Berlin State Opera sewing face masks instead of costumes

Berlin State Opera sewing face masks instead of costumes

Like many other cultural institutions, the ongoing coronavirus crisis has forced the Berlin State Opera to close its doors for the foreseeable future. But the opera's workshops are still busy; only, instead of fabulous costumes, they are sewing urgently-needed protective face masks.

Textile industry helps out during coronavirus crisis 

The idea was presented last week by the mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller and economics senator Ramona Pop. Instead of shutting up shop entirely, a number of companies and self-employed individuals in the textile industry could help out by producing protective masks and clothing. Not only would healthcare benefit from this, but also companies that would have the opportunity to keep their employees employed. 

The Berlin State Opera were eager to do their part and have agreed to use their skills to sew masks for those in need. Now, two dozen costume tailors and assistants are working together on this project: half of them from home and half at the opera house, under strict safety guidelines.

“I am very happy that our colleagues are so enthusiastic. Since our opera is currently closed, we have the capacity. And it is nice that we can make such a contribution to society in a crisis,” said costume director Birgit Wentsch.

Face masks will be sent to fire brigade, police & nursing homes

The masks are being sewn according to specific instructions - plain white with fabric ties. The material has to be boil-proof and breathable, so that they can be washed and reused. Each face mask takes about 20 minutes to sew and the costume department expects to finish over 1.000 by next week. 

The finished masks will be delivered to those who need them most, including the fire brigade, the police, and care and nursing homes. Other theatres, including the Grips Theatre, the Komische Oper, the Maxim Gorki Theatre and the Theatre an der Parkau, have also signed up to the initiative. 

Thumb image: Staatsoper unter den Linden / Marcus Ebener

Naina Pottamkulam


Naina Pottamkulam



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