the theatre was founded as a private theatre with a politically and socially committed repertoire under the name ‹The Schaubühne at Halleschen Ufer’. Of the original four founding members, Jürgen Schitthelm continued to be a managing director until September 2012.
a youth theatre group of theatre makers and actors came to the Schaubühne with Peter Stein. Against the background of the ‹68 movement and driven by a dissatisfaction with the then city theatre system, the idea was to counter an alternative to German city theatres using new forms of collaborative working.
All participants in the artistic process had a say in the choice of play and politics of the repertoire, while the paramount importance of a scientific and long-term concept of dramaturgy enabled the creation of one of the most important acting ensembles and an unusual penetration into society’s day-to-day life, as well as a more concentrated working style within the theatre.
More than 30 invitations to the Berliner Theatertreffen festival, 44 broadcasts on television of Schaubühne productions and many international performances document this in an impressive manner. The »Schaubühne style« was considered to be a careful handling of and a precise illumination of texts and epochs in world literature. Alongside an engagement with the Greek tragedies, the age of Shakespeare and Chekhov, 19th century dramatists and the German and French classics, contemporary plays by writers such as Botho Strauß and Peter Handke were also fixtures of the Schaubühne repertoire.
Peter Stein stayed on as artistic director of the Schaubühne until 1985. His most significant productions include »Peer Gynt« (1971), »The Piggy Bank« (1973), »Prince Friedrich von Homburg« (1972), »Summer Guests« (1974), »Large and Small« (1978), »The Oresteia« by Aeschylus (1980), »Three Sisters« (1984), »The Cherry Orchard«, (1989) and »Roberto Zucco« (1990). Stein’s companions, the directors Klaus Michael Grüber, Luc Bondy and Robert Wilson, worked at the Schaubühne until the end of the ‹90s.
The Schaubühne moved into a 1920s building designed by architect Erich Mendelsohn located at the top end of Kurfürstendamm and has been known since then as the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz. The house has three venues that can work independently from one another but are also used together. This makes it possible for directors and designers to develop complexes where the audience members are present within the stage area as opposed to the classic, rigid proscenium arch principle.
After Luc Bondy and Jürgen Gosch, the director Andrea Breth led the theatre and continued its tradition. Her trilogy of 19th century plays »The Lonely Way« (1991), »Hedda Gabler« (1993) and »Uncle Vanya« (1993), count among the outstanding Schaubühne works.
the Schaubühne artistically completely re-invented itself under the leadership of a group of young theatre makers: Thomas Ostermeier, Jens Hillje, Sasha Waltz and Jochen Sandig proposed that the house should not only position itself as a dramatic theatre but also as a dance theatre. With a strong programmatic position, an entirely new ensemble came together to take on the heritage of the now legendary Schahubühne and take it further. The new artistic directorate and the renewal of determination, the new positioning of contemporary drama as the focus of the repertoire as well as dance sparked off a huge amount of dynamism in the house as well as in the Berlin cultural landscape.
Thomas Ostermeier and Jens Hillje were the artistic directors. Luk Perceval and Flak Richter were working on a regular basis as in-house-directors at the Schaubühne.
Thomas Ostermeier has been the theatre’s artistic director.
The Schaubühne sees itself as a laboratory that works in dialogue with other disciplines such as architecture, the visual arts, music, literature and film, to develop a contemporary theatrical language with the objective of raising its distinctive profile of the theatre, which it has had since its foundation, and the reputation as one of the leading German-language theatres at home and abroad.
Jürgen Schitthelm hands over the responsibility as managing director to Dr. Friedrich Barner, boardmember since 1991, and Tobias Veit. As a corporate member he’s still involved in his life’s work.