The Distel cabaret theatre provides prickly entertainment. Its biting sketches and sarcastic songs will make you laugh at the absurdities of politics and everyday life.
The Distel (“thistle”) is one of Berlin’s most popular cabaret theatres. For more than 70 years, Germany’s biggest cabaret ensemble has cast a satirical eye over events – always with a sharp finger on the pulse, inviting you to laugh at the absurdities of politics, bureaucracy and everyday life.
A prickly business: the Distel past and present
The foundation of the Distel was very unusual for a cabaret: it was promoted by the East Berlin authorities – in other words, the very establishment which is normally the target of political cabaret. But the East German authorities wanted something in response to West Berlin’s cabaret and its ridicule of the East. Even so, in the noble tradition of cabaret, the theatre repeatedly got into trouble with the censors. Every script had to be approved first, and the censors cut whole passages or had them rewritten. In 1988 a whole programme was not allowed to be performed. Today, three to six shows alternate on the programme and provide biting and humorous entertainment – uncensored. But still with a sharp eye and an even sharper pen.
Right up close: the Distel on Friedrichstraße
The venue is in the Admiralspalast on Friedrichstraße – right up close to Germany’s most powerful politicians, both houses of parliament and the Chancellor’s office. The Admiralspalast was one of Berlin’s great places of entertainment in the 1920s, staging glittering revues. After the war, operettas and revues were performed there. In 2006 it was reopened after extensive refurbishment. The Distel theatre is in the front building.
Berlin’s own Broadway: the East End theatre quarter
The Distel has teamed up with other theatres in the area between Hackesche Höfe and Friedrichstraße to form the East End theatre quarter. The East End includes
Information for schools
The Distel cabaret theatre is excellent for school trips, because it brings to life subjects such as German, Political Science and History in such an entertaining way. At the evening box office from Mondays to Thursdays, school students get a 25% discount in price categories A to D.
Call (030) 20447-04 to book in advance and receive a group discount for your class, along with an information pack to prepare for the theatre trip.
Please note that all performances are in German.