At this conference, KAMPNAGEL is represented by Gordana Vnuk, ex-Intendantin (Artistic Director) of Kampnagel (2001-2007).

Jarrestrasse 20, 22303 Hamburg, Germany
Contact: — (Note: for the purpose of this conference, Kampangel is represented by its former artistic director, Gordana Vnuk)

performing arts center / theater
public institution (governed by public law), organization established in 1985, as GmbH in 1993 by Hamburger Kulturbehoerde (Hamburg Office for Culture)

Kampnagel is one of the largest centers for performing arts in Europe. This “Kulturfabrik” (culture factory) was established in a former crane factory thirty years ago. Today its 12,000 m2 site contains six stages with capacities of between 100 and 850 seats, a dance centre with studios, a cinema, rehearsal spaces, and a restaurant. Since its inception, Kampnagel’s mandate has been continually expanding. Under the artistic direction of Gordana Vnuk (2001-2007), Kampnagel presented a diverse program of international artists, the summer festival “LAOKOON”, several thematic seasons, Hamburg-based artists and companies, youth theater, platforms for new theater generations, club programs (Kampnagel Music Hall), etc. The concept behind the program, through in-depth and responsible research, intended to facilitate contexts that would show the rationales and purpose of an artistic work as well as its position within theater history and within current developments in performing arts. At that time, Kampnagel expressed its clear positioning against the market system’s established aesthetic norms and in favor of promoting artists who were willing to take risks and who articulated their own language beyond the mainstream.


Decision-making: Kampnagel has an artistic director and an executive director. Every artistic director brings his/her own team of dramaturges who are responsible for specific sections of the program. Programming decisions were made in meetings and consultations between the artistic director and dramaturges, and institutional decisions were made in meetings attended by the artistic, executive, and technicals director.

Organizational openness: Projects by Hamburg-based artists were selected on the basis of an open call: anyone could send in a project proposal, which the dramaturges would read and discuss. A shortlist of some 10-15 projects then received a letter of commitment from Kampnagel, increasing their chances of receiving a project grant from the City Office for Culture. In the end, some 6-8 Kampnagel projects received a grant and were then co-produced by Kampnagel. Often, if the grant application for a desired project was unsuccessful, Kampnagel would produce it from its own resources or find other co-producers.

Venue/s / resources:

Kampnagel Hamburg, once an important production site for harbor cranes, now an international centre of contemporary representative art, is situated near the Alster, directly alongside the Osterbek Canal. The former factory offers a performance space for events and presentations, in which the enduring charm of a Hanseatic industrial firm is combined with the energy and professionalism of a modern cultural firm.

12,000 m2: six different theater halls with capacities of between 100 and 850 seats; there is a variety of additional spaces (dance centre with studios, a cinema, rehearsal spaces, and a restaurant) and a large foyer.


Budget: more than €500,000.

Co-productions: When a theatre group brings in production money through a project grant, Kampnagel (sometimes) matches funding from its own budget, and provides: rehearsal and presentation space, technical staff and equipment, organizational and dramaturgical support, marketing and press, performance fees.

Hosting: When a work could have been justified within Kampnagel’s program concept, we rented the space on the basis of a box-office split. For events unrelated to Kampnagel’s mission, we rented the space at a commercial price, but not to all types of events.


Services: Kampnagel collaborated with the Theatre Academy in Hamburg and provided a platform for student theater directors by regularly co-producing their diploma performances.

International collaboration: International collaboration is part of Kampnagel’s mission and international programs, either in the form of festivals and thematic blocks or in seasonal runs, constituted almost 50% of the program. Kampnagel also engaged in international co-productions and EU-funded projects.

Participation: Apart from regular after-show discussions with artists, workshops and the like, specific programs aimed to achieve interactivity and active audience participation. Artists were invited to develop projects with local people and with various age groups (for example, through Kampnagel youth programs and a Youth Club).

Gathering citizens: An example: an exhibition on the war crimes of the Wehrmacht, accompanied by debates and other activities.

Neighborhood: Some projects dealt with the history of the area where Kampnagel is situated; some site-specific projects also took place.

Municipality: Kampnagel receives its subsidy from the Hamburg Office for Culture (Kulturbehoerde) and the Senator for Culture is the President of Kampangel’s Board.

Advocacy / activism: Kampnagel belonged to “energy-saving“and other ecology-based programs.

In addition: Kampnagel is a place for “otherness”, a platform for diversity in a large pool of similar voices.

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