole stage. With their many years of speaking experience, they were heard in the past even without a microphone for about 350 people in a marketplace. But in order to be able to perform in front of an audience under the current Corona protection requirements, "we need an arena now."A microphone is a welcome relief.On the Sindorfer Wiese it was "fun" to play, "for all the spectators there," says Ulrike Kundt. It is an illusion only that they will be able to live with the puppet theatre in the future from hat collections and donations.

"The theatre is the cure of the soul"

Actress Ulrike Kundt

Culturally starved

She is currently experiencing touching moments in the few recent performances in Kitas. In rooms that were otherwise full of people, they played those times only in front of a few children, who sat scattered on benches. "Please stay there," the children often begged in tears as they dismantled the stage, Ulrike Kundt explains. At the moment, she is experiencing how "impoverished, how culturally starved" her otherwise quite self-confident young audience is. They showed a high need for encouragement, but also for experiences. A hunger that they are able to satisfy with their theatre not only in children, but also in adult performances.

"We are all systemically important", with this sentence she strongly opposes the division of systemically important professions and companies at the expense of cultural workers, which was initially carried out in the Corona crisis.

Crisis as an opportunity

In the current crisis of the theatre, the great ones were most likely to perish, those who, with a large personal apparatus, were already purely logistically dependent on the big stages and a large audience, they are experiencing at the moment.

But even in the Theater SternKundt, after almost 30 years of puppetry, one does not know what the future holds. Consider cycling out of the city, and culture in the countryside is currently being explicitly promoted. But perhaps time should also be stopped with the Kasperletheater, Ulrike Kundt ponders, because: "The crisis is also an opportunity. We can think about something new."

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