The Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz – leading German film actors, experimental theatre and provocative productions, some even with English surtitles!
The Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz has a long tradition of bringing together well-known actors and experimental theatre – and is equally well known for its provocative productions, creating some major scandals in theatre history. The theatre not only stages its own productions, but has a number of long-standing cooperations, for instance, with the Gob Squad, a British-German collective based in Nottingham and Berlin. The major names regularly appearing at present on the stage of the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz include film actor Henry Hübchen as well as Alexander Scheer, Martin Wuttke, Sophie Rois and many others.
Aside from provocative and widely discussed critical explorations of contemporary issues and multimedia adaptations of novels, the productions by Christoph Marthaler, Christoph Schlingensief (†), Dimiter Gotscheff and René Pollesch have really made waves.
In line with the Volksbühne’s ‘expanded concept of theatre’, the programme also includes concerts, screenings, readings and literary events – which sometimes involves turning the theatre cafeteria into an unusual location for rehearsals or even a provisional stage!
In 1992, Frank Castorf was appointed as the Volksbühne’s artistic director. Under his directorship, the Volksbühne was voted twice as the theater of the year in the critics' survey of the theater magazine "Theater heute". Klaus Dörr then took over as interim director of the theatre.
With the 2021/22 season, René Pollesch, supported by many others, took over the Volksbühne, which focuses on drama and dance, but also music, performance, film and discourse.
In addition to the theatre’s main auditorium, the Volksbühne has a number of venues and in-house stages, including the Roter and Grüner Salon and the Sternenfoyer, as well as a stage on the third floor and the more intimate Hinterbühne stage.
From critical East German productions to a multi-branch theatre
The Volksbühne, designed by Oskar Kaufmann, dates from 1914. Erwin Piscator, artistic director in the 1920s, was renowned for his controversial productions. His approach to theatre was also an important influence on Bertolt Brecht. During the Second World War, the theatre building was almost completely destroyed. In the early 1950s in what was then East Germany, the theatre was redesigned by Hans Richter and rebuilt. In East Germany, the Volksbühne developed into a modern director’s theatre, staging plays by prestigious writers such as Heiner Müller, and noted for its provocative productions by Benno Besson and Fritz Marquardt.
Some performances have English surtitles. For more details, check the programme in advance.
In the area around the Volksbühne, there is only limited parking.