Sandra Schürmann, Projektfabrik.
A programme that combines theatre training and other techniques to develop psycho-emotional and vocational skills, helping unemployed people improve their self-esteem, replace passivity with proactivity and gain employment.
What solution does the innovation propose?

Targeted at different groups of unemployed people (youth, long-term unemployed, single parents, migrants and refugees), the methodology uses the power of creative tools and arts to help participants develop their self-awareness and retake control of their lives, building a solid base to take new steps and decisions, to gain and maintain employment. Projects are based on three pedagogical pillars and structured throughout the development of a theatre play. Participants first learn professional skills, which are then connected with social skills. These skills are founded on individual, creative solutions aimed at increasing self-esteem.


This Works Summit by Ashoka (2016). Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (2010). Sandra Schürmann is an Ashoka Fellow (2009).

Impact evidence


An average of 300 participants take part each year in full-time projects.

  • 50% placement rate on average.
  • Around 60% of participants between 20 and 24 years found employment after 12 months. Three years after attending a JobAct® project, almost 80% are working or have positive prospects.
How does it work?

The programme is divided into two phases:

  1. For six months, participants develop a theatre play from the concept to the premiere. They also receive intensive coaching to improve communication and language skills. Professional theatre educators and specialists from other art forms and trades deliver the programme. Participants apply for internship positions, being the theatrical performance the climax of the first phase.
  2. For three months, participants prepare for the internship: a stepping-stone to the transition into training or work. Initially targeted at young people, JobAct® has diversified and adapted its methodology to other groups in need, including older workers, single parents and school ‘drop-out’ kids. Having also a successful track record of working with migrants, Projektfabrik offers theatre-based projects and language training to refugees.

Geographical scope

Where was initially developed
Witten, Germany.
Where has been implemented so far
Implemented in 120 places throughout Germany and in Italy. Summer courses have been performed in Turkey and Spain.
Last updated: 
March 2019