“Hey Hana, I found for you a one year Theatre project, abroad, which you can join! ”
“Wow, ok, great! I am in! And where is it?”
“In Germany, Marburg.”
“Ah…Ok, well, so I´ll go to Germany. Why not. ”
My EVS experience started somehow like this. Even if I had heard about this voluntary service before, the reality of this year brought me very different experiences to what I expected and became a very important, unique part of my life. I will try to describe the important facts which everyone should know, who´s thinking about going to Marburg as a volunteer.
Marburg is a really great, beautiful, small city in Mittelhessen region ca. 100 km northern from Frankfurt. My first reaction to this city was: “OMG, I will live in Hogwards now?” I think, this was not so far away from the truth. With its beautiful gothic architecture of the old university building, castle or St. Elizabeth cathedral it seemed like a fairytale. Since the Middleages this city is known as a student city and for example Brothers Grimms studied here and found a lot of material for their stories in this region. The atmosphere of the student city can you especially find in participation of the students in the topics like human rights and politics. You can find anarchic, rainbow or "refugees welcome" flags all around the city. Students activities like reading, protesting, theatre, concerts and parties are creating the most important culture of the city. Even we can call Marburg a small city, we can find a lot of different nations living here together in a very nice family atmosphere, where the volunteers can feel comfortable.
Theater GegenStand (TG) is the receiving organization for EVS volunteers. It´s a half professional theatre group, which works in Marburg for many years. And tries to support everyone who comes to the theatre and wants to create the theatre performance in a technical and organizational way. Members of TG are students or people with another job, who love to do theatre in their free time. In a season year TG has a few stabile projects, which work every year like Kurzdram festival (where new German texts from beginning dramatics are presented), SommerProjekt (the biggest project of TG in the year, it has been presented in site-specific places of the city), some fairytales for kids and some other activities.
The main job of the EVS volunteer is the technical and organization support of these projects. What is actually necessary: make a technical support for evening performances like lights or sound, help with make-up or selling the tickets before the performance, help with building stage design etc. A very important part of the job is also propagation of projects in the city - like hanging posters, flyers etc. But these supportive activities still don´t take the main part of volunteer time. It´s always just a few hours per week. The volunteer still has enough time to join himself in the way he likes, of his own qualities. e.g.: I lead a workshop of the Physical Poetry the first few months. In the second part of my EVS I did a theatre project Three Sisters by A. P. Tschechow with 10 actors of TG. I also joined some another small projects as an actor. But just for comparing: Carmela, a volunteer from Spain, who was here in the same time as me, is not really the “acting type” and she did a lot of great jobs in graphics or making videos or trailers.
Accommodation, Diet, Free time
Volunteers live in a very nice street in the centre of the city - Weidenhausen. TG rents a part of the floor in the house with three rooms which work like seperate one-room-flats with shared bathrooms for the volunteers. TG does not provide any food for volunteers, they simple give them the money from EU, which are donated for this reason. There are many ways how to spend free time in Marburg. As I mentioned before, there are different students activities which you can join, basically cultural activities like museums, galeries, theatres or cinemas, sport activities as well. Marburg is a very beautifull city with great historical monuments and amazing nature around the city so I personally just love to walk around. If you would need a bigger city, Frankfurt is around one hour with the train and allows the activites of a big city, which Marburg cannot offer. But of course the prices for the tickets are a bit higher than in Marburg.
I never really planned to live aboard in a city like Marburg. I´d prefer London, Berlin, Paris etc., but however, I am very grateful for the year I spent right here. It brought me my personal picture about life in Germany, personal culture shocks etc. Also to be in Germany was not priority for my EVS. That was the theatre and Marburg welcomed me and offered me everything what I needed. And I think, this is exactly the main thing. Who would like to spent the year with doing nothing, just time to time help in the theatre, Marburg EVS offers that. If it is someones initiative to engage in society activities like human rights or politics, Marburg offers that too. But if you are looking for a place, which gives you the organized, technical platform for your artistic expression, Marburg and Theater GegenStand is the right place, because it spends time to create the potential of your future qualities.