Dresden Magazine: Why Dresden?
Carena Schlewitt: Because the Festspielhaus Hellerau is one of the most important production venues in Germany for the independent, international scene in the contemporary arts: dance, theatre, performance, music. I think my origin also plays a role, having grown up in East Germany. What is the situation in Eastern Europe today, especially in such a historic city as Dresden? And where does Dresden stand in relationship to Europe and the rest of the world?
Dresden Magazine: Which of your projects during your first season are you looking forward to the most?
Carena Schlewitt: I am looking forward to the many new beginnings, to collaborating with artists from all over the world, with the independent arts scene in Germany and Dresden, with the arts faculties at institutes of higher learning, with the great museums and with other partners whom I have yet to meet. And I look forward to getting to know the Dresdeners as an audience!
Dresden Magazine: What makes the Festspielhaus Hellerau such a stimulating venue?
Carena Schlewitt: The Festspielhaus has a varied history. It was built in the early 20th century and was originally conceived as a venue for the performing arts with an additional educational remit. In the Third Reich, it was used as a police barracks, and after 1945, as a sports and gymnastics hall by the Soviet Army. With the demise of the German Democratic Republic, many people were determined to restore it as a venue for the arts. I am interested in the locations and spaces in which art takes place. And I am interested in Dresden as a ‘shape-shifting hologram’, which is how the author Peter Richter described it in his monologue on the city. History and the present come together here in a juxtaposed way that poses questions about the future of urban community.
Dresden Magazine: What do you feel is missing in Dresden?
Carena Schlewitt: A museum of contemporary fine art, which would be a counterpart to the splendid Dresden State Art Collections, to the German Hygiene Museum with its thought-provoking exhibitions and to the Military History Museum which was redesigned by Daniel Libeskind.
Dresden Magazine: What are the must-see sights of Dresden?
Carena Schlewitt: Perhaps a visitor should try seeing the city from the many different perspectives afforded by its bridges.
Dresden Magazine: Dresden needs the Festspielhaus Hellerau because …
Carena Schlewitt: .. it is a unique place where visitors can experience art forms the like of which they cannot find anywhere else. What makes such arts venues special is the immediacy of the experience and of the exchange of ideas. This is where people come together.