Leopold Hoesch
Dag Freyer
Nicholas von Brauchitsch
ZDFtheaterkanal / 3sat / ZDFdokukanal / arte
1 x 30'
Lars Roland
Hebbel-Theater Berlin

The Hebbel Theatre in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin, built in 1907/08, is one of the most beautiful theatres in Germany, having survived the war virtually unscathed. To this day, its mahogany-panelled Art Nouveau auditorium has lost none of its extraordinary charm.

Artistically, on the other hand, the Hebbel Theatre has experienced a very volatile history tied to frequent changes of ownership and name. Many stars from Hans Albers to Inge Meysel to Willem Dafoe have appeared on stage here.

Esther Schweins introduces the "Hebbel" on the outskirts of Kreuzberg, which was also forced by its location to always deal with the new and surprising. Before the war, the theatre had big stars; after the war, the Hebbel Theatre was one of the few undestroyed theatres used by the Americans for their "re-education" programme. In the 1960s it develops into a popular theatre in the best sense, with audience favourites such as Harald Juhnke, Klaus Schwarzkopf, Rudolf Platte and Inge Meysel. Then it got into financial difficulties and in 1978 the operators had to file for bankruptcy. A year later, the Hebbel Theatre is saved from demolition by a preservation order. Subsequently, the theatre is mainly used as an alternative venue by other Berlin theatres. Thanks to the private association "Verein zur Rettung des Hebbel-Theaters in Berlin-Kreuzberg e. V." (Society for the Rescue of the Hebbel Theatre in Berlin-Kreuzberg), in which well-known actors and public figures are involved alongside Hans Rosenthal, the theatre, which had fallen into disrepair, was not forgotten.

At the beginning of 1989, Nele Hertling took over as managing director and artistic director of the theatre and within a few years transformed it into an attractive venue for contemporary, international, interdisciplinary theatre of a high standard. Since the 2003/04 season, there is now the "HAU", the "Hebbel am Ufer". Under the direction of Matthias Lilienthal, the Hebbel Theatre, the Theater am Halleschen Ufer and the Theater am Ufer in Berlin-Kreuzberg want to jointly distinguish themselves as a centre for guest performances, dance and innovative theatre projects.

Photographer Jim Rakete, former mayor Walter Momper and a former squatter talk about the turbulent times in Kreuzberg and their influence on the Hebbel Theatre. Production excerpts and archive footage document the theatre's eventful history.

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