The Münchner Kammerspiele are a traditional, municipal theater in Munich that belongs to the category of spoken theater.
In 1926 the company moved to the theater, which was completed in 1901, at Maximilianstrasse 26 and 28 in Munich. The theater was built in Art Nouveau style and is a collaboration between the architect Max Littmann and Richard Riemerschmid, who was commissioned with the interior design .
The Münchner Kammerspiele currently has three venues: the large stage of the Schauspielhaus and two small stages, that of the Werkraumtheater in Hildegardstrasse and the stage called “Neues Haus” in the new rehearsal building in Falckenbergstrasse (construction period 1997-2001, architects Gustav Peichl , Stefan A. Schumer , Walter Achatz ).
History of the playhouse
The construction is a privately placed order from Karl and Arthur Riemerschmid. After the construction work was completed, the theater was later to be leased to the theater company of the same name.
The beginning of the planning was given to the family company Heilmann & Littmann in 1899 . At that time it was under the direction of Jakob Heilmann and his son-in-law Max Littmann, who designed the shell of the theater. However, the plot of land that was initially promised turned out to be too small or unsuitable, whereupon the Riemerschmid brothers agreed in February 1900 to “build a theater building in the back garden of their property on Maximilianstrasse and lease it to the“ Schauspielhaus ”on a long-term basis ". For this, however, they demanded the assurance that Richard Riemerschmid should be involved in the interior design and construction. In February 1900, planning began for today's theater. Unfortunately, at this point in time, the Schauspielhaus lacked both the property and the financial means to build it, so the Riemerschmid family also helped out here and took over the costs.
After ten months of construction, the theater was opened on April 20, 1901 with Johannes , a tragedy by Hermann Sudermann. Franz Herz played the main role . As a result, the Schauspielhaus played a key role in the implementation of naturalism in Munich, dedicated itself particularly to modern drama and competed with the Royal Court Theater . The theater company of the Schauspielhaus was founded in 1897 when the Deutsches Theater transformed into a variety theater soon after it was founded; parts of its ensemble had been taken over. Since 1898 the management was in the hands of Ignaz Georg Stollberg from Vienna , who had previously worked at the Freie Bühne . In the mid-1920s, however, when the Kammerspiele moved into the building, it had already become unmanaged.
Today the theater is described (next to Cottbus ) as “the only preserved Art Nouveau theater in Germany ”, which is characterized by its inner courtyard location and cannot be seen from the outside due to its integration into the front of Maximilianstrasse.
Description of the playhouse
The theater is located between Falckenbergstrasse (formerly Herrnstrasse), Stollbergstrasse, Maximilianstrasse and Hildegardsstrasse and is therefore not visible from the street. It extends over a plot of land of approx. 6800 m² and was built there at a cost of 380,000 marks .
It is characterized by its inner courtyard , which is delimited by the city block and blends into the garden. This garden includes "two days of work " and is now built with cloakrooms and workshops. The distance to the adjacent houses is 25 m. Because of its location, it is also known as the "garden pavilion".
Floor plan and external appearance
The playhouse is of the type of a single-storey rank theater, which is called “an intimate” play theater for max. 800 visitors (distributed on parquet and a tiered floor) ”is described,“ which should create a corresponding space for contemporary dramatic literature and the new naturalistic style of representation ”. In addition, its appearance is described as “a“ total work of art ” planned down to the last detail under the influence of Henry van de Velde ”.
Regarding the appearance of the theater, the following is mentioned: “The transformation into the unique Art Nouveau spatial work of art only took place in a further step through the participation of Richard Riemerschmid. The relationship between structural and technical planning (Littmann) and decorative design (Riemerschmid) in the rooms surrounding the auditorium (cash desk vestibule , parquet walkways, refreshment room on the upper floor, side stairs) is similar ; In his own description of the building, Littmann shows the distance from the Riemerschmid room setting (sculpted wall and ceiling structure and differentiated color scheme). “Since the theater was not planned for more than 800 spectators, only 727 seats were implemented. Even when it was founded, it was counted among the smaller theaters in Munich.
From the floor plan of the theater no original plans today are more preserved. Compared to the Prinzregententheater , which was built by Heilmann & Littmann at the same time , the floor plan of the Kammerspiele is much simpler. The floor plan is "manageable clearly articulated and" and the building itself is a "deep rectangular structure with a porch and lateral projections " In the ground floor there is a "transverse rectangular porch," a banking hall with direct access to the dressing room and the foyer , from which one enters the auditorium with rows of seats and a stage , which is framed on its sides by other rooms.
The second floor is divided into three parts by the foyer and auditorium in the middle with the framing cloakrooms. This tripartite division can only be seen in cross section . The floor plan is repeated in the “room layout and use of the ground floor” in the stage area. In this way, the "clarity of the function and the sequence of an evening theater ritual [...] is taken into account", which is reflected in the structure of the theater. It is quite possible that Richard Riemerschmidt also had an influence on the development process and the plans of the theater.
The front of the entire Maximilianstrasse is described as a unit designed by Friedrich Bürklein in an English-Gothic style that does without jewelry. This “modest and inconspicuous outer shape” is also reflected in the fact that there is no representative entrance. This could be dispensed with, so that only two passage-like passages connect the theater with Maximilianstrasse. As already described, the exterior construction shows itself in simplicity and concentration on the function of the building, so that an elaborate facade design was dispensed with. Only restrained ornamentation, which goes back to Riemerschmid, can be seen. On the west façade, the windows in the stairwell area follow the upward movement of the stairs and thus show themselves in a simple design. There are also two exits on the transverse sides of the theater that lead to the inner courtyard. Regarding the subtle design of the inner courtyard, Riemerschmid emphatically mentions that the visit to the theater and the associated personal impression take precedence over the design of the outer facade. The windows and doors of the facade facing the garden were formerly "heavily green", which in turn gave the theater the "character of a garden house ". The ornamental decoration on the windows and the shapes of the windows and doors themselves speak “Riemerschmid's language”.
Within the Kammerspiele, colors and shapes reflect "the will of the young Munich artists at the beginning of the 20th century". New means of expression and forms are used in the furnishings instead of historical models. Riemerschmid chose the “reduced expression of the Munich Art Nouveau” and values function , craftsmanship and construction . At the same time it is pointed out that the financial situation of the theater in terms of construction and equipment must always be taken into account.
Two entrances on the ground floor lead as wide corridors through the houses at Maximilianstrasse 26 and 28 into the ticket hall. To get there, one walks through the entrance with its two-winged door, which reflects the disclosure of the constructions, as was Riemerschmid's will.
The entrance corridors are equipped with stucco moldings and heart-shaped leaf ornamentation over the color-contrasting plinths of the corridors. The cash register is located on the north wall, next to which there are two entrances to the lower foyer and to the cloakrooms on the right and left. Above the ticket booth, in the no longer preserved ticket hall, there was, in addition to the heart-shaped, stylized foliage on the walls, direct skylight , which was intended to create a connection to nature and, secondarily, served as a pure light source . The ceiling of the hall was coffered and also decorated with leaf ornaments in red. Flower-shaped lights made of glass hung on curved lamp arms next to the ticket booth . To the right and left of the house, two doors, identical to the entrances, lead into the lower foyer.
The color scheme of the foyer is gray-blue, in contrast to the red of the ticket hall. There are two parquet entrances in the foyer , which are also modeled on the outer entrance and access doors. These entrances have a flat floor and thus have a repetition of the outer entrance and access doors. Plant-like work made of stucco above the doors is set in color and sharp edges and corners are avoided by the rounding of the door blocks. In addition, the length of the foyer is emphasized by lighting in the heart-shaped ornamentation . This ornamentation can also be found in a circle on the ceiling, which is designed in different shades of blue. The light blue ceiling and the light green painted walls match the light purple colored curtains in the cloakrooms.
Two identically designed cloakroom rooms are at the end of the foyer. They are divided by pillars and arches clad with brass and emphasize the lightness of the space. The niches themselves were made of lightweight material. From here you can get outside through doors between the niches. On the wall of the cloakroom niches, the windows embedded in them repeat the form found in the arcadian appearance of the cloakroom. The reference to the design of the ceiling of the upper foyer and the ticket hall can also be found on this ceiling, which is decorated with "overlying, abstract floral stucco arms". The lighting, which is composed of individual light bulbs, is housed within this stucco decoration. These light bulbs are emphasized by the red, heart-shaped leaves that are on branches in a soft blue.
Both cloakroom corridors and the foyer are U-shaped around the auditorium, above which the ventilation systems are located. The two-storey stage tower with the Schnürboden was also housed there. The existing height differences are overcome by ramps and thus offer access to the 727 available places today. The auditorium of the playhouse was built as an "intimate auditorium in a rounded shell with a slightly rising parquet, U-shaped gallery, rear arches with boxes" and "two-storey proscenium with boxes ", rectangularly encased. The closest possible contact between stage and audience was desired and achieved in the planning.
The auditorium can be reached from the cloakroom through three entrances. There are also two entrances to enter from the foyer. At first glance it differs from the rest of the theater, but it is integrated with its “own language”. The ceiling is light green and has one of three recesses described as “boat-shaped” with individual lamps hanging out. “A richly openwork, three-dimensional flat ceiling” can be found in this area of the theater. When choosing the shape of the ornamental coffering of this ceiling, the acoustics played a particularly important role. This ornamentation stretches across the ceiling like a “vault of heaven” and extends into the vertical wall without a right angle. The point of view of the observer has different effects on the lighting, so that the star-like lamps change their appearance depending on the point of view and offer "optimal lighting". On the ground floor, however, there is an almost complete lack of ornamentation. Here the design is limited to the walls, which are painted red over their entire height. The stepless parquet of the auditorium has a slight incline in the longitudinal section and thus enables the audience to have a good view of the stage from all seats and thus also "the focus on the stage as required by the theater at the turn of the century "
The stage has its place in the stage house , which is divided by the wide front stage and a smaller back stage. “The transom of the stage closes the building” and its layout is also of interest, because it “took place in a richer form than was required by the original repertoire of the theater”. The main stage has a width of 19 m and a depth of 8 m, while the back stage and the portal opening have dimensions of 13 × 9 m and 9.1 × 5.7 m respectively. The stage setup is kept simple in line with the “requirements of modern drama”. What stands out here is the massive stage frame, which appears almost unadorned. This frame is concave and shows the shape of a “stylized twig” in front of a golden background, whose “ solid appearance ” upwards, however, “is broken up [by] stylized twigs”. A golden hoop summarizes these on both sides. The theater curtain is decorated with abstract flower umbels and was made by Margarethe von Brauchitsch .
Individual cloakrooms for the actors as well as rooms for props and backdrops are to the right and left of the stage, while the proscenium boxes are in front of the stage. These proscenium boxes were laid out on both floors at the express request of the director and their oval shape "corresponds" to the "curved shape of the balcony and the row of seats" through their "own small anteroom [accessible] "
On the upper floor of the theater there is a second foyer, two cloakroom rooms and boxes as well as two balconies. An area one floor above the ticket hall is known as a " terrace " but cannot be reached through any door.
A staircase covered by a flat arch leads to the upper foyer on the first floor of the theater. Here “restrained stucco ornamentation” was used, which developed from the shape of the doors to the auditorium. The elongated shape of the foyer is emphasized by a flattened reticulated vault . The pattern of this net vault consists of fluted ribs supported by gray-blue stucco struts. These struts run out in the shape of flowers, which are "particularly emphasized" by the lighting. The flower stems protrude slightly from the ceiling, creating the “impression of mobility”. Mirrors in “upright rectangular, heart and semicircular shapes” open the wall, while maple doors with flat bottoms and ornamentally shaped hinges lead into the boxes. A reference to the “formal language” of the lower rooms can still be seen, although this is “more diverse and differentiated” here. There is a different color palette in the colored design of the upper foyer. Yellow now dominates alongside various shades of gray. Cloakrooms are connected to the upper foyer, which today are only partially preserved. Only the western door is still in its original condition and suggests that both could originally have had the same design. A wall in the foyer opened in round arches provides space for the cloakroom niches. The cloakrooms can be opened or closed with curtains. They also combine elements from both floors, which is evident in the yellow and lime green color of the circular ornament on the ceiling. The shape of the ornament comes from the lower foyer, while the color was taken from the upper one.
The balcony can be reached through two entrances to the cloakrooms and is closed off by a parapet decorated with wave-like movements . This parapet is made of zinc and shows itself as an interwoven golden grid . This wave theme can also be found under the balcony.
The boxes are at the front. This area is accessed through seven doors in the foyer. There are a total of nine boxes, which can be accessed through the rear part of the foyer of the first tier. They have an oval basic shape, which may be traced back to Riemerschmid. This makes them the only non-rectangular shapes in the floor plan. They also complement the rows of chairs in the parquet , which are slightly rounded. The boxes, "with their curved front wall pierced by high arches, form a rear end of the hall", make the room, as Max Littmann supposedly said, "appear smaller than it really is". At the front, three of the nine boxes are separated by "slim columns " clad with brass , from which an arcade motif emerges, but which is loosened by the "elevation of the arch above the middle box". In terms of color, this area is set off by its walls, which are only half painted red. The wall surface between the arches is additionally decorated with stylized, delicately painted flowers with blue stems "that seem to grow out of the pillars". The red shade of the flowers brightens towards the top.
Modifications and changes
In the course of the history of the playhouse, some renovations and changes were made for various reasons . The first of these renovation measures began in 1913 and were limited to technical innovations in the area behind the stage and the addition of more cloakroom rooms on the second floor. Just five years later, in 1918, under the direction of Hermine Hörner, baroque elements were added to the appearance of the theater. The stage technology was modernized between 1919 and 1925. Under Otto Falckenberg , further structural changes were made just one year after the last work was completed in 1926, which resulted in the reduction of the Art Nouveau ornamentation, the replacement of the Thonet seating and the downsizing of the proscenium boxes as part of the innovations. In 1934, further detailed plans with "sensitive cuts in the original concept of the theater" are considered, which also happened under Otto Falckenberg, since for him both the "'inconsistency (unrest) of the colors and the ornamental accessories'" were disturbing. They did not correspond to his conception of a gathering and calming space. The Munich architect Fritz Zimmer was to be commissioned with the changes , but his plans were "attacked by experts". Even Richard Riemerschmid spoke up and turned against the planned measures, so that he was given "far-reaching competencies", while part went to Fritz Zimmer. During the Second World War in 1944, bombs caused severe damage to the stage area. In the same year technicians and actors were able to save the auditorium, but the theater burned down and was only restored after the end of the war. During the war, American occupation troops briefly used the theater as a cinema and it was not until 1945 that first efforts were made to restore the theater to its original form. Due to a lack of material, it was not possible to carry out all the necessary construction work, so that only a fraction could be repaired. Six years later, in 1951, the first restoration work was carried out, the aim of which was to orientate itself on the original condition from 1901. In 1954 Caspar Neher became director of the Kammerspiele and in 1961 the Werkraumtheater, which was rebuilt again in 1983, opened as a second, smaller venue. The theater was completely renovated for the first time in 1971 under the direction of Reinhard Riemerschmid . Under him it was possible to return the theater to its 1901 state "almost unchanged". Only the ventilation systems and the color concept were further concessions. In 2000, a new general overhaul of the house began, so that the last restoration work so far was completed in February 2003 . With the exception of the ticket hall, the state of the theater can now be described as approximating to the original state of 1901. In March 2003, gaming operations could be resumed there. In 1946 the drama school ( Otto Falckenberg School ) attached to the house was founded.
History of the Kammerspiele
Kammerspiele in Augustenstrasse
In 1906 the variety theater “Universum” at Augustenstrasse 89 was renamed “Münchner Lustspielhaus”. Augustenstrasse 89 was originally an upper-class residential building. The ground floor and first floor were then converted into a ticket hall, foyer and balcony, auditorium for 500 visitors and the stage were located in an extension facing the courtyard.
When the theater had to close in 1910, Industrie-Werke München-Nord bought the house and leased it to the lawyer, journalist and theater entrepreneur Eugen Robert . Based on the Viennese Wurstelprater, the house was now called "Zum Großen Wurstel" from 1911. The one-act play "Varieté" opened the new stage, but its author Heinrich Mann had initially even defended it in court because of the name. After the theater was again called the "Lustspielhaus" for a short time, the "Münchner Kammerspiele" was officially launched on June 1, 1912, and the first production was an expressionist station play by Leonid Andrejew with the title "Das Leben des Menschen". From August 1912 on, Hugo Ball worked as a dramaturge on Augustenstrasse. In April 1913, Eugen Robert's directorship came to an end just six months after the season opened with “Leben des Menschen”. And that despite another scandalous success, the world premiere of Frank Wedekind's play "Franziska".
The house was bought by the newly founded Munich theater company. The Kammerspiele were then continued as a privately operated theater under the director Erich Ziegel in 1913 . In 1914 Otto Falckenberg's first production had its premiere on Augustenstrasse: “A German Christmas Game”. Hermann Sinsheimer managed the house from 1916 to 1917. In 1917 Otto Falckenberg took over the house.
Under him, the Kammerspiele finally became one of the most renowned German-speaking theaters. In 1922 Bertolt Brecht was allowed to stage “ Drums in the Night ” there, which was his breakthrough and earned him the renowned Kleist Prize. Also Arnolt Bronnen "parricide" was first performed here.
Chamber plays in the theater
In 1926 the move to the theater, which was completed in 1901, at Maximilianstrasse 26 and 28. The theater was built in the Art Nouveau style and is a collaboration between the architect Max Littmann and Richard Riemerschmid, who was responsible for the interior design .
The ensemble included actors such as Elisabeth Bergner , Elisabeth Flickenschildt , Therese Giehse , Marianne Hoppe , Ernst Ginsberg , OE Hasse and Heinz Rühmann , Sibylle Binder , Hans Schweikart and Max Schreck . Bert Brecht's pieces continued to be great successes, and Karl Valentin and Liesl Karlstadt also played their programs at the Kammerspiele.
In 1933 the Kammerspiele became a municipal theater. As a specialist academy for the performing arts in the state capital of Munich, the Otto Falckenberg School has been affiliated with the Kammerspiele since 1946.
The time after 1945 was shaped by the artistic directors Erich Engel (1945–1947), Hans Schweikart (1947–1963) and August Everding (1963–1973). From 1973, Hans-Reinhard Müller (1973–1983) and Dieter Dorn (1983–2001) followed. After the Second World War , the program of the house was not only characterized by the work of the artistic director Erich Engel, but soon also by the productions by Bruno Hübner and Axel von Ambesser (the latter began his very successful directing career at this house), and later the director joined and actor Fritz Kortner , who had returned from exile. In the 1960s, the then assistant director of the Kammerspiele, Peter Stein, directed for the first time independently. In the 1970s, the work of the playwright Franz Xaver Kroetz and the theater fantasies of Robert Wilson shaped the theater. In the 1980s, George Tabori created outstanding productions. Even today the theater is one of the best German theaters and has received numerous prizes and awards.
After Frank Baumbauer (2001–2009) there was a season without an artistic director, in which the house was run by a board of directors. From 2010 to 2015 Johan Simons directed the theater. From the 2015/2016 season, Matthias Lilienthal will be the artistic director. On March 19, 2018, Lilienthal announced that he would be leaving the Münchner Kammerspiele after the 2019/20 season, at the end of his contract term. The lack of support in Munich's cultural policy became public two weeks earlier, as the CSU parliamentary group had spoken out against a contract extension. In October 2018, the city council appointed Barbara Mundel to be his successor from the 2020/21 season.
Awards and honors
In 2002 the Kammerspiele were nominated for the Nestroy Theater Prize for the first time with the production Alkestis and received a prize for the best German-language performance ( Elfriede Jelineks Rechnitz (Der Würgeengel)). In 2005 it was even able to win the coveted prize for the best production at the Berlin Theatertreffen with Die Nibelungen , directed by Andreas Kriegenburg . In 2006 and 2007 the theater was again nominated for the Nestroy. In 2007 it was invited with Andreas Kriegenburg's Three Sisters. In 2008 the theater was awarded the German Critics' Prize. In 2009, the Kammerspiele were named Theater of the Year by the Theater heute magazine and a jury of 41 theater critics, as well as being awarded for the best stage design by director Andreas Kriegenburg, who designed a moving eye for Franz Kafka's play Prozess . In 2010 the educational project “Hauptschule der Freiheit” was awarded the BKM Prize for Cultural Education .
In 2013 the Kammerspiele received an unprecedented accumulation of awards from Theater heute and the jury of critics. You became Theater of the Year, Sandra Hüller and Steven Scharf became the best actors, Risto Kübar the best young actor. In addition, the Munich Orpheus descends in the production by Sebastian Nübling together with three other plays on the shared first place of the productions.
In 2019 the Kammerspiele were again Theater of the Year and the production of the year went to Maximiliansstraße for Christopher Rüping's ten-hour antique project “Dionysus City”. Nils Kahnwald was named Actor of the Year and Gro Swantje Kohlhof was named Young Actor of the Year. The set of the year was also created at the Kammerspiele, Lena Newton was honored for her work on Susanne Kennedy's “Three Sisters”. The award is also considered a "preferred farewell gift" to the director Lilienthal and recognition of his work that was not recognized by the city council. In 2020 the Kammerspiele were again named Theater of the Year.
- Sabine Dultz (Ed.): The Münchner Kammerspiele. Actors, directors, performances 1976–2001. With Dieter Dorn and Michael Wachsmann. Photos by Oda Sternberg. Hanser, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-446-20000-2 .
- Wolfgang Petzet: Theater - The Münchner Kammerspiele 1911–1972. Kurt Desch Verlag, Munich 1973, ISBN 3-420-04656-1 .
- Bern Peter Schaul: The Prinzregententheater in Munich and the reform of the theater building around 1900 - Max Littmann as a theater architect. Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation, Karl M. Lipp Verlag, Munich 1987, .
- Manfred F. Fischer (Hrsg.): Historical theater buildings - reports on research and practice of monument preservation in Germany. Part 1: western federal states. Published in Hanover 1991, Association of State Monument Preservation in the Federal Republic of Germany 1191, ISBN 3-927879-57-6 .
- Georg Jacob Wolf: Max Littmann 1862-1932. Knorr & Hirth, Munich 1931.
- Maria Wüllenkemper: Richard Riemerschmid: “it's not art that creates style, life creates it”. 1st edition. Schnell & Steiner publishing house, Regensburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7954-2095-6 .
- Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 74
- See Schaul, 1987, p. 129
- See Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 76
- Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 75
- Schaul, 1987, p. 129
- Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 76
- Fischer, 1991, p. 39
- Cf. Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 79
- Cf. Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 78
- Wolf, 1931, p. 42
- Cf. Petzet, 1973, p. 25
- See Schaul, 1987, p. 130
- Schaul, 1987, p. 130
- Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 79
- See Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 78f
- See Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 80
- Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 80
- Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 74f
- See Wolf, 1931, p. 44
- See Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 81
- Cf. Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 82
- Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 82
- Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 83
- Friedrich Ahlers-Hestermann: Style turn. Aufbruch der Jugend around 1900, p. 54 Quoted from Wüllenkemper, Richard Riemerschmid, 2009, p. 83
- Wüllenkemper, Richard Riemerschmid, 2009, p. 83
- See Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 83
- See Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 84
- Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 84
- Wolf, 1931, p. 44
- Petzet, 1973, p. 25
- See Petzet, 1973, p. 11
- Max Littmann Quoted from Schaul, 1987, p. 129
- Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 77
- See Wüllenkemper, 2009, p. 77
- Münchner Kammerspiele - Historical Lexicon of Bavaria. Retrieved February 27, 2019 .
- Wolfgang Höbel: Munich: hostile theater director Matthias Lilienthal surrenders . In: Spiegel Online . March 19, 2018 ( spiegel.de [accessed March 22, 2018]).
- Spiegel online: Critics' survey: Münchner Kammerspiele are “Theater of the Year” , September 5, 2013
- Deutschlandfunkkultur: “Theater of the Year” chosen - a complete success for the Münchner Kammerspiele , 29 August 2019
- Spiegel online: The Münchner Kammerspiele are the Theater of the Year 2019 , August 29, 2019
- The Critics' Survey. In: Theater Today. Retrieved August 27, 2020 .