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  • What’s going on this January? Your guide to the first month of the year

Berlin

What’s going on this January? Your guide to the first month of the year

The year is off to a busy start! With the return of the British Shorts film festival, CTM festival, an interactive art exhibition and much more, you won't be bored in Berlin this January.

British raper Loyle Carner is performing this month at Columbiahalle. Photo: IMAGO / Le Pictorium

Play at Chamäleon Theatre Berlin

The Mirror. Photo: Darcy Grant

Including Gravity and Other Myths’ acclaimed piece ‘A Simple Space’, ‘Play’ is a contemporary circus mini-festival featuring a variety of international artists. It’s sure to be a seamless, daring set of all kinds of performances. Read our interview with Gravity and Other Myths’ creative director Darcy Grant here.

  • Chamäleon Theatre, Rosenthaler Str. 40/41, Mitte. 3.1 – 12.2, details.

The Big Hit

Photo: The Big Hit, Agat Films & Cie (2020)

An endearing out-of-work actor starts a theatre workshop in a prison. He helps the inmates put on a production of, wait for it… Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Based on a true story, the film has taken France by storm.

  • At various cinemas, from 5.1.

Seaside Special 

Photo: Seaside Special, Instant Film (2021)

Screened a few months back at Exblicks, Jens Meurer’s film is a love letter to Brexit Britain: a consciously, warm-hearted look at Blighty’s only remaining ‘End-of-the-pier’ variety show and a warm, unspooling memory about the loss of time.

  • At various cinemas, from 19.1

Royal Republic

Photo: Erik Weiss

The Swedish rock band toured Germany back in 2010 with the Donots and two years later with the Toten Hosen – winning loyal fans with their energetic shows. The comparison to the Hives is obvious, but Royal Republic also tries out playful disco tracks with 80s synthesisers and a good portion of funk.

  • Columbiahalle, Columbiadamm 13-21, Tempelhof, 5.1, details.

‘Confessions of a Piping System’

Eva Kotótková’s work ‘Confessions of a Piping System’ comes to life one last time in the exhibition ‘YOyi! Care, Repaire, Heal’. The work addresses exhaustion and other conditions of care. The whole exhibition, co-curated by former Biennale director Kader Attia, among others, is about caring and healing. 

  • Gropius Bau, Niederkirchnerstr. 7, Kreuzberg, until 15.1, details.

Oceane

Photo: Bernd Uhlig

The world premiere of Detlev Glanert’s opera ‘Oceane’ was met with a wave of enthusiasm in spring 2019. Numerous awards followed (including International Opera Awards and the Opus Klassik). The long-awaited revival, which had to be postponed from 2021 to January 2023 due to the pandemic, will be conducted by Stephan Zilias. The shows will be in German with English surtitles.

  • Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bismarckstr. 34-37, Charlottenburg, 6.1, 11.1 & 13.1, details

Berlin Philharmonic

Daniel Barenboim. Photo: Imago/Future Image/T Bartilla

For veteran classical conductor Daniel Barenboim’s upcoming guest appearance at the Berlin Philharmonic he’ll be joined by the pianist Martha Argerich. The two have been friends since childhood in Buenos Aires and are performing together with the orchestra for the first time. Peter Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 will be followed by Witold Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra. 

  • Philharmonie, Herbert-von-Karajan-Str. 1, Tiergarten, 6.1, details.

Lucinda Williams

Photo: IMAGO / Matrix

Widely recognised as one of the all-time greatest songwriters, country and blues icon, Lucinda Williams is on the road again. Still making new music at 69, she brings attitude, rawness and wisdom to Neukölln with her upcoming show.

  • Heimathafen Neukölln, Karl-Marx-Str. 141, Neukölln, 14.1, details.

Fleshdance

Photo: Sophie Krause

The theatre collective ‘boikott’ has been combining performance and research since 2017. Based on interviews with real people from a variety of different communities, like churches, the porn industry and more, this new performance explores the meaning of the body. Performances will be in English and German

  • Ballhaus Ost, Pappelallee 15, Prenzlauer Berg, 13 – 15.1, details.

Yamato: the Drummers of Japan

Photo: Hirohsi Seo

This Japanese drumming extravaganza is a breathtaking spectacle. “We believe that taiko has the power to give people energy,” says the founder and artistic director of the ensemble Masa Ogawa. The new show “Tenmei” (engl. destiny) celebrates the diversity of life.

  • Admiralspalast, Friedrichstr. 101-102, Mitte, 17-22.1, details.

EXB and Dussmann English present: Writing Home

Local star authors Adrian Duncan (‘The Geometer Lobachevsky’) and Rebecca Rukeyser (‘The Seaplane on Final Approach’) read from their works and discuss the experience of writing about their homelands, Ireland and the USA. 

  • Dussmann, KulturBühne, Friedrichstr. 90, Mitte 19.1, details.

The Tiger Lillies

Photo: Andrey Kezzyn

The British trio was already described as a “Brechtian Punk Cabaret” back in the 1990s and their sound and stage aesthetics clearly reference the Weimar Republic. Their new performance, ‘The Last Days of Mankind’ is based on Karl Kraus’ 1922 tragedy and deals with the horrors and consequences of the First World War.

  • Tipi am Kanzleramt, Große Querallee, Tiergarten, 18 – 21.1, details.

Jessie Reyez

Photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Press

In 2022, pop queen Jessie Reyez played Coachella, Lollapalooza and opened for Billie Eilish’s world tour. And she’s only just getting started. From January she’ll be touring her new album, YESSIE. This is not one to miss.

  • Metropol, Nollendorfpl. 5, Schöneberg, 19.1, details.

British Shorts

Photo: British Shorts

With its finger on the pulse of UK cinema, this festival showcases short films across all genres, including special retrospective ‘Stranger Shorts’: an obscure journey through British film history.

  • At various cinemas, until 25.1, details.

Loyle Carner

Photo: IMAGO / Le Pictorium

UK rapper Loyle Carner has become a favourite on festival circuits, bagging a few Mercury and Brit nominations along the way. His emotional depth and catchy riffs are sure to draw the crowds.

  • Columbiahalle, Columbiadamm 13-21, Tempelhof, 20.1, details.

International Green Week 

Photo: Messe Berlin GmbH

Three years shy of its 100th anniversary, the gardening, agriculture and food fair offers a number of events. Learn how to weave flower wreaths, bake bread or make your own biotope. There’ll also be cooking shows, a parade and music!

  • Messe Berlin, Messedamm 22, Charlottenburg, 18 – 29. 1, details.

CTM 

CTM believes that music opens doors, but it also asks how accessible and inclusive these doors are. With 20 international artists, this is a festival that doesn’t just play the music, but also critically engages with its meanings and implications.

  • Berghain, Silent Green, HAU and other venues. 27.1 – 5.2, details.

La Cage Aux Folles

Komische Oper intendant Barrie Kosky returns with his take on the hilarious and moving musical. This will be one of his last installations before the Oper closes for renovation. Prepare to be entertained!

  • Komische Oper Berlin, Behrenstr. 55-57, Mitte, 28.1, details.

Fantasy Filmfest’s White Nights

Never one to rest on its laurels, the fantasy festival is back early doors with its White Nights festival. Albeit a scaled-down affair compared to their usual seven day fest, the two day event focuses on the ‘winter genre’.

  • At various cinemas, 28 – 29.1, OV with English subtitles, details.

“Wir haben es satt!” demo

Photo: IMAGO / snapshot

Every day, the reality of the climate crisis becomes more obvious. The demo “Wir haben es satt” (We are fed up) draws attention to problems like lack of rain, over-fertilisation, monoculture and corporation’s greed for profit and informs how a socially just agricultural and food turnaround can succeed.

  • Brandenburg Tor, Pariser Platz, Mitte, 21.1, details.

Karolina Wojtas

Winner of the C/O Berlin’s Talent Award 2022, Karolina Wojtas’ work examines the schooling policy of Poland’s nationalist government. The images will be exhibited alongside works by William Eggleston and Anastasia Samoylova.

  • C/O Berlin, Hardenbergstr. 22-24, Charlottenburg, from 28.1 Jan, online.

Klimt’s Kiss: Playing with Fire

Photo: Andy Juchli

The multimedia show ‘Klimt’s Kiss Playing with Fire’ illustrates the life and work of the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, who achieved world fame with his painting ‘The Kiss’. Before the exhibition begins, visitors receive an immersive introduction: this means that the paintings can not only be seen, but also interacted with. A fictional dialogue with Klimt’s muse, Emilie Floege also provides a critical look at the paintings.

  • Musikbrauerei Berlin, Greifswalder Str. 23A, Prenzlauerberg, from 30.1, details.