km. At the beginning of September1, the German “Nachdenkseiten” drew attention to a peace project involving theatre groups from a German and a Russian school. As stated on the website: “The meeting and getting to know each other’s culture in the sense of international understanding were the focus.”2It continues: “We look with concern at the increasingly deteriorating political relations between Germany and Russia. This initiated the idea to set a counterpoint coming from civil society. Our initiative follows three premises: Peace is promoted through interpersonal experiences; intercultural encounters between young people are the best way for a peaceful future; communication can succeed in a universal language – music. With this in mind, together with our Russian partners we will launch a musical-artistic project. The musical encounter of young people is an excellent investment in peace between both peoples. The exchange sees itself as a pilot project at school level. The goal is to intensify our friendship with German and Russian musicians in various formats.”The project partner in Tver, Russia, is the youth theatre ensemble “Premier”, founded in 1992 in the local grammar school no 12. Since then there have been several theatre productions every year with various children’s and youth ensembles. The director of the ensemble, Andrew Koryakov, is the author and composer of the production. The repertoire covers a wide spectrum ranging from drama and comedy to musicals. In 2012 the theatre was awarded the title “Volkstheater”. The theatre ensemble received many awards and participated in national and international theatre festivals. The German project partner is the Musical Company LMG, a youth musical ensemble of the Lise-Meitner-Gymnasium (LMG), which is in Grenzach-Wyhlen, southern Baden. The ensemble has existed since 2004 and looks back on numerous performances. The ensemble received a Lotto Music Theatre Prize in 2016.One and a half years ago, the German theatre group presented this project idea in the Internet forum of the Foundation of German-Russian Youth Exchange, whereupon the youth theatre group “Premier” from Tver promptly registered. Both groups quickly agreed on the basic concept: The theatre groups visit each other in Russia and Germany and work out a joint concert programme based on their respective musical repertoire. They will exchange their songs and choreographies over the Internet and prepare the “foreign” pieces at home. During the meetings in Russia and Germany, the concert programme will be practiced and polished together.From 30 August to 10 September 2019, the musical theatre group from Germany visited its Russian exchange partners in Tver. The German youths lived with Russian families. The concerts “Music for Peace” – “Музыка ради Mира” took place on 4 September in the Panorama Concert Hall in Tver and on 9 September in the Great Hall of the Gnessin Music Institute in Moscow. The return visit of the Russian ensemble “Premier” to Germany will take place from 23 October to 2 November. Concerts are planned in Lörrach, Freiburg, Stuttgart and in the Europapark in Rust. A total of around 80 young people aged 15 to 25 and 10 adults from Germany and Russia are involved.The peace project in Russia is supported by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the German Embassy, the German School Moscow and the Rotary Club Moscow “Humboldt”. The responsible promoter in Russia is the non-profit organisation “Interkrug” from Tver. In Germany, the project is supported by the Evangelical Church in Baden, the Rotary Club Müllheim-Badenweiler, the Cultural Policy Speaker of the Greens in the State Parliament of Baden-Württemberg, the savings banks Sparkasse Lörrach-Rheinfelden and Sparkasse Markgräflerland, the Foundation for German-Russian Youth Exchange, the city of Lörrach and the municipality of Grenzach-Wyhlen. The project is organised in Germany by the Verein zur Förderung von Musik-Theater am LMG (association for the promotion of music theatre at the LMG).What this project means for the German pupils is shown by two statements on the project’s website: “Peace is something elementary. Something that gives us a sense of security and inner strength. I am therefore very grateful for such a project because it enables me to do something good. We’ll achieve something if we stand up for it ourselves.” (Yorick, 18 years old) And: “In many years we will remember this unique time with our friends. International friendships will accompany us throughout our lives, removing prejudices and realising that all people are more alike than we ever thought. (Laura, 14 years old)
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