Isabella Mamatis studied Drama at the Hochschule der Künste in West Berlin and in the 1980s worked with legendary directors such as Peter Stein, George Tabori, and Helmar Sanders Brahms. She performed along with Tilda Swinton in “The Wild Party” and was a founding member of the Theater zum westlichen Stadthirschen. Mamatis became a director, author, and producer. In 2006, she founded the “Oral History Theater” and the Lange Tafel (Long Table) performance art installation project and festival to inspire inter-cultural and inter-generational dialogue. The first Lange Tafel project occurred in her Berlin neighborhood of Kreuzberg (Bergmannstraße), a diverse neighborhood with a large Turkish immigrant population. Ten years later, Lange Tafel has become a well-established Berlin tradition that has been held all over the city in a wide range of neighborhoods, and has expanded to other major cities like Hamburg and Düsseldorf. Her vision is to establish the Lange Tafel around the globe bringing together all ethnicities, social backgrounds, and generations.
“With the Lange Tafel installations, my goal is to bring people from a community together and to help bring to life their collective memories and experiences. By reflecting together about our past, we can come to a catharsis about our own personal stories.” Artistic influences include filmmaker Fellini and artist John Cage.
With her dual German-Greek background and having grown up in East and West Germany, her interest revolves around immigration stories. Mamatis feels that while much is written about migration, very little of it has come from the immigrants themselves. To combat this, she has founded the virtual Memorial to Migration. The database acts as an online time capsule in which children of immigrants can share their stories.
Mamatis wants to emphasize the importance of migration and give new life to the stories of immigration that many share.
“I want to make migration into a valued cultural heritage and achievement. I also seek to give immigration experiences a voice and a stage through theater pieces, film, poetry, and lyrics.”
Awards and Prizes:
Karl Hofer Prize, 1982
Theater Literature Prize of the Saarland, 1995