We are STARLAB. We founded our intergalactic collective in 2020. We asked ourselves questions about how artistic empowerment could be implemented practically. How can participation flow actively and inclusively into artistic processes? How can the potential of the performing arts be used as an emancipatory medium? This curiosity became our drive and brought us together.

We, that is Filu Hannah Sampé, Otto Calmeijer Meijburg and Marius Lambertz, initiated the interdisciplinary project and got in touch with various disabled and non-disabled musicians, dancers and performers. Together we create spaces of self-empowerment and work in our network in - and around - Cologne with different means from the fields of dance, acting and music.

We believe that it is not enough to fight against forms of discrimination such as ableism, racism, queerphobia and classism on a theoretical level only. Queer feminism must become accessible to all people in order to actively change something. This makes it especially important for us to be an inclusive collective that also thinks beyond its own affectedness and opens up political participation for as many people as possible.

The combination of our professional stage performances, cultural education projects and community art in public space is exemplary of our ideals. We want to take and give space, conquer stages, spread justice and glamour!

After all, the name STARLAB was not chosen by chance. Playing with star identities - somewhere between reality and fantasy - is our signature move and also flows thematically into our socio-cultural projects. When we transform ourselves into "superstars," we no longer know stage fright. Our own identity gains a projection surface that encourages radically self-confident performance. Fame, glitter and stardom for everyone!

We use the world of pop and superstars as a playing field. Spaces are created in which the boundaries between fiction and reality are allowed to blur, in which own worlds can be imagined. Worlds in which classifications of 'being normal', 'being too much' or 'being completely beside the rest' take on completely new meanings. Suddenly 'the other' is celebrated, the weird is revered, the incomprehensible is idolized, the outsider is the superstar.

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