An Agora for the Future City Festival 2023!

An Agora for the Future City!

Under the motto #BUILDINGFUTURETOGETHER, lots of different workshops for children and young people took place around the Maschinenhaus Essen as part of the third Future City Festival. For 14 days, people built, painted, sewed, danced, discussed, wrote poetry, and much more. And there was a lot of room to implement one’s own ideas and try out new things.

The festival is a project of the Theater of the Coming Generations. With the support of the Junior Uni Essen, Sebastian Schlecht and Susanne Priebs conceived and carried out a workshop for at the Future City Festival by building an agora as the central place of the Future City.

Important for a city is a place of gathering, debate, exchange, presentation of ideas, music, dance, poetry, and very concretely for the parliament of the Future City. 10 children and young people built this place themselves in 4 days. From old pallets and scrap wood, an agora for the city of the future was created. An agora? A parliament? A stage? A theater? An arena? This place is all of that together!

Our agora also has a stage, but essentially forms a circle of three-tiered seating bleachers that can accommodate about 60 people. There are several entrances and the circle opens in all directions. This allows for participation or egress at any time. The stage can be used as a scene space or as a seating area to close the circle – an arena is created. The participants sit opposite each other, which creates a communication among themselves. Deliberately, there are also plants on the stage in order to draw attention to the role of nature in a city in addition to the diversity of the human participants. Thus, represented by 5 plant parliamentarians, other living beings should also get their place in the Future City.

The participants created their own place, where questions about the temporary Future City were decided during the festival. In addition, very concrete skills were learned and applied in the four-day workshop: sawing, screwing, nailing and designing – and discussing and deciding together. 10 young people between the ages of 10 and 14 used their own skills and old wooden pallettes to build a parliament for the 60 citizens of the city, selected plants, gave them a place and the stands a name and an identity. Self-made poles and flags connect the stands to each other and form another symbol of diversity and community.

We are looking forward to the Junior-Uni Essen and the Maschinenhaus Essen using this place for further actions!

Susanne Priebs and Sebastian Schlecht, August 2023

Photos: Young-Soo Chang, Alia, Sebastian Schlecht, Maschienenhaus Essen,



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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Maschinenhaus Essen (@maschinenhausessen)

An agora? A parliament? A theater? An arena? A stage? A place for all! (c) Young-Soo Chang