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The term dramaturgy (from the Greek δραματουργία drāmatūrgía "dramatic representation") has several meanings today, including a. Drama, Science of the Art of Drama and Theater. The Duden lists the following meanings:

  • Doctrine of the external design and the regularities of the internal structure of the drama
  • dramatic figure, dramatic structure of a drama, [TV] film, radio play or similar.
  • Department of dramaturges employed in the theater, radio or television

Originally the term refers to the composition of dramas .


According to Gottfried Fischborn , the term can be applied to all procedural and structured activities, communicative acts ( including speech acts ), sequences of events and processes in people's social and individual lives, in the sphere of symbolic representation as well as in everyday life, in reality like in the arts. Structuring ( shape ) in space and time and communicativity are indispensable for the applicability of the term - completely unstructured processes or those without communicative intention or effect also have no dramaturgy.

Accordingly, the following products and activities would have a "dramaturgy quality":

  • literarily fixed texts, especially dramas and scripts
  • the performance of a drama in the theater or in other media
  • the entire complex of (according to Richard Schechner ) public performance activities, i.e. apart from theater free play , play according to rules, sporting events, theatrically designed rituals , performances and political shows .
  • the entire area of ​​symbolically occupied communication, representation and reflexivity
  • other social, anthropological and individual psychological phenomena, provided that they are structured according to time and space and occur in an eventful manner.


Dramaturgy also describes the work of the dramaturge in the theater or in film . The dramaturgy department is responsible for the content and conceptual orientation of a theater. In close cooperation with the theater management, the dramaturgy develops a profile that is primarily represented by the program. In addition, the work of dramaturgy in today's theater includes complex tasks that are weighted differently depending on the theater. Essential points are

  • Reading and selection of suitable works for the program
  • Funding for authors, collaboration with composers
  • Search for directors , set designers, etc.
  • Editing and translation of dramatic texts; in music theater, setting up operas or libretti ( line version = definition of abbreviations), in opera developing surtitles
  • Development of background knowledge and material for the directing team and the actors
  • Supervision of rehearsal work (within the scope of production dramaturgy), close cooperation with the director
  • Development of projects (research, development of texts in close cooperation with the director and the actors)
  • Creation and editing of the program and other publications
  • if necessary, budget responsibility for the productions (this is regulated differently at the theaters)
  • Press and public relations
  • Introductory events, audience discussions
  • Conducting a dramaturgy session

In addition to these specific tasks, dramaturges are usually involved in the decision-making processes of the theater management in many areas, on the other hand also contact persons for the members of the ensemble in many questions .


In the field of film and television production, dramaturgical knowledge is required especially when developing new scripts .

The task of permanently employed dramaturges includes the search for new material as well as the supervision of the scripts under development. However, proven specialists in the industry are rather rare in German-speaking countries. There are only a few dramaturges or heads of developments permanently employed in production companies. Most of the script development is done by producers and producers who are not always adequately trained.

In Germany, freelance dramaturges often operate under the professional title of "Script Consultant". The task of the script consultant is to analyze an existing script version and to deal with all relevant aspects of a film project such as B. to deal with figures, topic and structure in detail and in detail, highlighting strengths and weaknesses. The results of this analysis are usually recorded in writing, but above all, possible solutions are sought in a constructive conversation with the author , the producer and sometimes the director .

The Association for Film and Television Dramaturgy (VeDRA) brings together professional dramaturges in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Dramaturgies as fonts

As dramaturgy also manuals are meant for writing or understanding of dramatic texts. Classical texts include the Poetics (around 335 BC) by Aristotle , Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's Hamburg Dramaturgy (1767–69), passages from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's lectures on aesthetics (1835–38) or Bertolt Brecht's Kleines Organon for the theater (1946).


The demand for a dramaturgy in the theater was first formulated by Johann Elias Schlegel . Gotthold Ephraim Lessing held the position of dramaturge at the Hamburg National Theater and named his fields of activity for the first time in the Hamburg Dramaturgy . He emphasized the preoccupation with dramatic literature and aesthetic theories, the drafting of a current program and the reflection on the theater itself. In a certain sense, Goethe and Schiller can also be called dramaturges; like Lessing, both wrote dramatic texts, but also developed programmatic considerations about the theater. In addition to Lessing, the first dramaturges were Joseph Schreyvogel , Ludwig Tieck , Karl Immermann , and later Heinrich Laube and Otto Brahm .

In the course of the development of the direction , the tasks of the dramaturge listed above have diversified more and more since the beginning of the 20th century. With Brecht's work at the Berliner Ensemble , the production-related work of the dramaturge was introduced, which finally found its way into German theaters after 1968 . At the same time the profession became more scientifical; The dramaturge's task is to make scientific knowledge from various disciplines accessible and usable for the creative process of the creation of theater. In this sense, too, the task of production support gained in importance.

Today, the professional profile of the theater dramaturge is constantly changing, parallel to the content and structural reorientation of the institution. On the one hand, the profession is characterized by increasing complexity, which has recently resulted in the outsourcing of classic fields of work of the dramaturge and cooperation with specialized service providers (e.g. PR, script or casting) , especially in the area of public relations and marketing, which has also become increasingly important for theater Agencies). On the other hand, new fields of activity are emerging for dramaturges, for example due to the increase in projects in the repertoire of city and state theaters, which are usually developed in close cooperation between director and dramaturgy.

In the independent scene, the role of the dramaturge is more like that of the curator , who is responsible for the content of the project from the development of the story to the premiere and at the same time develops adequate marketing strategies. A field of activity for dramaturges that is gaining in importance are festivals , whereby here, too, curation is more likely than the classic dramaturgical work.

In film and computer games , the demand for and importance of dramaturgy is steadily increasing. This is due to the growing professionalization and differentiation of the production process.



Theater text


  • Peter Rabenalt: film dramaturgy. Vista 1999; Revised new edition by Alexander Verlag, Berlin | Cologne, 2011, ISBN 978-3-89581-243-9 .
  • Richard Blank, screenplay. Everything at the beginning - farewell to the classic dramaturgy. Alexander Verlag, Berlin | Cologne, 2011, ISBN 978-3-89581-241-5 .
  • Jean-Claude Carrière / Pascal Bonitzer: Screenwriting and storytelling. Alexander Verlag, Berlin | Cologne, 2011, ISBN 978-3-89581-244-6 .
  • Robert McKee: STORY. The principles of screenwriting. 2000, ISBN 3-89581-045-2 .
  • Linda Seger: From the figure to the character. Alexander Verlag, Berlin | Cologne 1999, ISBN 3-89581-034-7 .
  • Michaela Krützen: Dramaturgy of the film. As Hollywood says. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-596-16021-9 .
  • Frank Sagawe: A comparison of script concepts. An examination of script training manuals. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, Saarbrücken 2007, ISBN 978-3-8364-0613-0 .
  • Jürgen Mohring: Dramaturgy made in Hollywood - or: How are successful films made? 2007, ISBN 978-3-8334-8499-5 .
  • Kerstin Stutterheim, Silke Kaiser: Handbook of the film dramaturgy. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-631-57239-9 .
  • Gunther Eschke, Rudolf Bohne: Stay tuned! Dramaturgy of TV series. UVK, Konstanz 2010, ISBN 978-3-86764-176-0 .
  • Jens Eder: The dramaturgy of popular films. Screenwriting practice and film theory. 3rd edition Lit, Hamburg, Münster 2009. Online .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. a b Dramaturgie, the digital dictionary of the German language, accessed on April 26, 2018.
  2. Dramaturgy, the Duden, accessed on April 26, 2018.
  3. Theatricality - Dramaturgy - Dramatization. In: Gottfried Fischborn: Political culture and theatricality. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2012, p. 16.
  4. Richard Schechner: Approaches to Theory / Criticism, The Drama Review 4/1966.
  5. ^ Gottfried Fischborn: Theatricality - Dramaturgy - Dramatization. In: same: Political culture and theatricality. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2012, ISBN 978-3-631-63251-2 , p. 17.
  6. Welcome to the think tank. What does dramaturgy mean today? in: Theater heute, issue 1/2018. The Theaterverlag, Berlin 2018

Web links

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