Down on Unter den Linden boulevard, in the heart of Berlin, Maxim Gorki Theatre has a mission – turning the spotlight on social changes and upheavals, both on stage as well as off. The 17-person ensemble around in-house directors Nurkan Erpulat, Sebastian Nübling and Yael Ronen has developed a powerful repertoire of literary premières, contemporary works and research projects.
X and Я – Join in and have your say!
The Я [ya] in GOЯKI is the last letter in the Russian alphabet, and it also means ‘I’ – which is eminently appropriate since the Maxim Gorki Theatre stands for self-definition and self-determination. This approach is vibrantly alive in Studio Я, the studio stage, with discussions, concerts and projects under artistic director Marianna Salzmann, who is also the in-house author.
The Gorki X – School, Club and Laboratory also plays a key role here as well, since it stands for free space in all its many facets. Gorki X is open for everyone from amateurs to professionals to join in, have their say, and experiment. The focus is not just on staging encounters in and with theatre, but also critically exploring the world around us, the world we live in. It’s a big topic, and encourages big discussions – which can be wonderfully continued in the theatre cafeteria!
Tip: Before starting your evening at the Maxim Gorki Theatre, check out the Gorki theatre column at http://kolumne.gorki.de/.
Theatre for all – with English surtitles
The Maxim Gorki Theatre is one of Berlin’s municipal theatres – and so artistic directors Shermin Langhoff and Jens Hillje seek to ensure that this stage is right at the heart of the city, not only geographically. Shermin Langhoff had already founded post-migrant theatre at the arts centre Ballhaus Naunynstraße – an approach she has further expanded since she became artistic director at the theatre in the 2013/14 season.
The Maxim Gorki Theatre celebrates diversity – from roots to religions, gender and identities. And to ensure that the audiences are just as diverse as the plays and topics on stage, all productions have English surtitles from the second performance on.
The Gorki brings onto the stage all those contemporary issues and themes long missing in modern theatre – an approach that has definitely borne fruit. The Maxim Gorki Theater has already been voted the theater of the year twice in the critics' survey of the theater magazine "Theater heute", one of Germany’s leading theatre magazines. Since then, for two consecutive years Gorki productions have been invited to take part in the prestigious Theatertreffen festival (Common Ground, 2015, The Situation, 2016). The Gorki has won a series of other awards, confirming its commitment to its present course and development.
Contemporary theatre in Berlin’s oldest concert hall
In 1827, a concert hall for the Berliner Singakademie choral society was the original building on this site. But the concert hall, designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, probably Berlin’s most famous architect, was severely damaged in the Second World War. The neo-classical building was rebuilt in the post-war years and opened as a straight theatre venue.
Founded in 1952 in then East Berlin, the Maxim Gorki Theatre was dedicated to contemporary theatre. Initially, the programme focused on Russian and Soviet realist productions, but the Gorki also staged the world premières of Heiner Müller’s Die Korrektur (The Correction) or Alfred Matusche’s Nacktes Gras. Over the years, the Maxim Gorki Theatre increasingly developed a stage programme critically engaging with contemporary issues and concerns – a spirit that still guides the theatre today.