From left: Jacqueline Milne, Alexandre Hornbeck, Mayalani Moes, and, front, Rafael Kohn Matic Zorman

From left: Jacqueline Milne, Alexandre Hornbeck, Mayalani Moes, and, front, Rafael Kohn Matic Zorman

“There’s a huge demand for” English-language education, so why not theatre, says Rafael David Kohn, theatre director and one of the company’s three co-founders. Surveys suggest that around 80% of the resident population speaks English, a language which is particularly popular among mixed nationality families.

“At the moment, we have have French and German-language productions. If you want everyone to participate in cultural life, you have to focus more on English (language) productions,” he says.

Integration issues aside, Kohn says that English-language theatre also offers an accessible conduit to showcase and practice Luxembourg's diverse theatre knowhow. “I studied in Germany, with someone who worked in English, who had a cultural different way to approach a show. You can fuse different theatre cultural traditions together,” he said.

Trio of short plays

The company’s first theatrical offering will be three very different short plays, commissioned by local writers under the banner “How to get rich in Luxembourg (Fast)”, a concept Kohn refers to as "Short Cuts".

Jérôme Netgen’s piece is set in a dystopian Luxembourg where the totalitarian Real People’s Movement ensures hard capitalisam can flourish unhindered.

Claire Thill’s follows a life coach teaching audiences how to get rich fast, at any cost, while in his piece Jean Bürlesk examines the steps to becoming a trophy husband. The tragi-comic shorts have a serious common theme: poverty.

According to the chamber of employees, 11.9% of employed workers (at the 60% median equivalised income threshold) live under the threat of poverty, the highest rate in the eurozone.

And the situation is deteriorating thanks to the pandemic. “There will be dire economic consequenecs for daily life,” Kohn says of the worst-impacted sectors like catering and hospitality.

Impacted sector

The theatre sector has been similarly impacted, with scores of shows rescheduled for the summer of 2021 and beyond. The result is an acute demand for venues large enough to allow social distancing while selling enough tickets to break even. The cost of renting venues and technical services has also increased, Kohn says, as sector players attempt to plug the gaps left in their finances by a year of inactivity.

Fortunately, funding for cultural events is available. Collateral Drama was able to secure support from the Neistart programme and Luxembourg City cultural service for their inaugural show. The budget was tight and only enough to pay the actors Mayalani Moes ("An Zéro", "Dreamscape" and "The Music Island"), Jacqueline Milne (various theatre credits) and Alexandre Hornbeck ("Hanna Arendt", "The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears" and "Dreamland") for just four weeks.

Kohn is confident that it will be the first of several "Short Cuts" from Collateral Drama, and that the company will, one day, achieve its dream to secure a permanent home for English-language theatre in Luxembourg.


Catch “How to get rich in Luxembourg (Fast)” at the Centre Culturel Am Duerf in Luxembourg-Weimerskirch at 8pm on 24, 25 and 26 June and at 2pm on 26 June. Tickets cost €25. Reserve your seats by emailing [email protected]