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What if Women Ruled the World?
Yael Bartana

Drama, Visual arts

The end of the world is drawing near, it's two minutes before midnight. In the cabinet of a country with a pacifist constitution and a state disarmament programme, the president and her ministers face a dilemma. Another country is breaking a joint international agreement by announcing an increase in its nuclear stockpiles. Will they abandon their one-sided disarmament or continue with their original programme?

Inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s satire Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb(1964), Yael Bartana brings actresses together with different, internationally renowned experts for every performance. Intertwining fiction and serious political experiment, together they attempt to solve pressing global problems and keep the Doomsday Clock from reaching midnight. The piece is partly scripted, partly improvised.

In her films, installations, photographs and theatre projects, Yael Bartana, born in Afula, Israel in 1970 and now based in Berlin, explores the imagery of identity and the politics of memory. She garnered renown for her film trilogy And Europe Will Be Stunned, which represented Poland at the Venice Biennale in 2011.

Production: Volksbühne Berlin, Manchester International Festival, Aarhus, Kulturhauptstadt Europas 2017

No entry after the play starts.

President: Olwen Fouéré
Vice President: Anat Saragusti
Peace Secretary: Noa Bodner
Army Chief of Staff: Alix Wilton Regan
State Secretary: Anne Tismer

Experts (06.06.): Naila Bozo, Christina von Braun, Ulrike von Pilar, Irena Sabic, Mai Zeidani
Experts (07.06.): Antke Engel, Reem Fadda, Bana Gora, Xanthe Hall, Illa Ben-Porat

Concept, director: Yael Bartana
Text: Yael Bartana, Alex Barrett
Stage design: Saygel & Schreiber
Costumes: Nadja Eller, Chloe Lamford
Lighting: Felix Plüddemann
Camera: Uri Ackermann
Sound: Daniel Meir
Curator: Elodie Evers
Dramaturgical assistance: Alan Twitchell
Artistic producer: Chris Barrett

Naila Jajan Bozo
She is the editor of the Alliance for Kurdish Rights (, an independent digital initiative whose mission is to mobilize public opinion, collect information, and disseminate knowledge about human rights abuses against the Kurdish people. She is also a doctor of medicine at Odense University Hospital in Denmark.

Christina von Braun
She is a writer, filmmaker, and professor. She was promoted to full professor in 1994 at the Humboldt University’s Institute for Cultural History and Theory. For many years, she was director of the Department of Gender Studies, created in 1996, and is now co-director of The Center for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg, established in 2012. Beyond gender, her research fields comprise media theory, religious history, and the history of anti-Semitism.

Ulrike von Pilar
She is the founding president of Doctors Without Borders in Germany. For nearly thirty years, she has worked in the field of international humanitarian action. From 1997 to 2005 she served as the executive director of Doctors Without Borders in Germany. After coordinating the La Mancha reflection process, which dealt with the challenges facing Doctors Without Borders globally, she served as a country coordinator in Malawi for two years, where she worked on an HIV / AIDS project.

Irena Sabic
She is an established public legal practitioner with particular expertise in immigration and asylum, community care, and housing and planning law. She has focussed on representing vulnerable children and adults that have been subject to immigration policing and is regularly assigned cases in which she represents unaccompanied, asylum-seeking children and victims of human trafficking.

Mai Zeidani
She is a social scientist and activist based in Berlin. Her work explores postcolonial migration societies in Europe and the processes of identity-making in Palestine and Israel. She is a project officer with Insaan e.V., the co-host of’s radio show, Talking Feminisms and an activist with the “Caravan of Migrants and Refugees”.

Antke Engel
She is the director of the Institute for Queer Theory in Berlin; a site where academic debate meets up with political activism and artistic practices ( She received her PhD in Philosophy at Potsdam University and works as an independent scholar and guest professor. She has published numerous essays and monographs.

Reem Fadda
She is a curator and art historian. From 2010 to 2016, Fadda worked as the associate curator of Middle Eastern art for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation based in New York. From 2005 to 2007, Fadda was director of the Palestinian Association for Contemporary Art (PACA) and served as academic director for the International Academy of Art Palestine in Ramallah, which she helped found in 2006.

Bana Gora
She is the CEO of the Muslim Women’s Council, an organization established in 2009 to represent the views of Muslim women from across the UK. The Muslim Women’s Council plans to build the first women-led mosque in the UK. Gora has over twenty years of experience working in the charitable and not-for-profit sector and has worked directly with ethnically and religiously diverse communities as well as marginalized groups.

Xanthe Hall
She is the co-director, disarmament expert, and international campaigner for the German affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). She worked in the UK before leaving Britain in 1985 to move to Berlin. She manages the board of the German section of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN Germany), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for their work on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Dr. Illa Ben-Porat
She is a sociologist as well as a novelist and musician. She currently teaches at Kibbutzim College in Tel Aviv, Israel. Her studies deal with the relationship between nation states and the diasporic populations. Just as a homeland plays an active part in conceptualizing certain diasporic populations as belonging to it, so too does the diasporic population influence the national collective reshaping its character.

press voices

“A conceptually and visually striking production that feels urgent (...)" - The New York Times

Adam J. Goldmann, 24.05.18


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Photo: Birgit Kaulfuss

Photo: Birgit Kaulfuss

Photo: Birgit Kaulfuss

Photo: Birgit Kaulfuss

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