Strengthening linguistic resilience and thus contributing to the preservation and vitalisation of the endangered languages and culture of the targeted minorities is the main concern of phōnē. The RML theatre in particular must find solutions to introduce the next generation of the RML community not only to theatre but also to language. We know from the European Charter for RML that a language can only survive if it can be successfully transferred to the next generation. This also applies to the future viability of RML theatres. Therefore, it is of great importance that RML theatre is attractive to young people (next generation). Young people, whose language roots are not yet firmly established, are therefore the main target group of all artistic efforts.

Tradition in Modernity

RML theatre must initiate a change, it must find innovative solutions to preserve the language (culture) and to safeguard it for future generations. Therefore, the phōnē leitmotif is: Tradition in Modernity.

Tradition describes the initial situation all partners, who are often praised by their audiences for keeping the stories of “the past” alive. But the leitmotif is above all meant to describe the path that the theatres will take with their artists and their audience to fight against isolation and for vitalisation – bridging the future for their culture.

The integrative power of art should bring the language groups together, especially across generations. And if young people are to be addressed, digital issues must also be addressed. That is why the two contrary poles of tradition and modernity are also to be understood as intergenerational challenges. Modernity describes not only the format (digital products), but also that the audience become creative co-creators, that they are actively involved.

Theatre as an Expression of the Community

To attract younger audiences, to intensify the connection with the existing audience and to position itself strongly in relation to the majority society, the community work is headed: With, for and about the communities.

Since it is mostly the older people who speak the languages that phōnē wants to preserve, they need to be involved in joint creative processes with the younger ones. Therefore, our work will be intergenerational. In order to attract young (new) audiences to theatre, the offer must have something to do with the reality of their lives and also correspond to their new (digital) communication habits. Therefore, theatre must involve the young audience as co-creators of the creative processes. The new plays created will be based on research in the RML communities. The access barriers must be lowered by letting the audience itself participate in artistic products – digital as well as real.

The aim is an exchange between the generations that creates a win-win situation, because both sides have something to give and gain in equal measure. The linguistic minority society presents itself with its contemporary topics and in modern formats accessible also to the majority society.

Theme "Nature and Humans"

Language and Nature
Language is a mirror of the environment in which cultures develop. Language is associated with the accumulated knowledge of the people, which provides valuable information about the respective natural spaces and the coexistence of humans and nature. The term “biocultural diversity” has emerged in transdisciplinary research in recent years. This is used to explore the connections between linguistic, cultural and biological diversity as an expression of the diversity of life. The origin of this thinking lies in observations that all three diversities are threatened by many of the same forces. And there are also surprising similarities in the reverse: where there is a particularly high biological diversity on Earth, there is also the greatest diversity of different languages.
Consequently, the theme of Nature and Humans will be implemented on all levels of artistic production. In this way, the important topic of environmental challenges is approached in terms of inspiration and innovation in a creative process.

phōnē’s intergenerational Community Theatre strand will especially encourage participants to question their relationship as human beings to nature in the past (Tradition) as well as in the future (Modernity), directly linking to the project leitmotif. If the theory of “biocultural diversity” is consistently taken further, the struggle for linguistic diversity can also be understood as a community effort to preserve nature. The combination of elders and younger people participating in the community co-creations will lead to a new approach.

The last aspect concerns the environmental challenges business ecology/economic ecology. As the arts and culture sector leaves an ecological footprint, we focus here on the resource consumption of artistic productions and ecological handling within phōnē. It is important for us not to think only of Nature and Humans on the inspirational / creative level, but we also want the theatres to take responsibility for the sustainability of their production processes.