Theater on the Ruhr

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Theater on the Ruhr

The Theater an der Ruhr was founded in 1980 by the Italian director Roberto Ciulli and the dramaturge Helmut Schäfer as a gGmbH in Mülheim an der Ruhr . The city of Mülheim also became a partner in the gGmbH. The theater is subsidized 50% with a budget of 3.6 million euros annually and 50% financed by the theater's income. His concept means an artistic and economical alternative to the conventional model of municipal stages.

The venues have been the Mülheimer Stadthalle since 1980 and the Kurhaus im Solbad in Raffelbergpark on the city limits of Mülheim and Duisburg since December 1981 . In the 1990s, the Theater an der Ruhr made a guest appearance during a renovation of the saltwater pool in the Mülheim roundhouse .

The Theater an der Ruhr awards the Gordana Kosanović Actor Award every 2 years . On July 2, 2012, the theater's extensive archive (photographs, programs , posters and staging documents) was officially handed over to the Theater Studies Collection of the University of Cologne and thus made publicly accessible.


In 1981 the Theater an der Ruhr was founded by Roberto Ciulli , Helmut Schäfer and Gralf-Edzard Habben . The first premiere was Lulu by Frank Wedekind in November 1981. A cooperation with the Freie Volksbühne in Berlin begins in the first year and every production is designed so that the stage design by Gralf-Edzard Habben fits into a truck container and is therefore cost-effective Can go on tour. The tours also quickly became the main source of income for the theater.

In 1982 the Theater an der Ruhr was invited to guest performances with its productions God and Death at the Free Volksbühne Berlin.

1988 was organized by the trade magazine Theater heute for Theater of the Year chosen.

The theater while traveling abroad

The international contacts of the theater are of great importance. In 1983 the Theater an der Ruhr received its first invitation abroad to the theater festival in Parma (Italy) with the staging of William Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream . Also in 1983 the theater went to Zagreb with the Midsummer Night's Dream and the production was recorded on Yugoslav television. The contacts made ensure that the Theater an der Ruhr will be the first German theater to tour Yugoslavia in 1985 and the Yugoslav actress Gordana Kosanovic becomes a member of the ensemble in Mülheim. Although she has to learn German first, she still plays leading roles in Die Möwe und Lulu .

Other important tours abroad: 1988 in Poland , 1990 in Turkey , 1992 in South America , 1994 again in Turkey and for the first time in Russia , 1996 in Sweden , 2001 in Kazakhstan , Uzbekistan , Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan , and 2012 Kurdistan .

Invitations to theater festivals in 1997 in Belgrade , 1998 in Bogotá ( Colombia ) and 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004 in Tehran (Iran), whereby the Theater an der Ruhr was the first western theater ever to appear after the Islamic revolution in Iran. In January 2006 the theater was again a guest at the theater festival in Tehran with the productions Dantons Tod and König Lear .

World as a guest in the Theater an der Ruhr

The Theater an der Ruhr has organized numerous festivals over the last 20 years at which countries could present their theater work. The Roma theater Pralipe was also given asylum when it was no longer able to work in Yugoslavia, which was destroyed by the civil war . Since then, the only Roma theater in the world, under the direction of Rahim Burhan, has shown numerous productions in the theater in Raffelbergpark, including Shakespeare translations of Romanes with Othello and Romeo and Juliet .

The Theater an der Ruhr has already been voted Theater of the Year by German-speaking critics and the magazine Theater heute and was a guest at the Berlin Theatertreffen . It regularly participates also on additional drama program in the otherwise of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein recorded Duisburg City Theater .

The Theater an der Ruhr played an important role in the further development of “migrant theater” outside Berlin in the 1980s, especially for Turkish-German theater (cf. Erol M. Boran: The History of Turkish-German Theater and Cabaret ).

Important productions

Each direction was directed by Roberto Ciulli :

Directed by Thomaspeter Goergen , since 2004 director assistant to Roberto Ciulli , since 2007 director at the house:

Directed by Simone Thoma , since 1993 actress at the house:

Directed by Karin Neuhäuser :

Directed by Friederike Felbeck , director, from 1995 to 2000 director at the house,

Youth promotion

The Theater an der Ruhr has a youth club ("Young Theater an der Ruhr"). The youth club is promoted and supported by the theater; it is currently divided into four subgroups that make up the young theater. The age spectrum ranges from 13 to 21 years.

The term “young theater” also includes professional plays made by young actors for young audiences; this is different from the original meaning of “young theater on the Ruhr”.


  • Heinz-Norbert Jocks: Modernity and Myth. The game of art and life. A declaration of love to the Theater an der Ruhr Theater heute , issue 6 June 1988, pp. 4-11, Berlin 1988, ISSN  0040-5507 .
  • Frank Raddatz: Ambassador of the Sphinx: On the relationship between aesthetics and politics at the Theater an der Ruhr. Theater der Zeit, Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-934344-76-1 .
  • Alexander Wewerka , Jonas Tinius (eds.): The foreign gaze - Roberto Ciulli and the theater on the Ruhr. Conversations, texts, photos, material. Two volumes. Alexander Verlag , Berlin, 2020, ISBN 978-3-89581-491-4

Web links

Commons : Theater an der Ruhr  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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Coordinates: 51 ° 26 ′ 21 ″  N , 6 ° 49 ′ 25 ″  E