Wetzlar Festival

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The Wetzlar Festival is a summer cultural festival that has taken place every year since 1953 in the Hessian city ​​of Wetzlar . Until 1982 the event was called the Wetzlar Industrial Festival . The festival enjoys recognition far beyond Hessen. The main program is traditionally broad and offers plays , concerts , musical theater ( operas , operettas , musicals ) and readings . In addition, the main program has been flanked since 1995 by a regional framework program organized by schools and theater groups in the region.


The prehistory of the Wetzlar Fespiele begins in 1948 with the preparations for the international Goethe Year 1949, on the occasion of which Anton Koppenhöfer, director of the Wetzlar Adult Education Center, designed a festival program that essentially consisted of a series of discussions with European personalities about Goethe's ideas and their relation to Present should exist. In addition, several works by Goethe were to be performed in various locations in the city, including " Clavigo " from the Stadttheater Gießen , " Egmont " with a Marburg ensemble, " Iphigenie " with the Hessian Youth Theater from Wiesbaden and " Doctor Faust " from the Harro puppet theater Seal from Braunschweig.

Since the "Iphigenia" performances in the rose garden, which had just been restored after the war, were a complete success, the idea arose to use this place with theater in the summer as well.

Building on this, the sponsoring association of the Wetzlar Festival was brought into being by a group of local entrepreneurs under the direction of Koppenhöfer in 1952 in order to offer the workers and employees of the industry a cultural offer. The first opening took place on August 10, 1953 as the "1st Wetzlar Industrial Festival" on the open-air stage in the rose garden, which held around 2000 visitors. Dr. Georg Schache was the first chairman of the festival association, the director was Heinrich Buschmann from Marburg, who also staged the first play with "Antigone". In addition, the Mozart opera " Entführung aus dem Serail " was performed in a production from Mannheim in the opening year. Until the late 1960s, the program consisted of three productions, two plays and an opera, mostly from renowned theaters from Vienna, Wiesbaden, Düsseldorf, Dortmund and Augsburg. Especially works by Goethe , Schiller , Shakespeare , Mozart and Wagner were regularly on the program.

In 1969, under the new directorship of Dr. Rainer Antoine added a ballet evening at the Vienna State Opera and a jazz concert to the program for the first time. Antoine also hired ensembles from non-German-speaking countries for the first time, including the Dutch National Ballet in 1970, the Harkness Ballet from New York, as well as independent ensembles from London and Paris and the Batsheva Dance Company from Tel Aviv. In the course of the 1970s, the program was expanded from three productions to seven, and in 1979 a popular music concert was shown for the first time with a so-called "youth evening".

Under the directorship of Achim Plato and chaired by Wolfgang Kühle, the "Wetzlar Industrial Festival" was renamed the "Wetzlar Festival" after the group of sponsors had expanded significantly. In 1985 the program consisted of 10 different events for the first time, including a concert by the Wetzlar Singakademie and a fairy tale for children for the first time. The numerous appearances by international dance ensembles in the 1970s were replaced by mainly German ensembles, and in 1988, "My Fair Lady" was the first musical on the program. The early 1990s were characterized by numerous performances from the new federal states, especially from the Mecklenburg-Neustrelitz State Theater and the Saxon State Theaters . With the Kestnerschule, Stadthalle and Lottehof, three new venues were opened in 1994 and 1995, and in 1995 the new supporting program with regional ensembles was introduced, which initially consisted of performances by the Goetheschule Wetzlar (musical) and the comprehensive school Aßlar (drama). In 1998, 20 different productions were shown for the first time. Under the direction of Marion Grundmann (2008 to 2019), the program grew to around 30 events, including numerous cabaret and cabaret evenings in the new Hofgut Hermannstein and Lottehof. The recently less successful pieces from the fields of opera and dance disappeared from the program. The musical "Lotte" was the first time that a separate work was commissioned for the Wetzlar Festival.

Marion Grundmann was the artistic director of the Wetzlar Festival from 2008 to 2019. For the 2020 season, the Berlin theater director Evangelia Sonntag took over the management of the Wetzlar Festival. Their repertoire again placed a focus on dance theater. Its first season in 2020 has been postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic .


In the 2015 season, 15,715 tickets were sold. In addition to 18 events in the main program and seven in the supporting program, the Lottehof also staged its own production "Lotte - A Wetzlar Musical". A total of 4,000 visitors came to the 12 sold-out evenings in the Lottehof alone. In the 2014 season, 13,937 tickets were sold.


The most important venue is the Rosengärtchen open-air stage in the area of ​​the historic city walls, the stands of which offer space for 950 spectators. Further venues are the Hermannstein estate (350 seats) and the former Teutonic Order Court in Wetzlar's old town, the Lottehof (350 seats), where Charlotte Buff's birthplace is located. The Wetzlar Cathedral was also a regular venue for the Wetzlar Festival. When it rains, the events are relocated from the Lottehof and Rosengärtchen to the Wetzlar town hall, while in Hermannstein a barn offers sufficient protection for the stage and visitors in bad weather. In 2010 the venue in Hermannstein had to be given up due to a change of ownership, in order to be taken up again under new management in 2014.

Main program

In the main program, various theaters are represented with guest performances, including traditionally always two classical plays and an operetta as well as a cabaret program, which are shown on the open-air stage in the rose garden. In addition there is a performance of a musical tour - also at the largest venue. Various concerts also take place in the rose garden, including the big prize winners' concert. Various cabarets, concerts and plays are also shown at the small venues. Since 2010 there has been no opera or ballet in the program due to the low level of interest in these areas in recent years.

Supporting program

Various amateur ensembles from the region take part in the supporting program. The most successful event of the supporting program is the musical of the Goetheschule Wetzlar , which has opened the festival on the open-air stage in the rose garden since 1996. At the smaller venues, pieces by the New Cellar Theater in Wetzlar, the Schwingbach School in Rechtenbach and the Lahntal School in Atzbach can be seen. The supporting program will be shown from the beginning of June before the actual opening of the main program.

In-house productions

In addition to the extensive guest performance program, the Wetzlar Festival also produces irregularly itself.

From Head to Toe (2002)

A revuette by Nicole Neiss / Friedrich Hollaender was written for the festival and premiered in 2002 in the Lottehof. The director of the festival was then Fritzdieter Gerhards .

The Diaries of Adam and Eve (2012)

The musical by Kevin Schroeder (book and texts) and Marc Seitz (music) was shown in the Lottehof in the 2012 season. The production was based on the world premiere production of the piece in Berlin's Admiralspalast in autumn 2011. As in Berlin, Christoph Drewitz was responsible for the production .

Lotte - A Wetzlar Musical (2015 and 2016)

On behalf of the Wetzlar Festival, the authors Kevin Schroeder (book and lyrics) and Marian Lux (music) wrote the musical Lotte with the help of Christoph Drewitz (direction and dramaturgy), which is loosely based on the novel The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe based, but tells the story from Charlotte Buff's perspective. The musical premiered in the 2015 season at the original Lottehof location. The production was nominated in seven categories for the German Musical Theater Prize 2015 .

Individual evidence

  1. Deutscher Musikrat Archived copy ( Memento of the original from September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.miz.org
  2. ^ European Business Network [1]
  3. ^ Wetzlarer Neue Zeitung of August 29, 1949
  4. Festschrift "50 Years of the Wetzlar Festival
  5. ^ Region Wetzlar: Farewell to the Festival , In: Wetzlarer Neue Zeitung . 3rd August 2015.

Web links