Neco Çelik

“To consciously press on wounds and to stimulate dialogue. That is the task of an artist.” / “[B]ewusst auf Wunden drücken und zum Dialog anregen. Das ist die Aufgabe eines Künstlers.”
(N. Çelik, 2013)

Neco Çelik is a Berlin-based educator, theatre practitioner and film director. He first gained recognition as a film director with his 2003 film Urban Guerillas, a film which won the audience prize at the Nürnberg and Würzburger Filmwoche (Nuremburg and Würzburg Film Week) and triggered international popular and academic interest in his work.The film draws on his own experience of growing up in Kreuzberg, Berlin and of the graffiti scene there as part the gang 36 boys.

Neco Çelik’s early films earned him the title ‘the Spike Lee of Kreuzberg’, an area of Berlin characterized by its large Turkish population. His career in the theatre began somewhat later however when he was invited to direct a groundbreaking production of a play called ‘Black Virgins’ in 2006. This play unleashed nation-wide debate on the relationship of postmigrant women to Islam and to contemporary Germany. Çelik’s production is currently to be seen in the repertoire of the world famous Gorki theatre, Berlin and the level of interest in this production also helped create space for other emerging postmigrant theatre practitioners in Germany.

Çelik has since continued to work on theatre as well as to experiment with new forms: his first opera production won the 2011 German theatre prize for best directorial work, Der Faust. His most recent work includes a short film on the early days of Turkish labour migration to Germany (Schweinemilch/Pig’s Milk; 2014) and two new theatre productions: Through Roses at the Staatsoper Berlin (Berlin State Opera) and  Ruhm (Fame), a new piece of dance theatre which he directed as Renegade in Residence at the Schauspielhaus Bochum (see video above).

Çelik has been invited to present his work in the US before but never in Scotland, so we are very excited to welcome him to Edinburgh!