The Deutsches Theater
The Deutsches Theater in Berlin is a theatrical institution with a permanent and highly-acclaimed ensemble. Behind its classical façade, the Deutsches Theater building on Schumannstraße is home to three stages: the main stage, built in 1850, with its intimate auditorium that seats 600; the »Kammerspiele«, established by Max Reinhardt in 1906 for modern drama, which holds some 230 spectators; and the Box, a compact black box located in the Kammerspiele foyer, which opened in 2006. With seating for 80, it's the venue for theatre that is up-close and personal, featuring new scripts and topical themes. The Deutsches Theater repertoire comprises some 50 productions. Each season the DT celebrates some 30 premieres -- around twelve on the main stage and eight in the Kammerspiele.
Signature productions, ongoing collaborations with established and up-and-coming directors, and faith in the abilities of his spirited and talented ensemble: these are the cornerstones of Ulrich Khuon’s artistic concept for the Deutsches Theater. Khuon has brought on board directors with distinctive directing styles, including: Andreas Kriegenburg, Stephan Kimmig, Nicolas Stemann, Jette Steckel, and Dimiter Gotscheff, who died in 2014.
The theatre’s repertoire includes both classics and modern classics by writers such as Bertolt Brecht, Chekhov, Goethe, Gerhart Hauptmann, Friedrich Hebbel, Heinrich von Kleist, Friedrich Schiller, Shakespeare and Frank Wedekind. At the same time, the DT stages works by contemporary playwrights like Dea Loher, Roland Schimmelpfennig and Elfriede Jelinek – including many world premieres. Once a year the Deutsches Theater plays host to the Autorentheatertage, a two-week-long festival of contemporary drama.
The DT ensemble includes well-known actresses such as Maren Eggert, Corinna Harfouch, Nina Hoss and Susanne Wolff and prominent actors like Samuel Finzi, Ingo Hülsmann, Ulrich Matthes, Bernd Moss and Bernd Stempel. They’re joined by young talents such as Daniel Hoevels, Alexander Khuon and Ole Lagerpusch.
The Deutsches Theater has been making history ever since receiving that name in 1883. Otto Brahm turned it into a hotbed of Naturalist theatre, championing works by Gerhart Hauptmann, August Strindberg und Arthur Schnitzler. Once the DT came under the direction of the legendary Max Reinhardt in 1905, it quickly earned the reputation of being Germany's top stage. After Reinhardt fled Nazi Germany in 1933, his former assistant Heinz Hilpert brought the DT through the Nazi period with a classical-humanist repertoire.
Under Wolfgang Langhoff, a new era began. Innovative productions by Benno Besson, Frank Castorf and Heiner Müller established the DT as a hotspot for artistry and experimentation in East Berlin. On November 4th 1989, actors from the Deutsches Theatre helped organize the largest protest demonstration in East German history at Berlin's Alexanderplatz - a pivotal event in the fall of the Berlin Wall five days later. The 1990s marked the era of Thomas Langhoff – and Thomas Ostermeier who headed the DT »Baracke», a stage showcasing the works of young actors and playwrights. In 2001, Bernd Wilms took over as artistic director; under his leadership the DT once again became one of Germany’s leading theatres. Ulrich Khuon, formerly of the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, is the Deutsches Theater’s current artistic director – a post he’s held since the summer of 2009.
Each year the Deutsches Theater takes its productions on tour and performs at festivals in places like New York, South America, Japan, and across Europe. A series of television broadcasts of DT productions and frequent invitations to Berlin’s prestigious Theatertreffen festival testify to the theatre’s continuing success. In an annual poll conducted by influential German theatre magazine Theater heute, critics voted the DT “Theatre of the Year” in 2005 and 2008.