Berlin’s Gorki Theater Commemorates Genocide Centenary

BERLIN, Germany—On March 7, the Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin launched an artistic program titled “It Snows In April” dedicated to the 100th year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Consisting of plays, a film series, concerts, lectures, and screenings, it will run until April 25.

The “Musa Dagh” documentary theater (photo: Esra Rotthoff)
The “Musa Dagh” documentary theater (photo: Esra Rotthoff –

The opening premiere featured the “Musa Dagh” documentary theater, an adaptation of Franz Werfel’s novel, The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. The night kicked off with a keynote speech by Yerevan-based journalist Harout Ekmanian and was attended by politicians and government representatives, including Chief for Cultural Affairs at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andreas Görgen; former State Secretary for Cultural Affairs of Berlin Andre Schmitz; Alliance ’90/Green Party chairman Cem Özdemir; German Bundestag member and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Markus Meckel; and member of the German Bundestag from the Left Party Azize Tank.

The saved fragments of Armenian Genocide survivor Aurora Mardiganian’s film “Ravished Armenia” was screened by filmmaker Fred Kelemen as the opening of the film series “Anrufung” (invocation) on March 7.

Actress Arsinée Khanjian from Toronto is developing a reading for the main stage, while film director Atom Egoyan will have seven models recite the text of “Ravished Armenia” in his video installation in front of the Gorki Theater. The seven models refer to the seven substitutes that replaced Aurora Mardigian after a nervous breakdown prevented her from embarking on the promotional tour for “Ravished Armenia.” At the center of “It snows in April” are two performances on the main stage—Franz Werfel’s “Musa Dagh,” a documentary theatre project by Hans-Werner Kroesinger, and the music theatre piece “Komitas” by Marc Sinan, as well as the series of films curated by Fred Kelemen.

A five-day storytelling celebration will take place over Easter. Diverse voices from around the world will gather and unite the stories of the Armenian Diaspora.

To view the full program, visit

In 2014, German theatre critics named the Maxim Gorki Theater as “Theatre of the Year.” Productions staged by the Gorki Theater during the last theater season were selected as among the 10 most remarkable shows in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

The artistic director of the Maxim Gorki Theater, Shermin Langhoff, is one of the best-known artists of Europe. She was born in Bursa, Turkey, and immigrated with her family to Germany. Recently, she was awarded the “BZ Kulturpreis” by the biggest Berlin tabloid newspaper for her work at the Gorki Theater. Langhoff has transformed the Gorki Theater, making it an artistic landmark in Berlin; she achieved a milestone when she successfully converted an off-theater called “Naunynstrasse” to a state theater. Langhoff envisages her work as political theater.


Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

1 Comment

  1. You forgot to mention, that the premier evening was also the opening of the exhibition in the foyer’s main house A toast to Mnemosyne!
    An exhibition curated by Silvina Der-Meguerditchian

    The central piece in the exhibition is the eponymous installation Auf Mnemosynes wohl!( A toast to Mnemosyne!) in the foyer of the Gorki. A mnemothek that gathers together differentmaterials: videos, books, photographs and sculptures by Archi Galentz (Moscow/Berlin), Gariné Torossian (Canada), Achot Achot (Yerevan/ Paris), Jean Marie Casbarian (USA), Karine Matsakian (Yerevan), Maria Bedoian (Buenos Aires), Mikayel Ohanjanian (Yerevan/Florence) and Silvina Der-Meguerditchian (Buenos Aires/Berlin). In cooperation with the Houshamadyan association, Silvina Der-Meguerditchian developed the Armenische Musikbox (Armenian Jukebox) with a collection of old Armenian songs. This collection of music and the concluding installation Objects that tell stories try to reconstruct everyday life and artistically fill the gaps in Armenian collective memory through art.

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