Chris Dercon resigns as director of Volksbühne after tumultuous tenure

 

 

Just six months after his controversial beginning as director of Berlin’s Volksbühne, Chris Dercon has resigned. The announcement comes after a period of intense scrutiny and hostility for the Belgian-born director, who weathered petitions and personal assaults after his appointment to the position in 2015. Ekkehard Knörer, editor-in-chief and co-publisher of the cultural journal, “Merkur,” joins us to tackle the question: did he ever really stand a chance?

“It was an uphill battle, no doubt, but he could have surprised everybody,” says Knörer. “He could have made an astonishing program…and this very certainly did not happen.”

Knörer, who saw Dercon’s opening season at the theater, says he found the program “intriguing” and “aesthetically interesting.” Still, Knörer says, it’s possible Dercon, who formerly headed the Tate Modern in London, may not have known how to handle “this kind of theater in Germany.” Some reports from German news outlets suggest that he left the Volksbühne in a dire financial situation, and Knörer says Berlin’s Culture Senator Klaus Lederer, one of Dercon’s critics, perhaps strategically, “did not move his little finger to help him.”

Photo by Monika Mueller-Kroll