European Diversity Shown on the Stage

On Wednesday 9th October, Citizens of Europe collaborated with Compagnie à Bulles and participated in a day of events in Berlin where Europe, democracy and the European elections 2014 were the central topics.

The day started off with a parade at Unter den Linden, which symbolised the ideas of voting and democracy. Ten volunteers went out to talk with people on the street about their ideas of Europe, asking them to write a word or short sentence about their feelings or perceptions. Many different views were given, everything from “Too much bureaucracy” to “Europe is like a salad, you have to mix everything together”. These views were also used as inspiration for the post-show discussion.

The play, which took place later in the evening in the Representation of the European Commission in Germany, underlined the diversity evident in Europe today. The story was about how seven European citizens move freely, meet and share their stories. They do not speak the same language. Nevertheless, they decide to work together and create a comity in order to put forward a new European initiative.

By having the actors talking in different languages (Greek, Spanish, French, Flemish, German, English) it gave the viewer a sense of Europe as a melting pot of diversity. The protaganists were characterised in such a way that the audience could identify with them and presented situations which have become familar to many in these times of globalisation and more open borders. For example, the young British girl who loved the opportunities that an Erasmus exchange could give; or the Turkish-Belgian guy who had problems defining his identity.

In the following panel discussion, Citizens of Europe was represented by the former chairperson Frank Burgdörfer who shared the stage with Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Linn Selle and Céline-Agathe Caro. The questions discussed were related to the play but also included other hot topics, for example, how Europe is coping in these times of financial crisis, youth unemployment and other challenges.

The ‚Assembly of Citizens’ continues its European tour with performances in London, 18th-19th October. If you’re in the area, take a look at their Facebook page for further details.