The Baroque-Revival Neues Theater on the bank of the River Spree, designed by the architect Heinrich Seeling and opened in 1892, is one of the oldest theatre buildings in Berlin, listed among Germany's protected cultural landmarks. The interior has retained its original look; even the glass doors of the first balcony, featuring decorative plant ornaments created in a very rare technique, look exactly the same as While this building has witnessed many an important page in the development of the theatre, some changes in the sentiments of the German nation feature pretty obviously in the interior of the auditorium: the spirit of the Wilhelminian Germany, crossed out in red.
This is where the German Naturalism made its first steps with the first performance of Gerhart Hauptmann's Die Weber (The Weavers) directed by Otto Brahm.
1905 saw the first ever wooden revolving stage was installed. The heiress to the building, actress and later leader of Berliner Ensemble Helene Weigel had the idea of improving the device with little wheels from a disassembled Russian T-34 tank, which allowed the stage revolve completely without a sound; this construction is still working today.
This is where, in the early 1900s, the great German director Max Reinhardt created one of the world's most legendary historical productions, his version of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
And this is also Bertold Brecht's house where 31 August 1928 The Threepenny Opera was first performed. In 1949, after World War II, Bertold Brecht with his most significant actress Helene Weigel founded their Berliner Ensemble.
The inventor of the epic theatre, Brecht was one of the artists who believed that theatre could serve as a means to understand and influence the society.
Today, Berliner Ensemble is one of Berlin's most visited theatres; it is headed by the German director Claus Peymann who is always ready to create some waves. New productions are regularly mounted here by the golden classics of the 20th-century theatre, the American avant-garde minimalist Robert Wilson and German director Peter Stein who refers to himself as 'a university man' and has genuine respect for the text.
Sadly, the famous Brecht's buffet (entered from the inner courtyard and open to the theatre-goers as well as to the actors) has recently undergone a renovation and the old furniture, originally provided by Helene Weigel, was sold in auction.
Bertolt-Brecht-Platz 1Share it:
Keywords: theatre, theatres, Berlin