PANDA e. V. has been a non-profit association for over ten years in the small courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei – a central location for Berlin culture. Founded in 2000 as a Russian chamber theatre, the PANDA developed into an interdisciplinary art and culture platform with exhibitions, readings, concerts, political discussions, movie-nights and performances.
But PANDA also focuses on current political and social issues – in particular those in the former Soviet Union, such as the situation around the LGBT and gay scene in Russia, the Crimean annexation, the war in Ukraine, and so on. Meanwhile, PANDA has become not only the most important destination for cultural creators in the Russian-speaking community, but also a fixture of alternative art in Berlin.
Despite the great popularity amongst its audience, the PANDA was about to be wound up in summer 2018, as long-standing private sponsorship ended – for family reasons – and without it, it was not possible to cover the costs in the long term. Nevertheless, the team decided not to give up and, for the time being, to work without pay and without external help or staff. The PANDA was given a new lease on life using its own resources; a new concept was developed and we celebrated the reopening in autumn 2018. Today, PANDA is probably the only non-commercial institution in the Kulturbrauerei that does not receive state funding and exists only through the voluntary efforts of the PANDA team. With four to six events per week, this is a remarkable achievement.