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A dramaturge (from ancient Greek δραματουργός drāmatūrgós , German ' Drama author , drama poet ' ) is responsible for a variety of tasks in the theater and in related professional fields of coordination between the art process, administration and the public. For example, he works as a member of the Dramaturgy Departmentin the development of game schedules and is a literary expert for directors, artistic directors, the press and the public. As a production dramaturge, he is involved in the conceptual preparation process and rehearsal work for a production and is part of the directing team. He is both a critical interlocutor for the director and a mediating link between theater management, director and ensemble.

Dramaturges are also active today for concert organizers, the media ( radio , television , film ) and public organizations.


Originally, a dramaturge dealt with the selection and processing of dramatic texts, namely plays , librettos , scripts and radio plays . It is still his main occupation in the dramaturgies of the film production companies.

In the 18th / 19th In the 17th century, the dramaturge designed programmatic performances for the theater and at the same time contributed dramatic texts. Examples of this type of dramaturge are Gotthold Ephraim Lessing in Hamburg, Friedrich Schiller in Mannheim and Johann Wolfgang Goethe in Weimar.

Bertolt Brecht , Heiner Müller and Botho Strauss continued this tradition into the 20th century. The dramaturge was therefore a house author and translator at the theater, just as a conductor was also a house composer. In the French, Russian and English-speaking areas, a dramaturge is still considered an author. Bertolt Brecht initiated the content-artistic participation of dramaturges in the staging process to a decisive extent. The work of the production dramaturge, as it is still practiced today, goes back to him in all essentials. The job description of a dramaturge, which was still vague into the 1960s, was to gain profile through Horst Laube . According to Laube, the task of the dramaturge is not limited to creating the program. He is the interpreter of pieces who tries to get to the core of the pieces in a close exchange of ideas with the director. It was important to Laube to remove cuts, breaks and contradictions and less to convey the impression of a homogeneous whole.


The job description has changed significantly since the middle of the last century at the latest. A dramaturge at the theater usually works closely with the director (in music theater also with the conductor ) on a production and is a member of a directing team. Playwriting as a field of activity for dramaturges is now more the exception than the rule (playwrights who are also dramaturges include John von Düffel and Martin Heckmanns ). However, editing texts has remained an essential part of the dramaturgical work. Hardly a piece comes on stage today without deletions; Creating the so-called "line version" is a task of the dramaturge - after discussing the content with the director. In addition, there have recently been more and more adaptations of novels, films or other types of text that were not originally written for the theater. These stage versions are also often created by dramaturges if they are not commissioned to authors.

In general, the dramaturge at the Theater for is director scientifically trained professional in the design of the game board and the (further) development of the profile of the theater in the cultural environment of its location ( positioning ) an important partner. In cooperation with the director , he is also involved in the casting of the pieces (especially in the drama ) and the setting up of the text (or the score ). He is responsible for working out the historical background of a work and for including secondary literature in the conceptual work of the directing team.

The original preoccupation of the dramaturges with drama has expanded into the area of public relations , especially in the last few decades . Dramaturges at the theater are responsible for the accompanying publications (e.g. program booklet , theater newspaper; collaboration in poster design, monthly program design, annual magazine, etc.). They often also lead press conferences, help organize theater parties or organize public events such as guided tours, introductory events and public discussions. In music theater, the creation of German surtitles for foreign-language opera texts is added on a case-by-case basis .

They are also the point of contact for the trade press and work together with the stage publishers. In the course of commissioned works, they look after the text author and / or composer. In administrative terms, dramaturges (or at least the chief dramaturge) are usually involved in the management of a theater, but - unlike the artistic director - they have no direct authority . Because of this special position in the hierarchy of a theater apparatus, dramaturges are often also the point of contact for actors, singers and other participants in the process of creating a performance.

Quite a few theater directors previously worked as dramaturges, for example: Karl Pempelfort (1901–1975), Dieter Görne (* 1936), Volker Canaris (1942–2012), Michael Leinert (* 1942), Wulf Konold (1946–2010), Klaus Schultz (* 1947), Ulrich Khuon (* 1951), Friedrich Schirmer (* 1951), Paul Esterházy (* 1955), Joachim Lux (* 1957), Reinhard Palm (1957-2014) and Andreas Beck (* 1965).


The professional requirement for the work of the dramaturge at professional institutions is a university degree. Often this is a degree in theater studies , but this is not a requirement. Especially at large opera houses, musicologists are increasingly found in the dramaturgy . In Germany, several universities and colleges now offer master’s courses in dramaturgy, such as the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main , the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich , the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts , the Hamburg University of Music and Theater and others.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Dramaturg  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. Studio talk with Gertrud Höhler, March 9, 1982, broadcast: Galerie, Westdeutsches Fernsehen
  4. http://www.studieren-studium.com/master/Dramaturgie