Bettina Milz appointed as Coordinator to lead the preparatory phase

Bettina Milz
© Thomas Rabsch

A coordinator has been appointed to lead the preparatory phase of the Pina Bausch Centre in Wuppertal: The dramaturg, curator and lecturer Bettina Milz, who is currently holding the position of Head of Theatre and Dance at the Ministry for Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, was formally introduced at the meeting of the Wuppertal Council Monitoring and Steering Commission for the Pina Bausch Centre on Tuesday, 26 October 2021.

The creation of the Pina Bausch Centre in the listed building of the former Schauspielhaus Wuppertal will see the making of a new, internationally important cultural centre in the very place where the legendary choreographer Pina Bausch created most of her works. A flexible and sustainable new extension will be added to the outstanding existing theatre building by Gerhard Graubner. The centre is made possible by a federal grant of around 40 million euros and by funding from the City of Wuppertal and the State of NRW. The centre will comprise four core activity lines, which were developed by Stefan Hilterhaus of PACT Zollverein on behalf of the funders:

  • the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch,
  • the Pina Bausch Foundation with the Pina Bausch archive,
  • a collaborative international production centre,
  • and a laboratory for participatory formats.

Together with the Pina Bausch Foundation, the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch and financial support from the state and federal government, the City of Wuppertal has initiated a dynamic process that will lead up to the Pina Bausch Centre’s planned opening in 2027 and will be led by Bettina Milz. Entitled the ‘preparatory phase’, it will lay the groundwork for the artistic, structural and organisational formation of the centre, ensure its visibility and create a strong network of partners.

Bettina Milz’s task is now to shape this preliminary phase in collaboration with all the partners and stakeholders, while fleshing out the concept and leading on strategic planning. The position is based at the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. Bettina Milz will be the primary point of contact for all those involved in the preparatory phase, at city, state and federal government level. Her brief is particularly about positioning the centre in the social fabric of the city, while creating connections with regional, national and international partners to highlight the centre’s role as a dynamic place central to the city's transformation process.

Having worked as a dramaturg, curator, author, production manager and lecturer, Bettina Milz gained significant experience in theatre, dance, performance and opera before joining the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia. Her responsibilities always included artistic considerations as well as production management and financial planning. She has been Head of Theatre and Dance at the Ministry since 2009, during which time she strengthened NRW’s unique theatre landscape through new funding programmes, advice, support, new initiatives and institutions. She studied applied theatre at the Justus Liebig University in Gießen, under artists including Andrzej Wirth, Hans-Thies Lehmann, George Tabori, Molly Davies and Heiner Müller. After working in New York and Vienna, she took on dramaturgical work, artistic directorships and management positions in Erlangen, Stuttgart and Frankfurt am Main, among other places. She has worked at municipal and state theatres as well as in the independent scene. She has also taught at universities throughout her career, including courses on dance history and theory of contemporary dance at colleges and universities in Frankfurt am Main, Leipzig, Karlsruhe, Düsseldorf and Berlin.

Bettina Milz says: “The Pina Bausch Centre should be a laboratory for the arts and the city’s transformation process: based on tradition, but a place for new developments in art and society. Dance and movement are at its very core. For the first time in history, a large arts centre will be dedicated to the work of an extraordinary choreographer. Pina Bausch’s oeuvre is an internationally important piece of cultural heritage. For over twelve years, the ensemble has achieved tremendous things, dancing her masterpieces on stages all over the world. They will continue to do so. Bettina Wagner-Bergelt as artistic director of the TTW and Roger Christmann as its managing have driven the development of concepts for the future Pina Bausch Centre since 2019, working closely with Salomon Bausch. With Boris Charmatz as its new director, the Tanztheater will move into the 21st century, where new works will be created while preserving the repertoire and making it accessible. The Pina Bausch Centre will provide a framework for the future: for the ensemble, the archive, international partners and innovative forms of participation. I am very much looking forward to the task of coordinating the strategy and content of this nationally important building project with the team.”

City Chancellor Johannes Slawig, who heads the Pina Bausch Centre project, is delighted with the appointment. “With Bettina Milz, we are gaining an outstanding expert and manager. In her previous roles she has proven adept at combining professional competence with leadership and persuasiveness. The fact that Bettina Milz is giving up her position in the ministry and devoting herself fully to this new task shows the importance of this project for the state and the city, highlighting its appeal for culture and urban development.”