The Hebbel-am-Ufer theatre complex or HAU, housed in three buildings, belongs among the energetic centres of the Berlin theatre map: in the first year of its existence it was named as Theatre Number One in the annual survey of theatre professionals carried out by the Theater Haute magazine. HAU is a theatre without a permanent company and in-house directors; it functions in the guest-performance mode during the whole theatre season and its bill is compiled focusing on the current trends of art and life interaction. The Hebbel am Ufer theatre complex is one of the most exciting spots on the Berlin arts map. The company describes itself as being more interested in life and reality than the performative discourse, and that is why Hebbel am Ufer always presents first of all fresh samples obtained by exploring the juncture of the theatre and life, complimented by a vast collection of contemporary stagework from all over the world.
All three of HAU buildings are also filled with vivid history. Hebbel Theater, the Art Nouveau edifice designed by the architect Oskar Kaufmann, currently housing HAU 1, is among the oldest and most beautiful theatre buildings in Berlin: it opened its doors in 1908. The interior of the auditorium, dominated by wood, makes theatre viewing an intimate and cosy scaled-down experience. Sitting in one of the theatre's balconies makes you wonder if people really were so much smaller back in the early 1900s and the quite restricted leg and elbow room was enough to make them feel comfortable.
Many prominent German actors have performed at Habbel Theater, Paul Wegener and Elisabeth Bergner among them. In the 1990s, Hebbel Theater was an influential international theatre and dance venue where most significant artists of the late 1900s gave guest performances.
There is a legendary aura to the building housing HAU 2 as well. In the 1970s, it was the venue of Peter Stein's Schaubühne am Halleschen Ufer company before it moved to a different part of the city in 1981. The lighting of the second-floor lobby - a ceiling scattered with naked light bulbs - won some genuine praise from Laurie Anderson.
The building housing HAU 3 used to be home to one of the most creative ensembles of the free theatre, Andrej Woron's Teatr Kreatur.
HEBBEL AM UFER - HAU 1: Stresemannstr. 29
HEBBEL AM UFER - HAU 2: Hallesches Ufer 32
HEBBEL AM UFER - HAU 3: Tempelhofer Ufer10
Keywords: theatre, theatres, Berlin