An old theatre turned into a community-run centre promoting cultural and political activism.

Rote Flora

date since 1982

The Rote Flora was built in 1888, and was one of the rare theatres to survive the Second World War without major damages. After the war, and until 1989, it was successively used as a storing facility, a cinema, a department store, and was meant to be turned into a musical theatre.

This last idea triggered the residents’ fear that such a transformation would cause a gentrification process and the soaring of commercial and residential rent in the neighbourhood: after a few successful protests the building finally remained empty. The city then offered it to be temporally turned into a district centre (although soon declared it squatted once the six weeks’ lease was over), and the building became an autonomous cultural and political meeting place.

Since then, the building has been the cause of a political combat between the proponents of its privatisation to commercial and/or residential purposes and the citizens’ will to keep it as a free, diverse, creative, but most of all, open space.

A lot of diverse activities happen in the Rote Flora : it provides a roof for alternative concerts, various taught courses, exhibitions as well as a place of entertainment and sport with its outside space, climbing wall and skate park. It is also famous for being the refuge of political activists who support altermondialist thoughts, lead movements against nationalism and racism in Germany, and battle against the privatisation of public spaces.
It is also well known for representing the resistance against gentrification by resisting to commercialization in a more and more gentrified part of the town.

Image © dpa (pending permission)