With over 35 million visitors, theatre in Germany has almost three times more viewers than do concerts or football games, reports the German Theatre Association, thus positioning German theatre for the World Theatre Day. The event is celebrated on 27 March and was launched by the International Theatre Institute (ITI). Each year it invites an important theatre maker to deliver a message that will broach a debate on the theatre and its global role. In 2014 the face of World Theatre Day will be the South African author and director Brett Bailey.
Theatre is and has always been border-crossing; this may be seen in the many theatre festivals in Germany, including the Ruhr Festival in Recklinghausen, the 2014 Theatre of the World Festival in Mannheim, the Young People’s Theatre Meeting at the end of May in Berlin and Unidram, the Potsdam International Theatre Festival, in autumn. The statistics of the German Theatre Association list 73 drama festivals, 143 state, municipal and regional theatres and 218 private theatres.
Theatre from A as in Aachen to Z as in Zwickau
Berlin alone offers more than 50 stages and ensembles: large theatres such like the Berlin Ensemble in the Theatre on Schiffbauerdamm and the Volksbühne or the internationally known Grips Theatre with its programme for children and young people. Also among the resonant names are the tradition-rich Munich Kammerspiele, chosen Theatre of the Year in 2013 by the magazine Theater heute; the popular Frankfurt Schauspiel, with an 84 per cent percentage of seats sold; and the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg with its renowned intendant Karin Beier. The various regions of Germany also have promising cultural offerings: from the very successful Aachen Grenzlandtheater to the Zwickau municipal theatre with its multifarious musical programme. They all ensure that the theatre scene in German remains outstanding.
World Theatre Day, 27 March