Sabeth Dannenberg GAIA

"Gaia" ©Erich Star

Sabeth Dannenberg GAIA

"Gaia" ©Erich Star

Our questionnaire

Urban discovery with: Sabeth Dannenberg

"My body is my material"

Sabeth Dannenberg is a performer. In her pieces she combines the genres of New Circus and Physical Theatre. She tells us about the charm of the people in the region and how this affects her artistic practice.


Sabeth Dannenberg



Birthplace / Place of residence:

Essen / Bochum-Münster


Artist, physical theatre performer/actress, choreographer, artistic director


How would you describe yourself and your work to an alien?

I would not use words, but my body expression. My body is my material and I would try to convey that. I would probably take my Chinese Pole with me and let the alien hold one of the lashing straps while I climb up and try to embody my art through movements. That is the most effective means: inviting people into a performance, then what is otherwise difficult to explain with language can be experienced. My way of telling stories or asking questions.

What is your drive to create art?

My plays arise from a personal theme that occupies me very much and with which I then always combine a political dimension in the artistic debate. As an artist of the New Circus and Physical Theatre, my art form is analogue and lives from the live moment. That is a great concern of mine: To touch people, to create a shared space of experience and a moment of encounter, to put something positive and unifying into the world. For me, artistic processes are also democracy in action: a team of exciting individuals and multi-talents work together to create something that has never existed before. In the best case, this happens in a highly peaceful and tolerant way. The moment when you can grasp the atmosphere and mood of the new piece for the first time is insane!

What do you love most in the Ruhr region in general?

The people. The diversity. That so many different scenes exist here, and that people simply have ideas here and then implement them with courage. And the everyday encounters. That you can sit on the train, someone tells you half their life story and then gets off again, and you never see that person again. That kind of thing. That is simply inspiring.

Three places in the Ruhr region that you definitely show visitors:

The view from the Hoheward slag heap, the training in the Open Space Bochum, the many exciting places with a special flair such as the Flottmannhallen Herne, Zeche Zollverein and and and... The people again!

What makes the arts and culture scene here so special?

I have the feeling that there is simply free space in a way. Not at all in terms of physical space, there is a brutal shortage of rehearsal spaces and performance venues. But there are many creative little niches that create an incredible amount of art and culture as their own cosmos, that are authentic and work with a lot of heart and soul for an artistic vision, get involved in the neighbourhood and so on.

In which places can you feel the metropolis of the arts here?

Spontaneously, I would say in people's heads and in the interactions. For example, in discussions about visions for the future of the region with the New Circus Ruhr Alliance, which I co-founded with other important local players (including the Ruhr Festival and the Flottmannhallen). In Open Space during training with the most diverse movement artists, when people teach each other a move and then talk shop about the best training. Always where the disciplines overlap: At a mini-concert, where I can lie down in the musical atmosphere of a well-rehearsed trio of musicians and improvise on the Chinese Pole. Strolling through Bochum during the Bo Biennale Festival!

Where/when did you have your best cultural experience?

One of the most beautiful experiences here was during one of my performances in the Flottmannhallen when a woman in the audience thanked me for the play in an interactive moment at the end of the play before the applause. That was very touching!

Where do you like to go out to eat & drink?

My favourite place to go is Auntie Yurgan's. They have delicious coffee, a great atmosphere, the best cheesecake and time and space to read for hours or make plans. For events I can definitely recommend the "Wohnküche", a super tasty and friendly food truck from Bochum. The "Gründer" from Fiege is my absolute favourite beer!

The best parties are at the events called ...

... "Garten Freede", a colourful happening originating from the band "Die Freedes". A mix of good concerts, jam sessions and delicious food from the "Wohnküche". It's like dancing in your own living room, sitting around the campfire, making music. And all this with super great and talented people.

If the Ruhr area was a song, this is how it would sound:

"A colourful bag please / is much greener than I thought / partly grey / but really charming".

What's your next project?

Next I will be performing my new solo "GAIA-Sane again?" at the Flottmannhallen. It is a co-production with the Ruhrfestspiele, the Flottmannhallen and the Theater im Pumpenhaus Münster and a utopian response to a pessimistic world situation. This will be followed next year by a new production on the theme of "shame". It will be a play that touches on the familiar feeling of "shame" and its social significance.