[[HISTORY///GESCHICHTE Deutsche Version in Kürze verfügbar]]
Aurora Nova was set up by dancer and theatre maker Wolfgang Hoffmann. Born in 1967 in East Germany, Wolfgang moved to the town of Potsdam just outside Berlin straight after finishing an apprenticeship as a toolmaker and serving his 18 months compulsory military service. He quickly discovered his love of dance and became actively involved in the alternative arts scene in Potsdam.
POTSDAM / FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL
Shortly afterwards came the fall of the Berlin Wall and everything changed. Travel restrictions disappeared overnight and Wolfgang was suddenly free to explore the famously liberal and flamboyant alternative arts scene across the river in West Berlin. The 22-year old entrepreneur paid for his first dance classes in the West by selling pieces of the still guarded Berlin Wall to eager tourists (pic. right). Not long afterwards he was able to earn his living by teaching what he had just learned in his dance classes to fellow dance enthusiasts back in Potsdam. Inspired by the alternatively run arts spaces he visited in Berlin, he and his friend and fellow dancer Sven Till drew up plans to set up their own experimental theatre, dance and music centre in Potsdam.
fabrik Potsdam opened in October 1990, less than a year after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and rapidly became one of the most innovative dance venues in the newly reunited Germany. Wolfgang combined his artistic work of creating shows with fabrik and various international collaborators with the business of managing the company’s international tours and running the theatre’s popular annual dance festival - Potsdamer Tanztage.
EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE
Wolfgang first went to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1999 as a performer with fabrik in Hopeless Games. Co-produced with Russian company Do Theatre, the show became a massive success despite an unpromising start. Dismayed by the extremely difficult technical and economic conditions that artists faced at the festival, Wolfgang was equally fascinated by the vibrancy of the festival and the fact that every show needs to find its paying audience to survive – a refreshing change to the sometimes overly subsidized German arts scene.
The idea for a new venue was born when he realized he could offer artists an alternative model: An artist-led space, where only dance and physical theatre shows of the highest quality would be presented. He proposed the idea to Tim Hawkins and David Lavender of Brighton-based venue Komedia and together they developed a co-operative presentation model which lowered the financial risk to the participating companies and promoted a spirit of mutual support amongst the artists. St. Stephens church (pic. left), a landmark building in the Newtown area of Edinburgh, became home to the first Aurora Nova.