Shortly before the end of this year's Ruhrtriennale on 25 September, the team around the new artistic director and theatre director Barbara Frey looks back on the festival with satisfaction. "The desire for an intensive and artistically inspiring experience has come true for us," stated Barbara Frey, artistic director of the Ruhrtriennale 2021–2023, in a preliminary assessment. "We were able to realise – despite the dynamics of the ongoing pandemic – an international festival of the arts with artists from a variety of countries as well as the region. The public's longing for art that can be experienced directly was also reflected in the high demand for tickets and was a great pleasure for us. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to our audience, the artists and the entire team in equal measure for the trust they have placed in us."

Events in the final week of the festival for which tickets are still available include Perera Elsewhere's pop concert on 23 September and the concert "Fumeux Fume" with the Huelgas Ensemble on 24 and 25 September. Anyone who was unable to purchase tickets for the sold-out "Nachtraum" concert on 25 September will have the opportunity to listen to the event on WDR 3 at a later date.

In addition, the following exhibits will be open until the end of the festival – and all of them are an invitation to linger, like the Pappelwaldkantine and the Festival Library in front of the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum: "21 – Erinnerungen ans Erwachsenwerden" (21 – Memories of Growing Up) by the artist Mats Staub shows a century in moving portraits and can be seen in its imposing size in the Turbinenhalle at the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum. Created on different continents, the filmed memories from the beginning of the Second World War to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic have been supplemented by further stories of eleven people from the Ruhr area.

As a contribution to this year's Ruhrtriennale, Urbane Künste Ruhr invites you to the installation "Absorption" in the former Allbauhaus in Essen's city centre until 25 September. The work by US-American Asad Raza convinces with a great sensual power and is based on the cultivation of earth. During the exhibition, a team of "Cultivators" will be on site to filter the earth, break it down into its components, analyse it and remix it under scientific supervision. The new soil will be given to visitors, allotment garden associations and social institutions.


Beyond the venues, free of charge, mostly in the fresh air and around the clock, by tram, bicycle or on foot, alone or together, regional artists invite us to discover the paths between the venues of the Ruhrtriennale in Bochum, Duisburg, Essen and Gelsenkirchen. The only thing you need for the "Wege" project: a smartphone and headphones.

The Ruhrtriennale 2021 creates extended access to art with various digital offers until the end of the festival. One artistic project can still be experienced exclusively digitally: "Aparición", translated as "Appearance", by Regina José Galindo. The performative work by the Guatemalan artist, continued as a commissioned work of the Ruhrtriennale in the Ruhr area, draws attention to the high number of murders of women and domestic violence against women.


The musical theatre "Bählamms Fest", which – in great demand – could be experienced in the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum until 22 August, is available via video-on-demand. Fritz Hauser's concert "Point Line Area" with several dozen percussionists can also be experienced as video-on-demand, as can the image-rich docufictional play "La Luna en el Amazonas" by Mapa Teatro.

Furthermore, seven recordings of Ruhrtriennale events were made in cooperation with the ARD Radio Festival and Kulturradio WDR 3 as part of the WDR 3 cultural partnership: The concerts with the Trio Full Blast around the saxophone legend Peter Brötzmann, "Stil ist Gewalttat" with the Ensemble Modern as well as "Visionary Architects" of the Bochumer Symphoniker can be listened to in the ARD Audiothek and via the festival website at Those who missed the dialogue series “Die Natur des Menschen” (Human Nature) can listen to the astute guests – expertly presented by the writer Lukas Bärfuss – on the podcast "WDR 3 Forum" at

Shortly before the end of the six-week festival, an overall occupancy rate of almost 90 percent is expected. With around 20,000 tickets issued and a further 40,000 users of the digital audio and video services as well as free admission formats at various venues, around 60,000 people attended this year's Ruhrtriennale.

The programme, which was planned with foresight, did not experience any significant coronavirus-related changes since its publication in May and could be carried out in compliance with the pandemic rules. In particular, the graduated package of measures contained in a qualified hygiene concept, developed together with the responsible authorities and the Hochschule für Gesundheit in Bochum, enabled the festival to act flexibly in the face of the pandemic dynamics.

Dr. Vera Battis-Reese, managing director of Kultur Ruhr GmbH, is very satisfied. "We are very pleased that around 60,000 people were able to experience the Ruhrtriennale programme under the new artistic directorship of Barbara Frey. We are extremely grateful to our many partners, our supporters and the entire team for making this outstanding festival possible in a special year."

Barbara Frey and her artistic team interrogated contemporary fault lines, unsettled historical constructions of identity, collective and individual memory, the ghosts and restless dead, and humanity's relationship to nature. The Ruhrtriennale 2021 is the first edition under the directorship of the Swiss theatre director. The annual festival of the arts, domiciled in nine venues in the cities of Bochum, Duisburg, Essen and Gladbeck from 14 August to 25 September 2021, celebrated a programme spanning the intersections of music theatre, concert, drama, dance, performance, installation, literature and dialogue, complemented by digital offerings.

The Ruhrtriennale 2021 comprised 37 productions and projects, including eleven in-house and co-productions. With eight world premieres, five German premieres and four adaptations from the programme of the Ruhrtriennale 2020, the internationally oriented festival invited its audience to a wide variety of artistic experiences in a total of 114 events. More than 600 artists from around 30 countries were involved.

Details of the programme and background information on the content can be found in the magazine at and in the festival catalogue with a photo series by the artist Tobias Zielony commissioned by the Ruhrtriennale.