BERLIN was founded in 2003 by artistic director Yves Degryse together with Bart Baele and Caroline Rochlitz. Alongside Barbara Raes and Melih Gençboyacı, Yves Degryse is now one of the three artistic directors of NTGent. BERLIN is joining in as house-maker.

The productions of BERLIN are positioned on the cusp of documentary and theatre. Each creation starts from reality: a city, a trivial event or testimony. They jump in at the deep end of a situation and disentangle the various storylines, never limiting themselves to just one discipline in the creative process. Content decides how a story is told: through images, live music, technology, text, as an installation... From within this philosophy BERLIN highlights the humaneness of whoever is being depicted, how (micro)communities function, the universality of the everyday.

In the coming years, BERLIN will continue to build on the current momentum and will also create room for innovation. In addition to the projects of its artistic director Yves Degryse – leaving out cycles from now on – room will be made to support young makers, two associate artists who will each realize a project within the company. In February 2024 Fien Leysen will set the ball rolling with ALABAMA and in 2026 it will be the turn of Emma Lesuis.

In 2023 BERLIN also launched a five-year project, YouTurn, opening its archives to film students and fellow artists who can create new work with them. In 2024, BERLIN will celebrate its 20th anniversary. The company’s foundations were laid in 2003 but it was on 26 October 2004 that Jerusalem, BERLIN’s first production, was staged at Vooruit (now VIERNULVIER, in Ghent). The how, where and what of the festivities will be revealed soon.

Over the past two decades, BERLIN has been working on two project series: Holocene (the geological era), where the starting point is always in a city or village somewhere in the world, and Horror Vacui (the fear of emptiness), where remarkable, true stories are uncovered.

The five projects within Horror Vacui are Tagfish (2010), Land’s End (2011), Perhaps All The Dragons... (2014), Remember The Dragons... (2017) and True Copy (2018). The recent The making of Berlin (2022) is the final piece of the Holocene series, which also includes Jerusalem (2004/2013), Iqaluit (2005), Bonanza (2006), Moscow (2009) and Zvizdal (2016). Two projects fell outside the series: the audio performance/installation Wie oud wordt... (2019) and the film concert Ramble Song (2021). 

In 2015 BERLIN was awarded the Ultima Performing Arts Award for its oeuvre. Bonanza, Land’s End, True Copy and The making of Berlin all got selected for the Belgian TheaterFestival. Zvizdal was part of the selection of the Dutch Theater Festival. Bonanza won a Total Theatre Award in the category ‘Innovation, Experimentation & Playing with Form’.