The Ruhrtriennale 2020 cannot take place due to the Coronavirus pandemic

Issue no3
Jun -Jul 2021
Makers Of Their Own Time - Relational Activism

The Ruhrtriennale 2020 cannot take place due to the Coronavirus pandemic, says the Board of the Ruhr Triennale. The artistic director has an other opinion (scroll for opinion director).


The Board of Directors of Kultur Ruhr has decided unanimously to cancel this year’s festival – the health of our public, artists and staff has absolute priority

Bochum, 24 April 2020 – This year’s Ruhrtriennale festival has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This was the unanimous decision made Wednesday, 22 April 2020 at an extraordinary meeting of Kultur Ruhr GmbH’s Board of Directors. The decision has been confirmed by a meeting of the partners. Last week the federal and state governments agreed to ban all large scale events up to and including 31 August 2020. The Ruhrtriennale was scheduled to take place from 14 August to 20 September 2020.

“The cancellation of the Ruhrtriennale 2020 is a bitter loss for the cultural life of North Rhine-Westphalia that also pains me personally. However, I am convinced that in the current situation major events such as the Ruhrtriennale must fulfil their special responsibilities. Protecting the health of the public, the artists and our staff is our principal concern. As a consequence, the cancellation of the Ruhrtriennale 2020 is sadly unavoidable,” says Minister of Culture and Science Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen in her role as Board Chair of Kultur Ruhr GmbH.

The ability to rehearse and travel in preparation for the numerous productions is already severely curtailed as a result of the current restrictions on international travel. As the extensive planning for the Ruhrtriennale’s comprehensive programme with some 700 participating artists from around 40 countries would soon have entered its “hot” phase, it was necessary to make the decision to cancel the Ruhrtriennale at this point.

Tickets that have already been bought will be refunded. To do this, tickets can be returned to the advanced sales outlets where they were purchased. Online customers will be contacted directly by Kultur Ruhr GmbH in the coming weeks in order to process their refunds. Any other questions can be directed to our ticket hotline: 0(049)221 280210. Further information will be available shortly from:

The Ruhrtriennale has taken place since 2002 under an Artistic Director whose position changes hands every three years. Every year the festival invites international contemporary artists who work in areas where music theatre, drama, dance, performance and the visual arts intersect to present artworks within the monumental industrial architecture of the Ruhr metropolitan region.The Ruhrtriennale attracts an average of 60,000 visitors per year. Its current Artistic Director is Stefanie Carp, and the seasons from 2018-2020 have the motto “In-Between Time”. This year’s programme had planned 33 productions and projects – including 12 world and European premieres – in 17 different venues in Bochum, Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen, Gladbeck and Wuppertal. Public funding for the Ruhrtriennale 2018-2020 is approx. 13.7 million Euro per year, of which the State contributes 12.65 million Euro and the Regionalverband Ruhr approx. one million Euro.


Artistic Director Stefanie Carp on the cancellation of the festival: “I regret the decision of the partners and the Board of Directors and feel above all that it has been taken far too early. Of course the health of all concerned – whether they are artists, the public or members of staff – is our highest priority. We have been working for weeks on a programme for the Ruhrtriennale that would have complied with all the necessary hygiene measures. In recent weeks I have been in frequent contact with Ruhrtriennale artists. It has been incredibly inspiring to see the enormous creativity and sensibility with which each one of them is incorporating the experiences we are currently going through into their own work. But also above all the creativity and flexibility with which the artists were dealing or would have dealt with the restrictions. We could have experienced amazing, unforgettable productions. Sadly this opportunity has been wasted due to an over-hasty cancellation. The Ruhrtriennale staff has demonstrated great creativity and flexibility in adapting the artists’ concepts through the changing circumstances – for which I would once again like to thank them. I would have wished to see more of this flexibility and imagination from my Board of Directors and partners. With its large spaces, the Ruhrtriennale would have been in a position to guarantee the safety of its audiences and still find notable artistic solutions.

I very much regret that we, the artists and the audiences have not been given this chance and that so much creative work by the artists and staff has been negated.

It appears that the theatres will be allowed to open once again in September. I will attempt to find new venues in North Rhine-Westphalia for some of the Ruhrtriennale’s projects in order to be able to present a few of the productions after all.

I would like to thank all my colleagues at the Ruhrtriennale, the artists and our artistic partners represented in the programme for their trust and for their creative willingness and openness.”

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Metropolis M Magazine for contemporary art No 3 — 2021