Darmstadt State Theater

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Darmstadt State Theater, entrance front

The Darmstadt State Theater is a four-division house with opera , dance , drama and concerts .

Karsten Wiegand has been artistic director since the 2014/15 season. The State of Hesse is responsible for the Darmstadt State Theater. The city of Darmstadt is involved in accordance with the theater contract dated November 24, 1971 in its current version with an operating subsidy of 48%.

Darmstadt State Theater - Great Hall
Bar of the Kammerspiele
Darmstadt State Theater - Great Hall (2)


In the large house, which is mainly used by the opera, there are 956 seats and 8 seats in the box for the disabled. The small house, in which mainly plays and dance performances are given, has 482 seats and also 8 places in the box for the disabled. Since the renovation, there is also the Kammerspiele with 120 seats. The bar in front of the Kammerspiele seats around 60 people, who can also have a drink here during a smaller performance.

Theater operations

The Darmstadt State Theater has more than 500 employees. Every year around 40 pieces are staged anew in different categories. In the 2012/13 season around 224,000 visitors came, which corresponded to an occupancy rate of 75 percent. In 2009/10 there were 260,000 spectators. In the 2007/08 season, the Darmstadt State Theater received 26.4 million euros in public funds and was able to raise 3.9 million euros.

History and structure

The State Theater celebrated its 179th season in the 2010/2011 season and also the anniversary of the 300-year theater tradition in Darmstadt. The State Theater emerged from the former State Theater, which looks back on a long tradition in the grand-ducal, formerly landgrave residence of Darmstadt . The city's long theater tradition began in the 17th century when jousting and singing ballets were part of the court ceremonies of the landgraves. Theater was presented to the population by traveling actors who occasionally set up their stages in the royal seat. The first theater building in Darmstadt was built at the request of Landgravine Elisabeth Dorothea . The riding arena at Herrngarten was converted into a “comedy house” and in 1711 - after another renovation by the architect Louis Rémy de La Fosse - the representative theater building was opened with Christoph Graupner's opera Telemach . This baroque theater only flourished for a short time, however, as financial crises largely brought the theater to a standstill.

Moller's Court Theater, today the State Archives

It was not until almost a century later that Grand Duke Ludwig I founded a court theater that was to be open to all sections of the population. The theater building built by the architect Georg Moller with 2000 seats and elaborate stage technology was opened in 1819. Despite further financial bottlenecks in the years 1830 to 1848, the theater was played almost continuously until 1871 and celebrated much-noticed successes with splendid opera performances. Due to the inattention of one of the illuminators, the theater burned down completely in 1871 and could not be reopened until 1879. In 1904/05 the interior was rebuilt by the Viennese theater architects Hermann Helmer and Ferdinand Fellner .

In 1919 the court theater was transformed into a state theater. The former landgrave opera house became the Little House. The artistic director Gustav Hartung (1920–1924 and 1931–1933) rejected the bourgeois illusion theater and made the Darmstadt theater known nationwide with premieres of modern authors and sensational productions of classics. At the beginning of National Socialist rule, Hartung was forced to flee overnight, and the 20-year-old actress Lilli Palmer , who later became world famous, had to leave the house because of her Jewish origins and emigrated to Paris in 1934. On the night of September 11-12, 1944, both houses of the theater were destroyed by the air raid on Darmstadt . After the end of the Second World War , a provisional venue was created in the orangery , in which the theater was to remain for almost three decades. The directors Gustav Rudolf Sellner (1951–1961) and Gerhard F. Hering (1961–1971) succeeded in building on the tradition of Gustav Hartung and his successes, particularly in the acting field.

It was renamed the State Theater in 1972, when the theater moved to the new building by Darmstadt architect Rolf Prange (1919-2006) on Georg-Büchner-Platz , who won the nationwide architectural competition in 1963 . The building, which houses three stages as well as all the workshops and a large part of the set magazines under one roof, cost over 70 million DM. It was completely refurbished between 2002 and 2006 according to plans by the architecture firm Lederer + Ragnarsdóttir + Oei for around 70 million euros. The stage technology of the large house was completely renewed and fire protection and work safety improved. A new entrance building now connects the theater's underground car park with the newly designed and renovated foyer and the foyer terrace. Part of the underground car park was converted into the Kammerspiele studio stage . The small house has been completely renovated since 2019 under the direction of AtelierAchatzArchitekten from Munich.

Historical sources

A large part of the historically significant documents of the Darmstadt State Theater are now in the Hessian State Archives in Darmstadt . The inventory (G 55 Landestheater Darmstadt) contains, among other things, personal files of artists, but also correspondence from the directorship, schedules and work files of opera and drama. The documents date from after 1872.

The older files of the court theater and court music administration are in the holdings of the Court Marshal's Office (holdings D 8) and in the cabinet registry (holdings D 12).

The holdings have been developed and can largely be researched online.

Directors (selection)

General music directors since 1963

Honorary members (selection)

Singer and actor

The following actors, singers and guests have appeared at the Darmstadt State Theater:

Web links

Commons : Staatstheater Darmstadt  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. http://magazin.klassik.com/news/teaser.cfm?ID=10325
  2. faz.net, December 22, 2010
  3. Hannes Heer, Sven Fritz, Heike Drummer, Jutta Zwilling: Silent voices. The expulsion of the "Jews" and "politically intolerable" from the Hessian theaters 1933 to 1945. Metropol-Verlag and Commission for the History of the Jews in Hesse , Wiesbaden 2011.
  4. ^ History ( Memento from December 17, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), at Staatstheater-darmstadt.de, accessed on August 9, 2020.
  5. Portal construction completes the old structure at baunetzwissen.de
  6. Overview HStAD inventory G 55 (Landestheater Darmstadt (today: Staatstheater Darmstadt))  in the Hessian State Archives Darmstadt . In: Archive Information System Hessen (Arcinsys Hessen), accessed on January 7, 2015.
  7. Overview HStAD inventory D 8 (court keeping and court marshal office))  in the Hessian State Archives Darmstadt . In: Archive Information System Hessen (Arcinsys Hessen), accessed on January 7, 2015.
  8. Overview HStAD inventory D 12 (cabinet register approx. 1780- approx. 1865))  in the Hessian State Archive Darmstadt . In: Archive Information System Hessen (Arcinsys Hessen), accessed on January 7, 2015.
  9. Megan Marie Hart | Darmstadt State Theater. In: Staatstheater-darmstadt.de. Archived from the original on August 9, 2020 ; accessed on August 9, 2020 .

Coordinates: 49 ° 52 ′ 6.2 "  N , 8 ° 38 ′ 56.5"  E