Hamburger Kammerspiele

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Hamburger Kammerspiele 2004

The Hamburger Kammerspiele are a traditional, formerly municipal, now private theater in Hamburg-Rotherbaum in the Hamburg-Eimsbüttel district .


The Hamburger Kammerspiele, founded by Erich Ziegel in 1918, was officially opened on August 30, 1918 in Hamburg at Besenbinderhof. The first week was all about the writer and dramaturge Frank Wedekind (1864-1918), who died on March 9, 1918 . After the end of the First World War, the venue developed into a focal point of modern, expressionist theater in the 1920s . Works by Arthur Schnitzler , Frank Wedekind, Bertolt Brecht and Hans Henny Jahnn were performed here.

The neo-classical building on the Hartung street in Hamburg's Rotherbaum in 1863 by the businessman Otto Eduard Ferdinand penny built and hosted, among others, in 1904 the Jewish B'nai B'rith -Loge that until 1937, also next to the theater operation in which Logensaal their Held meetings. Although the Kammerspiele could only pay low fees during the Weimar Republic, the program featured the best ensembles and artists. These included Elisabeth Bergner , Ernst Deutsch , Käthe Dorsch , Heinrich George , Lucie Höflich , Asta Nielsen , Paul Wegener and also Rosa Valetti with her cabaret "Die Rampen". The Moscow Art Theater also performed here. Gustaf Gründgens was a member of the ensemble for five years . In 1930 the building had to be sold to the Anthroposophical Society due to the poor global economic situation, which , however, allowed the lodge and the theater to continue to use the house.

In the meantime the house had been expanded to include the neighboring building and developed into a center of the Jewish community in the district. In 1941 the Jewish Cultural Association was liquidated by the National Socialists and the theater was forcibly sold to the City of Hamburg. After the theater was closed, one of the collections of Jewish citizens took place there on July 11, 1942 for mass deportation to the extermination camps , with 375 Jews being deported to Auschwitz .

Poster for the world premiere of Borchert's Outside in front of the door (1947)

The theater was reopened in 1945 under the management of Ida Ehre . As a Jew, Ehre had survived imprisonment in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp . She wanted to make theater in this house, to present “human problems and problems of the world”, “which we were not allowed to know about for 12 years”. The reopening of the Hamburger Kammerspiele represented a new beginning in Hamburg and the idea of ​​a “theater of humanity and tolerance” (Ida Ehre). Milestones in the history of the theater were the world premiere of Wolfgang Borchert's play Draußen vor der Tür (1947) and the German premieres of many works by Jean Anouilh , TS Eliot , Jean Giraudoux , Jean-Paul Sartre and Thornton Wilder . After Ida Ehres death in 1989 the house was managed by Ursula Lingen , Stephan Barbarino , Gerd Schlesselmann , and from 1995 to 2003 by Ulrich Tukur and Ulrich Waller .

From the 2003/04 season the Hamburger Kammerspiele were led by Axel Schneider and Dietrich Wersich ; In July 2004, Holger Zebu Kluth replaced Dietrich Wersich as managing director. During the takeover, Artistic Director Axel Schneider emphasized the special roots and tradition of the house and his intention to “preserve and develop the theater for Hamburg”.

Since then, new ideas have been presented with productions such as live advertising on stage or film adaptations such as The Man Without a Past by Aki Kaurismäki and the guest direction by filmmaker Dieter Wedel . Typical, good chamber play and a series of readings are still an integral part of the program.

Both buildings of the theater were rebuilt and modernized in 2002, the main hall now holds 419 spectators. The box hall in the same building offers - depending on the seating - up to 100 spectators and is used for readings and cabaret.


In 1999, 2002, 2006 and 2007 the Hamburger Kammerspiele received the Pegasus Prize , which has been awarded to a Hamburg private theater every year since 1999. Since 1995 the theater has made guest appearances with its own productions at the Wiener Festwochen, the Ruhrfestspiele, the Festival Aua wir Leben in Bern, the Zürcher Theater Spektakel , the North German Theatertreffen and, among others, in Berlin ( Admiralspalast , Renaissance Theater ) and Vienna ( Theater in der Josefstadt ).

In 1999, the Hamburger Kammerspiele were invited to the 36th Berlin Theatertreffen with the Peter Zadek production of the play Cleansed by Sarah Kane .


Well-known ensemble members


  • Nothing but theater. The history of the Hamburger Kammerspiele. Edited by Ulrich Tukur and Ulrich Waller, Hamburg 2003.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Lodge hall in the Hamburger Kammerspiele

Coordinates: 53 ° 34 ′ 12 "  N , 9 ° 59 ′ 7.7"  E