18. Communication is the key

Something, most people sadly don't know: The Kammerspiele has invited Syrians professional actors to be part of the Open Border Ensemble and collaborate with the actors of the main ensemble. They will be part of 2 productions this season - Miunikh-Damaskus / Premiere on 04.05. and What they want to hear /Premiere on 22.06. I was curious and wanted to know more about this initiative. Krystel Khoury, who works at the Kammerspiele as an Artistic Director, was so kind to answer my questions. While working, she communicates in English, so the Interview is in English as well.

What did you study?
I have double majored in Performing arts and in Cultural Anthropology. In my Master, in Performing arts, I focused more on dance. After that, I undertook a Phd In Anthropology of Intercultural dynamics. In parallel, I did many trainings in cultural management.

What exactly is your job here?
(laughs) Officially, I'm the Artistic Director of the Open Border Ensemble, that means, that I coordinate and facilitate the whole project, in terms of vision, ideas and thoughts. And unofficially, I do, like most people here, a lot of things.

What did you do before you started to work here?
I worked in many cities (Beirut, Paris, Brussels, Lyon, Cairo, Alexandria etc), for projects involving cultural programs between european and arab artists. But right before I came here, I was in Greece and volunteered in the refugee camps. I brought support for medical teams and organised educational and artistic projects for the children in the camps. Coming here, wasn't really the plan, I wanted to stay there.

Why did you change your mind?
It wasn't really a change of mind, it was more what was meant to happen. In this project here there are two things united, that I care about: doing art for a purpose, with a message, not just for entertainment and human encounters.

What exactly is the Open Border Ensemble?
It's a project of the Münchner Kammerspiele, part of the theatre vision to open to diversity. Diversity in terms of culture and also narratives. Its purpose is to let us discover things we don't know or re-discover things we thought we knew. The idea is to invite Syrian, professional actors to Germany, to question ourselves, to collaborate together. There are two productions, these actors are a part of, Miunikh Damaskus and What they want to hear. And it is, so far, a great mutual learning process.

What do you think is the hardest part of your job?

I guess to find a kind of harmony between all people, who are involved in the project.

Why is the Open Border Ensemble so important?

Because we think we know everything and if we want to grow, we need to open ourselves to the unknown and request in our beliefs. Also, in the current political situation, where we see radicalism growing, I think more projects like the Open Border Ensemble are necessary to seek balance.

Which part of theatre in general do you like most?
The creative process.

Is there something you would like to accomplish, to work towards in your life?

I'm doing it somehow. I guess, to listen and facilitate more communication and exchange between people who don't necessarily share the same opinion.