German theater

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German theater
Deutsches Schauspielhaus, front side, 2007
Address: Kirchenallee 39, 20099 Hamburg
City: Hamburg
Coordinates: 53 ° 33 '16 "  N , 10 ° 0' 32"  E Coordinates: 53 ° 33 '16 "  N , 10 ° 0' 32"  E
Architecture and history
Construction time: August 12, 1899-15. September 1900
Spectator: 1831 places
Architects: Ferdinand Fellner, Hermann Helmer
Internet presence:

The Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg 's St. Georg district is the largest spoken theater in Germany with 1200 seats . It was created through a private initiative of citizens and the "Aktiengesellschaft Deutsches Schauspielhaus" founded in 1899. The plans come from the Viennese architects Fellner und Helmer , who designed the neo-baroque building based on the example of the Viennese Volkstheater . On September 15, 1900, the theater was officially opened with a performance of Iphigenia on Tauris .

The name Deutsches Schauspielhaus ties in with the tradition of the Hamburg National Theater , which was run by Hamburg citizens in the middle of the 18th century and for which Gotthold Ephraim Lessing worked as a dramaturge . The theater played a key role in shaping the city's theater history in the 20th century and is one of the leading theaters in Germany.


Hamburg's new theater

Deutsche Schauspielhaus AG shares for more than 1,000 marks on June 20, 1899

From the 1870s onwards, Hamburg developed into a modern, world-class city, which was not least due to the establishment of an empire and the rapid economic boom. The increased self-confidence of the Hamburg upper middle class called for more and more representative theater in the following decades . Up until now, the Hamburg theater landscape consisted of a spoken theater and the city ​​theater , which were responsible for entertainment and opera maintenance. The theater manager Bernhard Pollini was director of both houses and thus owned Hamburg's theater monopoly. This did not change until his death in 1897, because although Pollini had assured the continuation of his theater empire in his will, his successors could not keep the leading theater leaders.

It soon became clear that the city lacked an artistic and sophisticated stage that could take on the performance of classics as well as modern pieces. The situation only changed with the decision of the “Association of Hamburger Bürger zu St. Georg” and the well-known theater critic Heinrich E. Wallsee, who planned a spoken theater based on the model of the Vienna Burgtheater . The location of the new theater had also already been determined: It was to be built in the former suburb of St. Georg near the planned central train station. The Deutsches Schauspielhaus was ultimately created through an amalgamation of private financiers, business people and leading Hamburg stage artists, such as the esteemed tragedian Franziska Ellmenreich , who were supposed to vouch for the artistic seriousness of the project. The playhouse remained a private theater until the Nazi era . In June 1899 the “Aktiengesellschaft Deutsches Schauspielhaus” was founded with 84 partners. The theater city Vienna was taken as a model and so the choice fell on the experienced Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer . The result was a theater in the neo-baroque style with 1,831 seats for a good million marks, the shape of which was based on the Deutsche Volkstheater in Vienna, which was also built by the architect duo. The new Supervisory Board decided to Baron Alfred Berger , formerly a professor of literature in Vienna, as the first director of the house.

The grand opening of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus took place on September 15, 1900. Berger gave a prologue, Beethoven's The Consecration of the House , and Goethe's Iphigenie auf Tauris was performed. In the first decade of the house under Berger, the classics Shakespeare , Goethe, Schiller and contemporary playwrights were primarily played. The only drawback was the long performances, which usually lasted up to six hours due to the break in renovations. This was not least due to Berger's set designs , which were often elaborate and detailed. Berger met the expectations of the Hamburg theater audience and received broad approval from the bourgeoisie, which was confirmed by the extraordinarily high sales of subscriptions .

However, works by Friedrich Hebbels , which were still considered suitable for the stage at the turn of the century, remained the only new thing about the Deutsches Schauspielhaus. It wasn't until Berger returned to Vienna in 1910 that the modern age began for the theater . Under the new artistic director Carl Hagemann , a new and modern understanding of theater emerged in Hamburg. The sets were less grand and came in new colors and shapes. Hagemann wanted to draw attention to the poet's word, which should be underlined by the sets and not dominated. Hagemann's turning away from naturalism took place in Hamburg which was already well advanced in Berlin . Theatrical critics were enthusiastic, but the Hamburg audience felt the onset of modernity was too sudden and mourned the director Berger, his program and his pompous and illusionistic stage designs. Hagemann's literary theater did not meet with the approval of the public and after the house had lost many viewers and especially subscribers, he gave up after just three years and separated in disagreement from the supervisory board of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus.

The theater in the Weimar Republic

After Hagemann left the Deutsches Schauspielhaus, the new theater development was discontinued. The new director was Max Grube , who mainly had to do with getting the theater through the years of the First World War . During this time, Grube did not bring anything new and did not conduct any experiments .

The program and the given national sentiments of the gentlemen of the theater turned into an aggressive nationalism with the beginning of the war . The stage increasingly lost its regular guests and thus also its income.

When Grube handed over the theater at the end of the war, it was in a catastrophic state, both structurally and financially. Under the new artistic director, the Viennese writer Paul Eger , the theater once again became a bourgeois court stage. This decline could be explained by the fact that Eger was a Berger student and therefore aimed for an anachronistic theater program in republican times . Eger, like its predecessor, understood the Deutsches Schauspielhaus as a theater of classics. The social changes in the course of the Weimar Republic and the First World War had not reached the theater. Eger was the only one to modernize the stage and rejuvenate the ensemble . What Eger did not realize was that the upper-class audience had decreased and changed. In addition, the theater was unable to attract any new audiences with its conventional game design. In particular, in addition to the other stages and entertainment options in Hamburg, the new " movie theaters " of the Weimar Republic became serious competition for all theaters. More and more people turned away from the theater and towards the cinemas. The 1920s were a particularly critical time for the theater financially. The generally difficult economic situation and internal cost increases made the theater difficult to cope with.

Even the new director Erich Ziegel could not change the miserable financial situation. Artistically, he was bound by a director's contract and had to run the house in Berger's sense. In 1928 the Deutsches Schauspielhaus was on the verge of bankruptcy and the financial problems in the global economic crisis forced the managing directors to merge the house with the Thalia Theater . Under the general management of Hermann Röbbeling , the director of the Thalia Theater, a mixed repertoire of classics and newer pieces was played. In 1929, the growing political radicalization led to the largest theater scandal in the history of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus. Ferdinand Bruckner's play Die Verbrecher was blown up by National Socialist circles under the leadership of MPs from the NSDAP . When the disturbances continued, the piece was removed from the program after only eleven performances.

Due to the growing political radicalization, the recording of further critical time pieces was prevented and the theater switched to another entertainment program. After the merger hadn't changed the difficult economic situation of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus and the Thalia Theater, the two houses were separated again in 1932.

The Theater in the Third Reich and World War II: Politics and Destruction

Karl Wüstenhagen was appointed the new director in 1932. As early as 1934, the house was nationalized in accordance with the National Socialist cultural policy and thus saved from bankruptcy. Due to the size of the theater, it could no longer be operated as a private theater before that. Under the National Socialists, the theater was then renamed the “State Playhouse”.

From then on, a controlling state commissioner set the direction and so the German theater was transformed into a national religious place of worship. Due to the great desire of the house to adapt to the political requirements of the state, all Jewish ensemble members were dismissed between 1933 and 1935. There were also changes in the interior and so all pomp and stucco was painted over. Works by Jewish authors and communists were no longer allowed to be performed and after the war began, works from "enemy states" were no longer allowed. Nevertheless, the theater did not become a political stage for propaganda stagings and so the classics continued to dominate the program. In the last years of the war, the number of performances had to be further reduced. The house suffered damage mainly in the nights of bombing, but thanks to the protection provided by the in-house air raid guard, it was saved from major destruction. In September 1944, all theaters in Germany were closed, and the Deutsches Schauspielhaus subsequently functioned as an armaments workshop, which was located in the stage. The auditorium served as a movie theater.

Two thirds of Hamburg's theaters were destroyed after the end of the war and the Deutsches Schauspielhaus was one of the few buildings in the city that was largely intact. The theater building was confiscated by the British occupying forces in May 1945 and used under the name "Garrison Theater". Only gradually did the house return to German hands.

Reconstruction and great success

After the end of the war in 1945, Hamburg was a city of rubble and also had to accommodate more than a million inhabitants. The housing shortage was great and many buildings were used for other purposes. The theater buildings in Hamburg were also badly damaged, if not completely destroyed. Only a few theater buildings were still fit for play, such as the Kammerspiele, the Thalia Theater and the Deutsches Schauspielhaus. The latter was not available as the English occupiers claimed the building for themselves.

Under the provisional direction of Rudolf Külüs , the ensemble of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus established itself in the trade union building at Besenbinderhof . On November 5, 1945 Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew was performed there as the first post-war play. The military government refrained from interfering in the cultural program and its administration.

Under the direction of Arthur Hellmer , who took up the post of artistic director in 1946, impressive performances of both classical and contemporary works took place. Hellmer relied on a cultural exchange and showed French and Anglo-American plays as well as exile drama. Although he was celebrated by the public, Hellmer had to endure criticism from the press and politicians for two years until he decided to leave in 1948. From 1948 to 1955, pieces from the classical and contemporary international repertoire were on the program under the direction of Albert Lippert and under the dramaturgy of Ludwig Benninghoff.

From 1955 to 1963, under Gustaf Gründgens , the Deutsches Schauspielhaus achieved its highest reputation in terms of theater history and even reached the Burgtheater in Vienna. During his directorship, Gründgens managed to give the theater a new and secure identity. From then on, classical music was on the program, played by well-known actors. Gründgens made the final breakthrough with his Goethe production of Faust , which went down in history as " Hamburger Faust " and became known far beyond Germany through numerous guest performances. Despite the great success, Gründgens never opened up to the new understanding of theater that emerged after the end of National Socialism. And so he stayed with the classics and made the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg a stronghold of post-war theater.

A time of crisis and the rise of the Hamburg theater

Gründgens was celebrated by the public and the press. After his departure, it was not easy for his successors to survive before them. The time after Gründgens was marked by frequent changes in the Deutsches Schauspielhaus. This was due to the management of some artistic directors, but especially to the extremely difficult identification of the theater.

In 1963, Oscar Fritz Schuh from Munich , who staged operas in Hamburg, was named Gründgens' successor. Despite its modernized program and the best space utilization since the end of the war, Schuh did not come up against the myth of Gründgens. Due to the strong criticism from the press, the audience and even the actors, Schuh did not extend his contract and, like so many before and after him, left the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in frustration. In the 1960s there was a strong exodus of entire audiences in the theater. This was particularly due to the new media preferences of the audience, who were increasingly drawn to cinema and television .

Perhaps for that very reason the new director was elected, a television man. Egon Monk was head of the television game department of the NDR until 1968 and had learned from Bertolt Brecht . He understood the theater primarily as an instrument of political instruction. It was precisely this attitude that irritated the audience and the critics and ultimately led to an empty house. Monk's directorship ended after only 74 days and went down in history as the shortest in history. Three other directors followed Monk: Gerhard Hirsch, who took his own life, Hans Lietzau and Rolf Liebermann . They all stayed at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus for only one year and had to struggle with growing income deficits and the dwindling audience. Only Liebermann succeeded in countering the growing gap between the theater avant-garde and the preferences of the audience in 1971 . For this purpose, Hamburg received an experimental stage that could perform avant-garde theater works in front of a small audience: the painter's hall. This became the main theater of the Junge Schauspielhaus.

From 1972 the theater opened to works by foreign authors under the direction of Ivan Nagel , a theorist and advocate of new forms of theater. The productions of very modern authors sometimes met with little acceptance from the conservative Hamburg theater audience, but attracted a young audience. In 1976 more than a third of the visitors to the Schauspielhaus were under 25 years of age, which made the theater once again one of the top German theaters. Nagel brought great directors into the house, like Peter Zadek . Its production of Shakespeare's Othello , with Ulrich Wildgruber and Eva Mattes in the leading roles, caused the biggest post-war Hamburg theater scandal in 1976 .

In the years 1981–1984, restoration work was carried out on the theater to regain the original space. The original concept of the Viennese architects Helmer and Fellner should present itself in a new / old splendor. During this time the ensemble played under the artistic director Niels-Peter Rudolph in the Operettenhaus and in the former Kampnagel factory . In 1985 Peter Zadek took over the management of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus and immediately took action against the new / old form of the representative stage with pinball machines in the foyer. He took on the difficult double task of artistic director and director. Zadek managed to inspire the audience and the press and successfully undermined the elitist character of the theater with changed internal management structures and unit prices on one day a week. However, this led to competitive conflicts and a decrease in the audience.

After Zadek's directorship, the Englishman Michael Bogdanov was brief and less artistic . The following season in 1993/94 was headed by the theater scholar Frank Baumbauer , whose directorship was marked by a reconsideration and in the course of which he wanted to give the theater its own profile. Good ensemble work and recourse to the theater's own language followed this principle. Thanks to Baumbauer's involvement of German-speaking contemporary authors and the new high-ranking ensemble, the face of the theater was renewed and it once again became an important stage in Germany.

The program of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus at that time consisted of 60% contemporary works. During the seven years of Baumbauer's management, the theater was named “Theater of the Year” four times by the critics of the trade journal Theater heute . Numerous invitations and honors confirm the theater's reputation as the “cultural ambassador of the city”. The Baumbauers directorship ends in 2000 with a big party on the occasion of the 100th birthday of the house.

The German theater in the 21st century

In the new millennium, the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg started again. Tom Stromberg was brought to the theater as the new director and broke not only with the choice of his in-house directors, but also with his program and the new house concept. Stromberg was particularly known for his experimental and international theater. He gave traditional spoken , dance and musical theater new forms. For this he worked with international greats such as Jan Lauwers , Jérôme Bel and Heiner Goebbels . Stromberg opens the gates for other art forms, such as the visual arts and the new media . He also strove to collaborate with Hamburg museums, with performance and installation artists, with filmmakers and international theater groups. The audience stayed away for two seasons and important employees left the house. Only then did the directors Jan Bosse , René Pollesch , Stefan Pucher and Ingrid Lausund attract a young audience with original productions of traditional plays such as Faust and Othello. For the 2004/2005 season, leading theater critics from Austria, Switzerland and the Federal Republic of Germany voted the Deutsches Schauspielhaus as Theater of the Year.

Friedrich Schirmer has been the artistic director since 2005 . The Junge Schauspielhaus now also uses the second-tier foyer (approx. 80 seats) and the marble hall. Other venues are the canteen and the rehearsal stage. Outside the main building, the Deichtorhallen and the Hamburg Embassy (a club in the Schanzenviertel ) are used. Schirmer's contract was extended to 2015 on October 7, 2008, which should enable him to “give a big stage a profile over a longer period of time,” said Karin von Welck, then Senator for Culture . In mid-September 2010, Schirmer announced that he would be stepping down as director early on September 30, 2010 and terminating his contract.

From October 2010 until the end of the 2012/13 season, Jack F. Kurfess was acting head of the Schauspielhaus. During this time, Florian Vogel was the artistic director . Since the 2013/2014 season, the theater director Karin Beier , who was previously active in Cologne, has been the director of the Schauspielhaus.

In 2015 Karin Henkel's production of Henrik Ibsen's “John Gabriel Borkman” was invited to the Berlin Theatertreffen . In 2016 the Deutsches Schauspielhaus will be present at the Theatertreffen with the productions "Ship of Dreams - A European Requiem" based on Fellini (director: Karin Beier) and "Effi Briest - but with a different text and also a different melody" by Clemens Sienknecht and Barbara Bürk based on Fontane . Also in 2016, the Deutsches Schauspielhaus accepted an invitation from the Brandhaarden Festival and presented a retrospective with five productions in the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam .


Building history

As early as the 1890s, voices were heard from the population and the press for the construction of a new representative spoken theater. The theater owes its construction to the press in particular. The journalist Heinrich E. Wallsee, editor of the conservative Hamburger Nachrichten , attributed the poor choice of the plays of the Thalia Theater and the Stadttheater to an existing lack of competition. He succeeded in bringing together the various groups that had previously been looking for a solution for themselves. Wallsee brought together the “Association of Hamburg Citizens of St. Georg”, a group of leading Hamburg stage artists and a group of financially strong businessmen. A broker in St. Georg established the connection to the lawyer Heinrich Nils Antoine-Feil, who became the driving force of the company and later chairman of the supervisory board of that stock corporation.

Deutsches Schauspielhaus - corner of Kirchenallee (1901)

The "Deutsche Schauspielhaus AG" was founded on July 14, 1899 with a share capital of one million marks in 1,000 bearer shares of 1,000 marks each. These quickly found their owners in 84 shareholders. The founders had already contacted the experienced Fellner und Helmer architects in May and asked for several designs to be submitted. One of the shareholders was Baron Alfred Eger who later became the first director of the theater through the enforcement of Wallsee. A site map dated May 9th confirmed that the property issue had already been resolved. This means that a ready-to-build design was available before the company was founded. The foundation stone was laid on August 12, 1899, and a year later, on September 15, 1900, the German Theater was put into operation. The construction of the theater cost a total of 1,091,660 marks.


St. Georg is still the second oldest suburb in Hamburg and initially served as an alternative point for medium-sized businesses that were driven out of the city center. Around 1900, however, the northern part became the fourth most expensive district, as it benefited most from the newly planned city development. Its central location, the lines of local and long-distance transport that converged here and finally the construction of the central train station, which was completed in 1906, promised great profit.

Through contacts, the founders of the “Deutsche Schauspielhaus AG” got a piece of land at a bargain price of 590,000 marks. The partly free-standing theater was placed on the three street fronts of a building block. The front is facing Kirchenallee, the long side is facing Kapellenstrasse and the back is facing Borgesch-Strasse. The theater is not a free-standing theater, but is based on one side of the Hotel Continental Novum. The central train station is located in the immediate vicinity of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus.


Floor plan - first and second floor (1901)

The Deutsches Schauspielhaus was developed according to the diagonal system. Side stairs, foyer and corridors adhere to the well-known and often used designs by Fellner and Helmer. The large hall is designed on the model of the Volkstheater in Vienna. This happened at the express request of Baron Alfred Berger, who already appreciated this hall during his time in Vienna.

With its 1,900 seats, including around 300 standing places, the Deutsches Schauspielhaus is the largest of the German spoken theaters. If you measure the capacity, it is hard to believe that the Hamburg theater is a prime example of thrift. Both in terms of the construction costs and the built-up area, which only measures a modest 2,210 m².

Exterior design

The Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg shows, in comparison to other buildings by the architect duo, a rather atypical theater facade for Fellner and Helmer. With its main facade facing the Kirchenallee, the theater presents itself as a nine-axis plastered building with a square plinth . The main floor is optically structured by Corinthian columns and pilasters . The architects deliberately did without a motif that dominates the facade and so a narrow, unadorned attic zone was created under the strongly protruding cornice . The stilted dome over the three-axis central projection, with the arched windows in front of the main foyer, divided by struts, sets the theater apart from its immediate surroundings. During the construction, the theater had to take into account the development of the Kirchenallee. The Hamburg construction police did not allow steps leading up to the entrance or a porch that would have enabled a car to pass through. The monumentalization so desired could not be achieved.

The construction of the new central train station brought about significant changes between the city center and St. Georg. The neighboring buildings of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus were converted into large hotel complexes and literally shot up. In order to be able to remain in competition with the surroundings, the architects Fellner and Helmer relied on the long-distance effect of the dome, which even today protrudes between the buildings. With the splendid baroque design of the facade, the architectural duo had a purpose: the purpose and function of the building, as a palace dedicated to the classics , should be immediately recognizable. This is underlined by the arrangement of columns and pilasters on the main floor and the busts of poets that adorn the windows of the side staircases in pairs. The busts of poets, including Schiller, Goethe and Shakespeare, are in decorated medallions and can be found on all three sides .

Interior design and equipment

Deutsches Schauspielhaus, longitudinal section (1901)

The architects Fellner and Helmer, who are experienced in theater buildings, had an architectural oeuvre of over 200 buildings, including villas, banks, department stores and 47 theaters built between 1870 and 1910. They worked closely with specialist firms, some of which were among the best of their time. So they had specialists for iron structures, stage technology, furniture and equipment. The Viennese company Strictius should be mentioned by name, which took care of the stucco work on the wall, ceiling and parapet surfaces. The company already worked with Fellner and Helmer at the theaters in Vienna, Prague and Zurich. In this sense, the Deutsches Schauspielhaus appears to be “fraternally related” to the theaters mentioned.

In the 19th century, three main functional areas had emerged as those determining theater construction and were increasingly consolidated. The entrance wing with the ticket hall, above which the main foyer and the side stairwells were, was designed more and more lavishly and splendidly. This was followed by the auditorium with the passageways, which was reserved for the public. Finally, one stepped into the large stage building with the adjoining adjoining rooms.

Due to the new fire protection regulations of 1889, with which one reacted to the devastating theater fires, it was impossible to combine the building parts under one roof, as was the case with the Frankfurt Opera House (1873–1880). The basilica long house type, which can still be seen in earlier buildings by Fellner and Helmer, disappeared and made way for a three-part ensemble. The ordinance stated that the stage building had to be isolated from the auditorium and raised above it. In addition, the stairways to the upper tiers should be segregated. This development led to the two architects' typical diagonal system. From the outside it was evident in the three-part facade structure in the central projectile and the corner buildings. The longitudinal section shows that the entrance wing and the stage are the same height. In between is the auditorium as a separate structure with a lower domed roof. It acts as a connecting part and offers visitors around 1,900 places.

In 1913, the "Marble Hall" was set up in the Art Deco style where the first floor foyer had previously been in connection with the changing room and a cloakroom .


Interior view of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus, around 1900

The interior design of the auditorium in the Deutsches Schauspielhaus is an architectural copy of the Deutsche Volkstheater in Vienna that was built 10 years earlier. At the beginning of the 20th century, the auditorium was still in baroque splendor in the color triad of whitish-yellow tone as well as gold and red. This choice of color had been decided on over many years of experience and it was not only found in the theater in Hamburg.

Thanks to the plasterers' hands, trained in the Austrian Baroque , the walls, ceilings and parapet surfaces are richly decorated with rocailles , rhombuses and networks as well as figurative motifs. The auditorium has 15 boxes on each side , each with an entrance and a passage. The two tiers are criss-crossed by supporting columns and their design is coordinated. This shows the characteristics of the auditorium, which is one of the best of the Viennese architectural duo. With the playhouse they almost managed to square the circle in a combination of size and splendid furnishings. The exclusive seats were moved to the side areas. It is noteworthy that with this large number of seats, the theater can only manage with two amphitheatrically steeply rising tiers.

A comparable ascending arrangement can also be found in the Stadttheater Gießen (1906–1907) and the Graz Opera (1899), which were also designed and built by Fellner and Helmer. Fellner and Helmer's maxim was to place the highest possible number of visitors on an optimally used floor space. Even the worst places, i.e. those with the shortest possible distance and the flatest possible viewing angle to the stage, should be accommodated.

Restoration work in 1984

In the course of repair work on the stage and stage technology of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in 1984 , it was decided at the last minute to also have the auditorium, the entrance foyer and the stairs to the first tier undergo a restoration. The auditorium in particular was in a shabby condition. However, the funds were only approved very late and so monument preservers and restorers only had four months to spare. The aim was to restore the historical furnishings and the color scheme. The color scheme in particular had suffered heavily in the course of the redesign measures of the last century.

The preliminary investigations showed that the wall and ceiling surfaces were processed a total of four times in different designs and colors. These can be associated with the following construction phases of the theater.

  1. 1899–1900: The original version had gold and metal plating. In addition, there were different installation techniques of draft and ornamental stucco. What is special are the two ceiling paintings, the main picture of which shows the “homage to Hamburg's city goddess”, Hammonia . This is surrounded by 14 round pictures seated in the arcade arches. These show the 12 signs of the zodiac and two landscapes. The Munich court painter Carl von Marr painted the "Triumph of Apollo" above the proscenium ceiling .
  2. 1934: The "State Drama Theater", now known under the National Socialists, was subjected to a first complete renovation. Here, the interior was covered in a bright white paint and the entire richness of color and gold disappeared. A “color improvement of the original room image” was aimed at. The main ceiling painting was already in poor condition at the time, but nothing namable was done to remedy this. The entire electrical system was overhauled and replaced with new lighting.
  3. 1944: Already at this point and after the end of the war, the theater was used as a cinema. The layers of paint discovered during the preliminary investigation suggest that a light gray coat of paint occurred during this time.
  4. 1957–1962: As part of construction work, the ceiling painting of the proscenium was now completely painted over with an opaque coat of paint and decorated with stucco flowers. The gray color was repainted with a lighter white. Already at that time the existence of the ceiling painting, the "Triumph of Apollo", had been forgotten. It was only rediscovered after the scaffolding and through donations from the Hamburg population, which ultimately led to the excavation and restoration. The iron curtain , which imitated a textile surface and had vegetal Art Nouveau border ornamentation, was painted over with an opaque red.

After the examination of the findings, restoration work could begin. All overpaintings were removed from the background surfaces, draft and ornamental stucco were exposed, stucco figures and other stucco decoration were brought back to their gilded surfaces.

80% of the original stock and thus the impressive room decoration from the turn of the century could be recovered. Even the lighting was brought back to indirect light and the auditorium could again be equipped with lamps based on designs by Fellner and Helmers. In the foyer and the stairways to the first tier, the first white version was under seven layers of paint. Even the intermediate platform mirrors on the stairs had been painted over seven times. Under linoleum coverings and layers of cement mortar, a gray and green colored stone floor with mosaic incrustations emerged, which now shows itself in its splendor in the entrance foyer. After the four months given, the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg was able to reopen in its new / old splendor on September 30, 1984.

Construction projects 2012/13

Before Karin Beier became the first director of a woman in 2013, extensive renovation work began. While the stage and its technology were being refurbished, the pieces were performed all year round on the “playing field”, a stage in the middle of the auditorium. For this very special production, the Schauspielhaus asked well-known authors to write and develop pieces especially for the “Spielfeld”. Thus, the visitors of the 2012/13 season were offered the full range of contemporary theater forms. The absence of an audience was not feared in the new season. After all, the Deutsches Schauspielhaus was able to book a record of 240,000 visitors last year.

Another building project for the theater, the implementation of which was planned after the 2011/12 season, had to give way to renovations. The stage tower was to be given a new and modern face through an architectural competition. A jury decided in favor of the design by the Aachen architects Bischof & Hermansdorfer. A simple white cube was to be erected directly behind the facade of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus. But the 18 million euro project will most likely only be implemented later. From the summer of 2012 to the end of 2013, the theater was renovated and received new stage machinery for 16.5 million euros . The auditorium is being restored.



  • 100 years of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg . Edited by the Center for Theater Research at the University of Hamburg and the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. Dölling and Galitz Verlag, Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-933374-34-0 .
  • Hans-Christoph Hoffmann: The theater buildings by Fellner and Helmer . Prestel Verlag, Munich 1966, ISBN 3-7913-0128-4 .
  • Volker Konerding: Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg - restoration . In: German Art and Monument Preservation , Vol. 46.

Web links

Commons : Deutsches Schauspielhaus  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Web sources

Individual evidence

  1. a b ( Memento from February 11, 2013 in the web archive ) (August 12, 2012)
  2. a b c s. (Ed.) 1999, p. 11.
  3. a b ( Memento from February 11, 2013 in the web archive ) (August 12, 2012)
  4. s. (Ed.) 1999, p. 15.
  5. s. (Ed.) 1999, p. 38.
  6. ( Memento from February 12, 2013 in the web archive ) (August 12, 2012)
  7. s. (Ed.) 1999, p. 63.
  8. ( Memento from February 11, 2013 in the web archive ) (August 12, 2012)
  9. ( Memento from February 12, 2013 in the web archive ) (August 12, 2012)
  10. ( Memento from February 11, 2013 in the web archive ) (August 12, 2012)
  11. (August 12, 2012)
  12. (August 12, 2012)
  13. ( Memento from February 18, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (August 12, 2012)
  14. ( Memento of the original from February 24, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Website of the Berliner Festspiele, accessed on February 24, 2016. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  15. Website of the Berliner Festspiele (archive), accessed on February 24, 2016.
  16. a b s. Hoffmann 1966, p. 100.
  17. s. Hoffmann 1966, p. 101.
  18. s. Giesing. In: (Ed.) 1999, p. 224.
  19. a b s. Giesing. In: (Ed.) 1999, p. 222.
  21. see
  22. s. Giesing. In: (Ed.) 1999, p. 223f.
  23. Konerding 1988. p. 79 ff.
  26. Intendancy: Beier start in Hamburg is delayed . In: Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger , January 7, 2013 (dpa)
  27. Theater director from 1900 to today ( memento of the original from March 7, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /