until 1932: farmland

until 1945: Hermann Göring Flack Barracks

until 2013: Oxford Barracks | UK

since 2013: residential home for refugees

from 2024: a new residential quarter


Cityscapes consist of overpaintings. Buildings and events disappear behind ever new layers of history. The present determines what we remember and what remains visible. History paints over empty spaces. It chooses the focus selectively. Thus, the city of Münster likes to present itself in its self-narrative as the city of the Peace of Westphalia and cultivates a distinct culture of memory. The fact that there is also a military history is largely ignored.

After the Peace of Westphalia, Münster became a strategically important garrison city. More than 30 military buildings still exist, without official memory to inhabit and animate them. The former Oxford Barracks in the Gievenbeck district is particularly striking. Its history is exemplary. It deals with war, occupation and displacement and begins with the expropriation of farmers and residents in 1934, when the NSDAP made room for the construction of the Hermann Goering anti-aircraft artillery barracks. It is no coincidence that the completion of the barracks coincides with the occupation of the Rhineland (the stationing of Wehrmacht troop units in the demilitarized Rhineland) in March 1936. After the end of the Second World War, the British Army of the Rhine moves into the building complex, which remains intact, despite the urgent need for accommodation for the population of Münster. Over time, the barracks eventually grow into a city within the city. Here, in the immediate vicinity of civil society, wars were planned and rehearsed for decades that took place elsewhere. Military violence as everyday life in a parallel world.

Soon there will be no memory left of the history of the Oxford Barracks. From the end of 2023, the site will be turned into a modern housing estate. The testimony of time will disappear behind the next layer of paint. It is uncertain how the memories will be preserved. Narratives about the site by contemporary witnesses can still be retrieved. The images, stories, sounds and noises of this history are brought to the ear and before the eyes with this project. The Oxford Spacebase project, led by director Till Wyler von Ballmoos, takes advantage of the unique opportunity to initiate on-site reflection on the site with a hybrid, multimedia performance format and to promote it in the long term with digital means. In the short window of vacancy, the research-based play development creates knowledge and awareness where another blind spot would otherwise grow. The peace we have in Europe is, globally speaking, more of a privilege than a matter of course. Accordingly, we need an alert and critical culture of remembrance that raises our awareness of the possibility spaces of all stories.

Together with international artists, Till Wyler von Ballmoos is developing this interdisciplinary theater installation in order to deal with a piece of European military history on the one hand. On the other hand, using the means of the visual and performing arts, a format is to be created that makes spaces of the past tangible by means of personal memories and historical facts, as well as triggering processes of cognition on the part of the audience. The audience will be confronted on site with the four eras of the barracks' history: the present, the era of the British garrison, the period of the Nazi regime, and the period of the Thirty Years' War. Theater im Pumpenhaus Münster in co-production with Ballmoos Productions will present a site-specific, performative course in the former NCO mess of the Oxford Barracks in Münster Gievenbeck in June 2023.



    artistic direction | Till Wyler von Ballmoos
    production management | Veronika Kalievskaya
    scenographic concept | Atelier Lucie Lom | Elisa Fache | Philippe Leduc | Marc-Antoine Mathieu
    Composition and Live Music | HYPER DUO
    Electroacoustic installation | Cyrill Lim
    dramaturgy text | Lorenz Langenegger
    script | Anina La Roche
    PR and Communication | Veit Christoph Baecker
    Research | Jana Bernhardt
    Performer and Actor | Stella Maria Adorf
    Performer and Actor | Thomas Douglas
    Countertenor and Performer | Michael Taylor
    Performer and actor | N.N.
    piano and electronics | Gilles Grimaître
    percussion and electronics | Julien Mégroz
    Technical direction | Hans Salomon
     stage construction | Bernd Heitkötter
    sound engineering | Hirzel Hirzelnsen
    Lighting design and lighting technology | Timo von der Horst
    video documentation | Simon Büchting
    photo documentation | Hanna Neander
    performance photos | Erich Saar
    graphics | Lennart Lofink
    honorary collaboration | Yasin Wörheide


    A co-production of Theater im Pumpenhaus and Ballmoos Productions | Supported by the Cultural Office of the City of Münster, Kunststiftung NRW, Musikfonds e.V. with project funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, NRW Landesbüro Freie Darstellende Künste, Swiss Cultural Foundation Pro Helvetia | With the kind support of Stadtarchiv Münster, Villa ten Hompel, KonvOY GmbH, Amt für Immobilienmanagement der Stadt Münster, Kunsthalle Münster