"Ernst Busch" Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin

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"Ernst Busch" Academy of Dramatic Arts
founding 1951 (1905)
Sponsorship state
place Berlin
state Berlin
country Germany
Rector Holger Zebu Kluth
Students 238 in SS 2019
Website www.hfs-berlin.de
former logo

The Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art (HfS) was established in its current form in 1951 as the State Drama School Berlin with the rank of a technical college . It emerged from the private drama school, originally founded as the drama school of the German Theater , whose history dates back to 1905 and which was converted into a state technical school in 1951 as part of the nationalization of the entire training system in the GDR . In 1981 the HfS received university status and was named after the singer and actor Ernst Busch, who had died a year earlier .

In August 2018, the university moved into a new, central university building in Berlin-Mitte, Zinnowitzer Straße 11, which houses all departments of the university (drama, direction / dramaturgy, contemporary puppetry as well as the master’s courses in choreography and games & objects). The locations in the Theater an der Parkaue , in Immanuelkirchstraße and in Berlin-Schöneweide have been closed. The bat-studiotheater ( Berliner Arbeiter-Theater ) in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg will continue to be used by the university as a rehearsal and performance location.

Acting school of the German theater since 1905

The history of the university goes back to the drama school of the Deutsches Theater zu Berlin, which Max Reinhardt opened on October 2, 1905 . It belonged to the Deutsche Theater operated by Max Reinhardt since 1905 as part of Max Reinhardt's private theater company, which before 1933 consisted of 11 Berlin theaters. The first director of the school was Berthold Held. The classrooms were initially located on the ground floor of the Wesendonk Palace ( In den Zelten 21, near the Reichstag), where Reinhardt himself lived. After a few years she moved to the 2nd floor of the Kammerspiele of the Deutsches Theater , where she stayed until the end of the Reinhardt era. At this time the school already had its own rehearsal stage with proscenium. From 1931 Woldemar Runge took over the management of the drama school and incorporated a directing course into it. The teaching staff consisted u. a. from well-known actors from the German theater such as Gertrud Eysoldt , Eduard von Winterstein , Albert Steinrück and Berthold Held.

The drama school in the Deutsches Theater from 1933 to 1951

After Max Reinhardt gave up his theater company in 1932 , the National Socialists crushed him after 1933 and he was forced into exile, Heinz Hilpert became director of the Deutsches Theater in 1934 and ran the house through the period of National Socialism until it was closed in 1944. Under Hilpert's artistic The school continued to be patronized as an independent economic unit as a drama school in the Deutsches Theater . After Woldmar Runge's death, Hugo Werner-Kahle took over the management and the school moved to the theater Die Tribüne in Berlin-Charlottenburg, where there was no regular theater between 1938 and 1945. From 1938, the school's Propaganda Ministry approved a Reich grant . In return, the Reich Theater Chamber took over the supervision of the school. In 1944 all theaters and schools in Berlin were closed due to the devastating effects of World War II .

In 1946, Hugo Werner-Kahle tried to restart the school in the rooms that had been preserved in the bombed Schiller Theater , but found no willingness to cooperate with Gustav von Wangenheim, the first post-war director of the German Theater . Nonetheless, on July 1, 1946, teaching, which had been subsidized by the Berlin City Administration, was resumed and Rudolf Hammacher became headmaster. After the currency reform in 1948, the school gave up the used rooms of the destroyed Schiller Theater in the west of the city and the director of the Deutsches Theater, Wolfgang Langhoff , who succeeded Wangenheim, made it possible that the lessons could only partially take place again in the Deutsches Theater until 1951. The actually formative teaching authority of the post-war period was the actress Gerda Müller . The school was financed from funds from the Ministry of Public Education until it was converted into a state technical school . The time at school was increased from two to three years, with the third year mainly being practiced in productions by the German theater.

State Drama School in Berlin and the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in the GDR until 1989

In September 1951, the GDR Ministry of Culture formally closed all drama schools in the GDR that had been private until then. In addition to the German Theater Institute in Leipzig and the State Technical School for Dramatic Art in Leipzig, the State Drama School Berlin emerged from the drama school in the German theater and the DEFA drama studio. The State Drama School Berlin was housed in a former boathouse in Schöneweide. Classes began there in November 1951. Conceptually, it was aligned to a curriculum with the second party conference of the SED at the education to the socialist personality was oriented. After various changes in management, complaints from the theater about the isolation of the drama school from practical theater work and interventions by the Ministry of Culture, the artistic direction of the school was returned to a theater professional in 1958: Wolfgang Heinz . On the one hand, he succeeded in reducing the influence of the Ministry on the school. From 1960 he also took over the administrative management from Helmut Zocher . On the other hand, together with Rudolf Penka , who became his deputy , he managed to adopt Stanislawski's principles free of ideological premises . In agreement with Wolfgang Heinz, Rudolf Penka took over the management of the school in 1962. From this time on, the basic seminar , which was also practiced at the HfS, came into being, which essentially comprises a basic program developed by the lecturers Hildegard Buchwald-Wegeleben , Rudolf Penka, Veronika Drogi and Gertrud Elisabeth Zillmer and which is based on the best traditions of German theater. Basically based on the knowledge and results of the theater work of Konstantin Stanislawski and Bertolt Brecht . It was very important to Penka that all subjects taught at the school should be subordinated to the artistic education of the future actor in her self-image. A fourth year of study was introduced from 1969 in order to realize the old idea of ​​a studio stage, i.e. to enable students to practice as an ensemble before they were individually hired at the theaters. In 1975, Rudolf Penka asked to be recalled for health reasons. Possibly the step was also based on the increasing pressure to make education less liberal and to adapt it more to the strictly regulated principles of socialist education.

As early as the late 1960s, there were attempts to establish training for puppeteers at the school under the direction of Heinz Hellmich . In 1971, the subject of puppetry was officially taught, from 1972 under the direction of Hartmut Lorenz . Soon it was possible to set up another domicile as a “doll's house” in Schöneweide. On April 9, 1975, the actor Hans-Peter Minetti was appointed director by the Ministry of Culture. The study productions remained a visible proof of the practice-oriented training and the artistic effectiveness of a collective self-image in theater work.

The old boathouse was dilapidated and too small. In 1979, renovation and expansion of the original school building began and was completed in 1981. On March 13, 1979, the drama school opened an alternative workplace in Berlin-Marzahn, into which stages and a large rehearsal stage were installed at short notice. In the 1980s, the “Rostock State Drama School” was affiliated with the “Ernst Busch” Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin. (In 1994, a new establishment took place in Rostock as the "Rostock University of Music and Theater ".)

In addition to Rudolf Penka and Kurt Veth (both temporarily directors of the school), important teachers were Wolfgang Engel , Thomas Langhoff , Ursula Karusseit , Hans-Georg Simmgen , Jutta Hoffmann and others in the field of drama , the movement and dance instructor Hilde Buchwald and for the Subject diction by the lyric poet Karl Mickel .

On September 21, 1981, in a ceremony in the newly completed university building, in addition to the official handover of the keys to the house, Hans-Peter Minetti was also appointed as the first rector. The drama school converted into a university had the suffix "Ernst Busch" and the Rostock University of Music and Drama , until then "Rostock State Drama School" was affiliated. At the same time, acting training became a university course in the entire GDR and the duration of the course was increased from three to four years. This also applied to the training of puppeteers. In the same year, the new "Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art" was assigned the Institute for Drama Directing , founded in 1974 by Manfred Wekwerth and most recently by Dieter Hoffmeier . The facility had a generously equipped studio stage, which was named " Wolfgang Heinz ", and again asked the venue in Belforter Strasse for the studio productions.

In 1987 Kurt Veth , from the school of the Berliner Ensemble , later director in Halle, at the Maxim Gorki Theater and at the German TV broadcaster , had been teaching in the drama department for several years from Hans-Peter Minetti as head of the university. In 1988, the diploma course in choreography was established as a new course.

Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts since 1990

The university uses the Berlin Workers' Theater for directing training and as a venue . Around 15 productions are performed annually. About 90 students are taught at the "Ernst Busch" drama school in acting , puppetry , directing , dramaturgy and dance ( stage dance and choreography ). In the GDR, the school was regarded as a cadre forge . After the fall of the Wall , the ideological orientation ceased. The school became known through the long-term documentary Die Spielwütigen by Andres Veiel (1997-2004). In 2004 the university was awarded the Berlin Art Prize. The appointment of the sociologist Wolfgang Engler as rector of the university caused a political stir in June 2005 . He succeeded Klaus Völker , who had headed the school since 1993. Holger Zebu Kluth has headed the university since October 1, 2017 .

The "Ernst Busch" Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin is a member institute of the Standing Conference on Drama Education (SKS) . In 2010 the facility was awarded the "Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Culture Prize", which the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival awards to companies, institutions and individuals who have continuously rendered services to film culture in Germany over the years.

New building and relocation in 2018

The Academy of Dramatic Art was spread across the city at four locations, and all buildings were in dire need of renovation. The students from different subjects did not meet professionally because there was no campus. Plans to merge were made in the 1990s. Since 2005 there have been several attempts to find a central location for the university. The old building in Schöneweide could not be rehabilitated due to, among other things, asbestos findings. A move of all departments to the "Gabarty-Höfe" in Pankow had failed. Finally, the former central workshops of the Berlin operas came into focus as the new central location of the university. “In 2009 it was decided to convert the former opera workshops on Zinnowitzer Straße into the central location of the Academy of Dramatic Art. After prior approval of a space requirement program required for the work of the university, the main committee of the Berlin House of Representatives determined that the renovation of the opera workshops should cost a maximum of 33 million euros. ”The property belongs to the State of Berlin. As the winner of the international architecture competition, the architectural office "Ortner & Ortner Baukunst" (Berlin, Cologne, Vienna) was awarded the contract for the construction in February 2011. After coordination between the Senate, the university and the office, the costs were 6% above the planning target. “In April 2012, the SPD parliamentary group in the Berlin House of Representatives took the cost overrun as an opportunity to completely abandon plans for a new university building.” Week-long protests by the students with the support of prominent artists led to renewed negotiations. Finally, the central location on Zinnowitzer Strasse - without the cafeteria - was confirmed while maintaining the budget of 33 million euros. The “surprising” promise by the federal government for 850,000 euros in November 2012 gave an opportunity to start construction.

From July 2014, the former opera workshops on Zinnowitzer Strasse were converted into the new central location. For cost reasons, the building had to be rented to an interim user until construction began, so there was no time for preliminary investigations and there was already a delay a few months after the start of construction. The topping-out ceremony was celebrated on May 23, 2016. Refurbishment and new construction cost 44 million euros. The move took place in the summer of 2018 and operations at the new location began in the 2018/2019 winter semester. The size corresponds to the sum of the four previous properties, but all disciplines are united. "The architects added a 24-meter-high stage tower with vertical wooden cladding and a glass theater café to the old building from the 1950s."

There are two studio stages with a floor area of ​​300 m² each. Theater performances are held here for visitors. The prop and costume store area on the ground floor is open. The library with the eleven-meter-high reading room holds all media stocks that were previously distributed among the departments across the city. Modernly equipped rehearsal stages ensure the future viability of the courses.

Graduates from the school

Reinhardt student until 1933

Graduated between 1933 and 1950

Graduates since 1951

The actors who started their training at the university but dropped out include Manfred Krug , Anja Kling , Matthias Schweighöfer and Aylin Tezel .


  • The gamblers . Documentation, Germany, 2004, 104 min., Script and director: Andres Veiel , production: Journal Film. Portrait of four students from the Ernst Busch Academy of Drama.
    Please center . Documentation, 2019, 62 min., Direction and production: Anne Osterloh . The film reports on the school's move to Mitte, and graduates report on what has changed at the university.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Klaus Völker (ed.): Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art, Berlin . Hentrich & Hentrich, Berlin 2005, ISBN = 3-938485-08-6, hentrichhentrich.de/buch , accessed on September 19, 2019
  2. We're moving. "We hope that by September at the latest we will have arrived safely in our new university building with all the moving boxes, stage equipment, costume stocks, dolls and, above all, functioning IT."
  3. The move took place in the summer of 2018. On October 26, 2018, the new university building was ceremoniously opened by the students of all departments, the Rector Holger Zebu Kluth , Senator Katrin Lompscher , and the State Secretary for Science and Research Steffen Krach .
  4. ^ Gerhard Ebert: Become an actor in Berlin - from Max Reinhardt's drama school to the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art . Verlag = Berlin-Information, Berlin 1987, ISBN = 3-7442-0012-4.
  5. 100 years of drama school in Berlin. Retrieved September 27, 2019 .
  6. ^ History of the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art. In: Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art. Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art, accessed on September 27, 2019 .
  7. The centralization of the HfS - a long way . Retrieved September 30, 2019
  8. No competitor was able to meet the budget.
  9. The solution was found for the cafeteria to be used as a catering facility for visitors to the theater.
  10. For example, the building ground was only load-bearing from a depth of six meters. The foundations weren't where they'd been thought. The ceilings of the existing building had to be reinforced and the interior and exterior plaster could not be repaired, but had to be completely removed and replaced. The fire protection had to be upgraded. The company commissioned with the structural work applied for insolvency.
  11. New construction will be 11 million more expensive than planned . In: Der Tagesspiegel , November 24, 2017
  12. Press release of October 26, 2018 , "Ernst Busch" Academy of Dramatic Art opens new central location in Berlin-Mitte
  13. ^ Friederike Meyer: From Drama to Comedy Ortner + Ortner University of Dramatic Art in Berlin . In: Baunetz , October 24, 2018: “After the renovation, three parts determine the external appearance of the place: the stage tower, cafeteria and old building. The upgraded old building with its punched windows and the whitewashed facade appears as massive and unimportant as the densely packed, new office buildings around. The glazed cafeteria, on the other hand, which is pushed up to the side of the old building, gives the hermetic bar in the entrance area some air. The 24-meter-high, wood-clad stage tower, on the other hand, which latches into the existing building, should protect the face on the outside and, with its translucent subcutaneous tissue, arouse curiosity about what's going on, especially in the dark.
  14. Teaching workshop for improvisation . In: Deutsche Bauzeitung , January 9, 2019: “The opera workshops [...] offered themselves. The elongated building, begun in the middle of the war in 1943 as a reinforced concrete structure, but not completed until 1953, offered an ideal shell to accommodate the space that the 175 students currently need in their training [...] "
  15. Dramaturgy in wood, glass and concrete . In: "Baunetz_Wissen_"
  16. The hfs builds: the central location
  17. Please go to Mitte , broadcast on rbb Kultur. Distributed by: Moving Angel Filmproduktion

Coordinates: 52 ° 31 '57 "  N , 13 ° 22' 59.9"  E