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Symbol of the Ruhrtriennale at the Jahrhunderthalle in Bochum

The Ruhrtriennale is an international art festival in the Ruhr area .


The Ruhrtriennale takes place in the region's industrial monuments, most of which were transformed into venues for music, theater, literature and film, visual arts, dance and performance during the Emscher Park International Building Exhibition from 1989 to 1999. The focus is on interdisciplinary new productions, world premieres and new productions that take up the peculiarities of the respective venues: drama and opera are combined in former machine halls and coking plants with developments in the visual arts, pop and concert music.

The Jahrhunderthalle Bochum with the adjacent turbine hall and the steam blower house is the natural center of the Ruhrtriennale. Other venues include:


The Ruhrtriennale has been taking place since 2002 under an artistic direction that changes every three years. Founding intendant was Gerard Mortier . He held the position of artistic director from 2002 to 2004.

The second Ruhrtriennale took place between 2005 and 2007 under the artistic direction of Jürgen Flimm . The common theme of his first season was the connection between industrialization and romanticism. In the second and third years, too, epochs were thematic focal points: in 2006, the focus was on the Baroque , the program in 2007 dealt with the Middle Ages .

After the death of the designated director Marie Zimmermann in April 2007, Jürgen Flimm agreed to lead the 2008 season together with Jürgen Krings. Marie Zimmermann's preoccupation with the "foreign" was therefore also the leitmotif: "From the foreign".

Willy Decker succeeded Jürgen Flimm in 2009 and directed the 3rd Ruhrtriennale from 2009 to 2011. During the three seasons under his artistic direction, the Ruhrtriennale explored the relationship between art and creativity on the one hand and religion on the other. In 2009 the focus was on the Jewish culture, in 2010 on the Islamic and finally in 2011 on the Buddhist culture.

The director of the Ruhrtriennale from 2012 to 2014 was the composer and director Heiner Goebbels , who is best known for his compositions and productions in the field of music theater. Under his direction, the Ruhrtriennale ran the subtitle International Festival of the Arts with the fine arts as its focus.

Dutch director and theater director Johan Simons has been appointed director of the Ruhrtriennale from 2015 to 2017 . He formulated the objective “to seek rapprochement with the residents of the Ruhr area, with the workers and the unemployed” with all our efforts.

The director of the Ruhrtriennale 2018 to 2020 is the dramaturge Stefanie Carp . She is supported by the Swiss director and musician Christoph Marthaler as chief director. There was initially a controversy over alleged anti-Semitic statements about Achille Mbembe's originally planned appearance at the Ruhrtriennale 2020 , but it had to be canceled anyway because of the COVID-19 pandemic .

From 2020, for the seasons 2021 to 2023, Barbara Frey will take over the management.

The annual budget is around 14 million euros and is largely paid for by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia .

Artists and ranks

Ruhrtriennale 2018. Diamante.
Mariano Pensotti

The Century of Song concert series took place from 2003 to 2010 , in which international songwriters dealt with the traditions of popular song . After eight seasons under the direction of Thomas Wördehoff, Century of Song changed conceptually in 2010 . The title was retained, but the content orientation moved closer to the topics that determine the festival. The new curator of the concert series was Christoph Gurk before the series was discontinued in 2011. Concerts continued to take place from 2012 onwards, under the direction of Heiner Goebbels, although they are no longer entitled Century of Song .

Some productions of the Ruhrtriennale could be seen internationally:

David Pountney's production of Bernd Alois Zimmermann's opera The Soldiers was shown in New York in 2008.

In January 2009, Willy Decker's production of Le vin herbé by Frank Martin , with which the Ruhrtriennale opened in 2007, was shown at the Opéra de Lyon .

Christoph Schlingensief's Fluxus - Oratorio A Church of Fear of the Stranger in Me from 2008 opened the Berlin Theatertreffen on May 1st, 2009 . This production also made a guest appearance at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam in June 2009.

Since 2012, more emphasis has been placed on showing the Ruhrtriennale's own productions in other locations as well. Some productions from the 2012 and 2013 seasons will be shown internationally under the title Tourtriennale.


The Ruhrtriennale is sponsored by Kultur Ruhr GmbH , based in Bochum. In addition to the Ruhrtriennale, the three other program pillars of Kultur Ruhr GmbH are the ChorWerkRuhr , the Tanzlandschaft Ruhr and Urbane Künste Ruhr . In addition to their other programmatic work, these three institutions make a regular contribution to the Ruhrtriennale. The sponsors and shareholders are the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Ruhr Regional Association and the Pro Ruhrgebiet association . The Federal Cultural Foundation and the NRW Art Foundation also support numerous individual productions.

Under the directorship of Jürgen Flimm, a board of trustees was set up, including Alfred Biolek , Dieter Gorny and Michael Vesper . In addition to the Board of Trustees, the Association of Friends and Supporters of the Ruhrtriennale, founded in 2005, is committed to providing ideal and material support for the festival.


  1. Gerard Mortier (2002-2004)
  2. Jürgen Flimm (2005–2007, extended until 2008 after the death of the designated director Marie Zimmermann )
  3. Willy Decker (2009-2011)
  4. Heiner Goebbels (2012-2014)
  5. Johan Simons (2015-2017)
  6. Stefanie Carp (2018-2020)
  7. Barbara Frey (2020–)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Johan Simons will be director of the Ruhrtriennale 2015-2017. May 27, 2013, archived from the original on October 29, 2013 ; Retrieved August 20, 2015 .
  2. ^ Johan Simons: Editorial Ruhrtriennale 2015. (No longer available online.) Formerly in the original ; Retrieved August 20, 2015 .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  3. Stefanie Carp becomes director of the Ruhrtriennale 2018-2020 with Christoph Marthaler as chief director . May 17, 2016 ( [accessed November 15, 2017]).
  4. SZ May 1, 2020: "Campaign" [1]
  5. ^ Call for BMI Seehofer: [2]
  6. Solidarity with Achille Mbembe: [3]
  7. ^ A b Ruhrtriennale: Barbara Frey becomes the new director . ISSN  0174-4909 ( [accessed July 3, 2019]).
  8. Max Kühlem: Ruhrtriennale: in conversation with Heiner Goebbels. July 23, 2012, accessed September 2, 2015 .
  9. ^ History of the festival. Retrieved November 2, 2018 .
  10. The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia press release of July 3, 2019: Barbara Frey will be director of the Ruhrtriennale for the seasons 2021 to 2023 , accessed on July 7, 2019