The origins of Dramarasmus lie in Valencia. Matthias Hauk returned to Marburg in 2010 with an idea which was conceived after having spent an Erasmus year in Valencia, experimenting with theatre and founding the initial Escena Erasmus project in 2009. With this idea in mind, he knew he wanted the home and international students at the University of Marburg to have equal theatrical opportunities to those he had experienced with the theatre group in Valencia. His vision was a cultural exchange using theatre to transcend any feelings of foreignness and in turn to develop invaluable thoughts and feelings in both the foreign and native languages and to create an awareness for a common identity.
One year later in August 2011, Matthias Hauk together with Ilka Pankow and Erik Burtchen, established the theatre programme, Dramarasmus. Right from the very beginning, Dramarasmus worked very closely with the partner project in Valencia. In weekly workshops, the group leaders discussed the basics of theatre and put the wheels in motion to form a strong and cohesive drama collective. They were aware not only of the future productions they would have to create together, but also the most important feeling of community. The idea of a transnational theatre network was, at this point in time, the main long-time goal. For this reason, Matthias Hauk was regularly travelling back and forth from Marburg to Valencia whilst also networking with colleagues from Escena Erasmus at the yearly meeting of winners of the “Karls Youth Prize” in Aachen.
Student ventures are normally very dependent on the academic workload of their participants. Dramarasmus has continued to thrive even after its founding members have long since left Marburg. This can be traced back to the early years of the project and the continued, passionate commitment from the actors, especially Romy Semler, Annika Prätsch and Corinna Schwarz who took over the teaching of the programme during the academic years 2013 and 2014. Alongside the theatre workshops in 2014, the project took another step towards becoming professional status and officially became a registered society (Dramarasmus e.V). Additionally, the group performed their first devised show, “The Godly Oracle”, at the arts venue, Waggonhalle Marburg, and took part in the University of Marburg Summer Festival 2014.
Although the project in Marburg was growing in terms of its professional endeavours, one of the Dramarasmus actors was committed to strengthening the relationship between Valencia and Marburg even more. Jonathan David returned to Marburg after a year of prosperous theatrical opportunities with Escena Erasmus and took over leadership of the group with Corinna Schwarz. In addition to Schnitzler, Chekhov, Molière and Büchner, now came the absurd theatre of Eugène Ionescu; a type of drama the international ensemble could sink their teeth into.
Off stage, there was much momentum concerning the administration of the project. Since the summer of 2015, Dramarasmus e.V. has offered theatre management internships. These placements see the interns contributing to the organisation of the society. Magnus Reß was the first of these interns to complete a three-month placement from September 2015. In autumn of the same year the first Dramarasmus Summer Camp took place. The camp focussed on artistic and pedagogical issues and above all to develop an improved structure for the society. Romy Semler and Annika Prätsch took over the teaching of the group once again in the summer of 2015. In 2016, however, is when the real breakthrough for Dramarasmus happened. In cooperation with the Hessischen Landestheater Marburg [Hessen Regional Theatre of Marburg], Dramarasmus launched the first official theatre course which was included in the University of Marburg prospectus. On the “Intercultural Theatre Workshop” course, home and international students alike are taught by skilled theatre trainers. Under the direction of Romy Semler and Annika Prätsch, the actors had the opportunity to work together in order to choreograph and perform an original piece of theatre. This was a very exciting time, as in September 2016 the Erasmus Scene Network received recognition from the European Commission.
In June 2017, Dramarasmus is able to look back at the past six years of theatre workshops, the nine productions with more than one hundred and twenty participants from more than twenty different countries. And the next generation of Dramarasmus is already standing by; with Inga Dreger, Sara Berger, Luisa Frobel and Amy Fitzgibbon. The team is raring to go and is ready to start working with the home and international partners once again to establish a transnational, European drama collective made up of responsible citizens.