Migration, Arts and cultural activities

Actors for Human Rights shortlist


Who is behind this?

Michael Ruf

Bühne für Menschenrechte e.V.



Idea Sketch | Proposal


Idea pitch

Our idea is to touch people through testimonies of refugees who never took 'no' as an answer. We convey these human stories through documentary theatre and complement them through Q&As with local activists. We will activate people to engage for a Europe which welcomes refugees. This project is carried out Germany-wide by a unique network of 300 actors and musicians, and Nachtkritik.de called us "the pioneers of refugee theatre". We will take steps to bring our work to Austria, France & Hungary.

Where will your idea take place?

Germany (also Hungary, France, Austria)

Why does Europe need your idea?

The integration of refugees and the struggle against right wing extremism are tremendous challenges Europe faces right now. Many people, although willing to welcome refugees remain passive, as their lifeworld differs heavily from the one of refugees. They don't really hear the human stories behind the headlines. If public opinion is not constantly reminded through personal narratives that people have good reasons to leave their countries, the risk of growing right wing extremism is high.

What is your impact?

Through performing our theatre plays Asylum Monologues and Asylum Dialogues, we will activate to engage in favor of refugees. As many organisations invite us to perform in their cities, we could spread the voices of refugees by accepting those invitations if we had the necessary ressources. We will make first steps to expand our concept (called "impressive success story" by taz, die tageszeitung) by performing in France, Hungary and Austria and organizing network meetings there.

How do you get there?

In order to activate the audience for fighting for a Europe which welcomes refugees, we developed a method that is a combination of (1) performing documentary theatre and (2) Q&As between additional experts and the audience. As we work with a nationwide network of actors and musicians, the local artists do the performances. This enables us to do performances at any place at any time. In 2016/2017 we significantly will increase our network of artists and we make first important steps to bring our concept to a European level by working with artists in three other European countries.
The video "Asyl-Monologe – Behind the Scenes" ((perm.ly/asyl-monologe-behind-the-scenes) and the trailer (perm.ly/asyl-dialoge-trailer) gives a good insight into the approach of Actors for Human Rights Germany.

What is your story?


Who are you doing it for?

As we perform theatre plays which proved to attract a large audience (we had 350 performances in 200 cities in the last five years with Asylum Monologues and Asylum Dialogues), we reach an audience which is open-minded to see a performance but which will not necessarily read a scientific paper or go to a penal discussion about the topic. Usually, asylum or human rights groups, welcome initiatives, cultural centers, universities, schools or churches invite us to play.

What makes your idea stand apart?

The very special dynamics between refugees and actors in our project is expressed in a paper about us in the Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies: "... the refugees' voices together with the actors' voices become intrinsically a collaborative political movement; (...) performance art and politics become intertwined (...). Our work "can best be understood as a form of sustained political movement that differs from the expressions of refugees in hunger strikes, demonstrations, and rallies."

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Advocate Europe

€ 50000,-

Total budget

Major expenses

office expenses 3000 EUR, travel costs 2000 EUR, public relations 5000 EUR, personal costs 40.000 EUR


Bühne für Menschenrechte

Idea created on March 8, 2016
Last edit on Oct. 30, 2017

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