Happy Weekend: “It’s not about integration”, or isn’t it?

Because it is spring, the streets are a bit more bedazzled with color. Be it the bright scoops of Waldmeister ice cream or the gorgeously green chestnut trees that seem to have suddenly appeared, the city is a-blooming. Balls, bikes, and shorts are emerging in kind, which leads quite nicely to this Saturday’s tip. Surprise, it has nothing to do with good eats but with the stage and, well, the connection between immigration and football (or soccer for the Americans among us).


Tonight at Ballhaus Naunynstraße, İmran Ayata und Neco Çelik will present the opening of their newest play, “Liga der Verdammten” (League of the Damned), tackling the dynamic configuration of players and fans in Kreuzberg’s very own “Multi-Kulti” football league, Türkisempor. Originally formed by Berlin’s  marginalized ‘guest workers’ just 35 years ago, its reputation proceeds it, as do the stereotypes. But “[it] is not about integration”, Neco Çelik told die Taz, a daily newspaper, on Thursday. This is the beauty of the play: it is a story about a lifestyle, a community, a sport-culture of roughness and realness in response to societal pressure without intending to play into the trap of ‘ethnic’ theater. One could even say that this piece is about the game of making a life after immigration…or one could say that it is, in fact, JUST about football.

The play premieres tonight, but it runs until 24.05. Each showing begins at 8pm, leaving a few hours between the end of the work day and the stage to kick around a ball, maybe get some green grass on the knees. In springtime, there might be nothing better.

Happy playing or spectating, and of course, happy weekend!

-By Kelly Miller

Türkisempor might be forced to close its doors, cancelling its season and youth programs due to lack of funds. “Berlin without Türkisempor is like Wurstwithout curry” says it’s campaign; this might be one statement not worth testing for validity. For more information on how to get involved in saving one of Kreuzberg’s and Berlin’s great intercultural institutions, visit the campaign site to donate or find out more about the league, its programs in the community, and its plans for the future.

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