Producer
Director
Christian Frey
Editor
Genre
Culture
Broadcaster
ZDFtheaterkanal / 3sat / ZDFdokukanal
Length
1 x 30'
Format
Digital Betacam
Year
2002
Theatrescapes
Nationaltheater Weimar

The history of the Weimar National Theatre reads like a mirror of German history. After its founding in 1791 as the Weimar Court Theatre by Duke Carl August, the first director Johann Wolfgang von Goethe strove to offer the audience a comprehensive theatre culture in almost 300 performances a year.

From 1799 to 1805 Goethe and Schiller worked together on the Weimar stage.
Goethe made it possible for authors to exert a decisive influence on the staging of their works and he ensured that the formerly disreputable reputation of the art of acting gave way to high esteem and social recognition for actors. In addition to drama, Goethe also promoted musical theatre. In the course of time, Weimar became the home of Hummel, Liszt, Wagner, Berlioz and Richard Strauss. In 1919, the German National Assembly met in the theatre building and adopted the Republican Imperial Constitution on 31 July. The theatre was renamed "Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar". For supporters and opponents of the republic, the theatre became a stage for political self-dramatisation.

From 1924, the National Socialists held their party meetings here, and two years later the first Reich Party Conference of the NSDAP was held in the theatre after its ban was lifted. During the period of Nazi rule, mainly classical repertoire was performed. The ensemble played for the entertainment of the SS men in the casino at the Buchenwald concentration camp. In 1945, a bombing raid destroyed the building; it was the first German theatre to be rebuilt after the war and reopened in 1948 with "Faust I".

With the 2000/2001 season, the Swiss Stephan Märki took over the general directorship of the German National Theatre. Since the beginning of his tenure, he has been fighting - supported by the citizens of Weimar and politicians such as Antje Vollmer and Richard von Weizsäcker - against plans by the Thuringian state government to merge the theatre in Weimar with that of the nearby state capital Erfurt. In the summer of 2002, the National Theatre was once again the scene of politics: Russian President Vladimir Putin met there with former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Theatrescapes: Nationaltheater Weimar

The history of the Weimar National Theatre reads like a mirror of German history. After its founding in 1791 as the Weimar Court Theatre by Duke Carl August, the first director Johann Wolfgang von Goethe strove to offer the audience a comprehensive theatre culture in almost 300 performances a year.

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