“If I think about my grandmother, I think about a woman, who has never been in love, who didn’t know that sex was also for women. I think about her who back then saved me in my dream and I don’t know what kind of wishes she would have had for me.”

A biographical research trip

The performers of waltraud900 are looking for differences and commonalities in the lives of their Greek, Palestinian and German grandmothers – from the beginnings of the 20th century until today. After having travelled into its own past, the group sets the focus in the performance Grandmothers of the Universe on the disappearance and invisibility of this generation of women coming to light especially also during the current global pandemic. Representative of this generation of grandmothers, waltraud900 collects video messages from the isolation from all over the world. In a musical audio performance, these messages are being made visible and audible condensing into a joint narrative together with the biographies of their own grandmothers.

Grandmothers of the Universe was developed during a residency at the Maschinenhaus Essen in March 2020.

Premiere: July 19th, 2020 at Asphalt Sommerfestival der Künste in Düsseldorf.

Press reviews

“Strong, female moments of self-empowerment arise and give you the feeling that during all these decades something has changed after all.”

Dorothea Marcus for Deutschlandradio Kultur

“It all reflects much love and the sadness that so many gaps remain in the biographies of the grandmothers, often there are not even pictures left. Emotional reactions were also noticeable in the audience – some had to swallow hard (…). The performance is convincing, as is the music, but many questions still remain. The performers will certainly earn great applause.”

Michael S. Zerban for O-Ton

“Whatever they found out about their mothers and grandmothers, who they are trying to safe from the invisibility and total disappearance, is offered as a performance made of dance, song and narrative. It all turns into a colorful kaleidoscope, examined in an intentionally feministic way, but without morals.”

Christa Fluck for Theater Pur


Conception: waltraud900
Performance: Jamila Al-Yousef, Bianca Künzel, Phaedra Pisimisi, Carina Sperk
Music: Jamila Al-Yousef and Carina Sperk
Equipment/Set Design: Ria Papadopoulou
Choreography: Phaedra Pisimisi
Dramaturgy: Dorle Trachternach
Artistic-conceptional cooperation: Matin Soofipour Omam
Production Management: Esther Schneider

Friends and supporters

The research trips to Athens, Greece and Altenburg were financed by LAG Soziokultur and NRW KULTURsekretariat. The trips to Iran and Palestine had to be postponed indefinitely for political reasons and due to the spread of the Corona virus. A residency at the Maschinenhaus Essen was supported by NRW Landesbüro Freie Darstellende Künste. Accompanying the previous work, an audio piece was produced and financed by a stipend from the Filmstiftung NRW. The workshop series collaborating with an international women’s group on the topic had the following cooperation partners: zakk – Zentrum für Aktion, Kultur und Kommunikation in Düsseldorf and the group En Armonia Cultural Activities Company in Athens, Greece.