The actor Gisela Höhne founded the RambaZamba theatre in Berlin in 1991 which, according to the press is ‘the most important inclusive theatre in Germany, where disability can be experienced as a strength’. RambaZamba’s approach is artistic rather than therapeutic. The ensemble consists of 35 people, the pieces deal with contemporary social themes, sometimes refer to classical subject matter and are sometimes partly written by the piece’s director.
The RambaZamba ensemble is regularly invited to prominent theatres and festivals in Germany and abroad. Renowned theatre practitioners and artists take part in productions and happenings because, as the director of the Berlin Volksbühne, Frank Castorf said, “RambaZamba is the only theatre that gets away with no sense of ethical crisis. The tragic is transformed into a joyous message.”
The RambaZamba theatre company has received many awards such as the Academy of Arts Berlin-Brandenburg in 1996, the special prize at the 4th festival of independent political theatre in Stuttgart, the German Children’s Cultural Prize from the state minister for family, senior citizens, women and young people in 1999 as well as the International Cultural Prize from the Berliner Zeitung in 2004. On account of her “services for the participation of disabled people in artistic and social life”, Dr. Gisela Höhne was awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit in 2009. In 2012 Nele Winkler, who has been an actor with RambaZamba since 1996, received the Lessing Academy prize from Claus Peymann. Gisela Höhne was further awarded the Caroline Neuber Prize from the City of Leipzig in 2014.
The RambaZamba theatre has been supported by the Berlin Senate since the year 2000 and is financed through individual project applications and donations. Under the direction of Gisela Höhne, Jacob Höhne and Esther Ningelgen, the theatre currently presents around 80 performances a year.