werkgruppe2 have been working as an independent theatre collective in Lower Saxony for ten years. Since 2009, wekgruppe2 have attempted in the form of documentary projects to describe reality from the perspective of minority, invisible and excluded groups in society. Drawn from rigorous journalistic research, dense atmospheric and narrative stagings are created in which the boundaries between actor, musician, musical theatre, documentary and fiction are blurred. The starting point for the body of texts are narrative interviews which often sum up a clear, unfiltered perspective on a theme. From these testaments, werkgruppe2 compose an interwoven text which is interpreted on stage by a professional acting ensemble with a clear artistic vision and strong grasp of the issues. In each production, music is a live element and evolves from new compositions which are often drawn from diverse, unusual sound sources. Music is of equal weighting in terms of commenting and responding to the theme at hand. In this way, werkgruppe2 questions the sense of documentation, how reality is presented and how people can be spoken for and represented in their absence.
werkgruppe2 searches for themes as ‘stage reports’ which has led to recent projects such as GYPSIES, THE GEORGIENS or OPEN HEAVEN.
werkgruppe2 is made up of director, Julia Roesler, musician and composer, Insa Rudolph and the dramaturg, Silke Merzhäuser. Beyond this core team, each production engages freelance artists who enrich the ensemble.
Alongside their own productions, werkgruppe2 has realised co-productions together with the German theatre in Göttingen and the state theatre in Oldenburg. From 2013-15, the group was a partner with the state theatre of Brunswick under the support of the German Federal Cultural Foundation’s ‘Double Pass’ funding scheme.
In 2014, werkgruppe2 realised the international project STRAWBERRY ORPHANS together with the National Theatre of Craiova, Romania and the Brunswick state theatre. This was in the context of ‘The Art of Aging’, an initiative from the European Theatre Convention, funded by the EU Cultural programme. In the framework of the Douple Pass funding scheme, werkgruppe2 together withe the Brunswick state theatre initiated a ‘dialogue about structures’, developed and led by Achim Müller, director of the centre for Audience Development at the Freie Universität Berlin, in order to find out how independent theatre groups and state theatres can work together at the same level, how conditions need to be adapted and where lines of conflict exist. werkgruppe2 will continue their engagement for this cultural political debate in the future. werkgruppe2 were invited to the first research theatre festival at the German Theatre in Berlin, in order to present and exchange their way of working and begin to define common approaches together with other groups active in this field.
Insa Rudolph - Musician and Composer
studied jazz singing at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Since her diploma, she has worked as a freelance singer and composer. The main focus of her creative work is composing songs inspired by unusual sources of sound in which the foreign and familiar fuse together to form an alternative total sound. She also works as a composer for documentary film music, recently for ‘National Bird’. She is a founding member of the independent theatre company, werkgruppe2, for which she composes, is musical director and stage musician.
Julia Roesler - Director
studied cultural studies and aesthetic praxis in Hildesheim and was a visiting student in Freiburg and Argentina. Since her diploma, she has worked as a freelance theatre director and theatre educator. She regularly works as a visiting lecturer at the HBK Brunswick. She is co-founder of the independent theatre company, werkgruppe2 and directs all of their productions.
Silke Merzhäuser - Dramaturg
studied political science, literature and social psychology at Hannover University. From 2000, she worked initially as a dramaturg assistant at Hannover Theatre and Theatre Basel and then as dramaturg at Lucerne Theatre. Between 2007 and 2009, she was dramaturg at the German Theatre in Göttingen; here she was mainly responsible for interdisciplinary performances and theatre projects, such as ‘Friedland’ with werkgruppe2. Since 2009, she has been dramaturg for all werkgruppe2 projects.
Isabel Robson - Video
studied stage design at Central Saint Martins in London and video post-production at the École nationale superiéure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Since 2001 she has been a freelance scenographer with a focus on video design for the stage. After working at Theater Basel (Switzerland) and at the Nationaltheater London, she was at various German theaters (Deutsches Theater Berlin, Schaubühne, Maxim Gorki Theater). With Vincent Boussard and his team, she has made operas, including Candide (2011), Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (2014) at the Berlin State Opera and Otello (2016/7) at the Salzburg Easter Festival and the Semperoper, Dresden. In cooperation with Susanne Vincenz, her film installation of Kafka fragments by György Kurtág in the Jewish Museum, Berlin (2013) was shown again at a Kurtág festival in the Dortmund concert hall in 2020. With werkgruppe2 she developed BLANKENBURG (2014), TRANSIT (2019) and ARBEITERINNIN (2019/20) and took over the camera and editing especially for the short film MARINA (2018). Lectureships at the HZT / HfS Ernst Busch, Berlin.