Producer
Director
Andreas Lehmann
Producer
Digital Betacam
Genre
Culture
Broadcaster
ZDFtheaterkanal / 3sat / ZDFdokukanal
Length
1 x 30'
Editor
Year
2010
Theatrescapes
Staatstheater Kassel

Kassel - the geographical centre of Germany and right in the middle of it all the Staatstheater Kassel. Every five years, Kassel even becomes the centre of the world, at least of the art world, when the documenta takes place here.

But Kassel has much more to offer: Germany's oldest theatre building is located here. Under Landgrave Moritz the Scholar, Germany's first enclosed theatre building was constructed in 1605. Until the 19th century, the theatre was mainly characterised by musical theatre. Louis Spohr, who along with Paganini was one of the greatest violinists of his time, was chapel master and opera composer in Kassel. And Gustav Mahler was also at the Kassel Court Theatre. In 1909, the city gets a new theatre building, with the cooperation of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who used Schloss Wilhelmshöhe as his summer residence.

But the splendour is soon over again. After the Second World War, 80 percent of Kassel's residential buildings lie in ruins; Kassel is one of the most badly damaged cities in Germany. Hardly anything is left of the timber-framed, magnificent and patrician houses, and even the theatre is in ruins. The question that arises then is the same as in other cities in the country: Should everything be rebuilt as before or does the new beginning after the war also show in architecture and urban planning. The decision is made in favour of the new building: Kassel gets the largest theatre in Germany at that time. And along the way a new city is built. A city with a rather austere architectural and urban planning charm. Like many other German cities, it is supposed to be car-friendly, square, practical, good, which is considered modern at the time. So modern that Kassel gets Germany's first official pedestrian zone.

The 1950s are in many ways a time of new beginnings. This also includes the documenta. As a supporting programme to the Federal Garden Show, an exhibition opens that presents art that the Nazis had labelled "degenerate". In the 68s, Kassel then gets its theatre scandal in keeping with the times: the atmosphere is inflamed by a production of "Lysistrata", for which Niki de Saint Phalle, who was also a documenta participant at the time, designed the set - with the colourful enlargements of the genitals that are typical of her. Long gone are the days when audience members left the auditorium slamming doors because of such a set; today it takes more than that to drive the people of Kassel out of their theatre.

In the current episode " Theatrescapes" Esther Schweins leads us through the Wilhelmshöhe Palace Park and to Kassel's landmark, the Hercules, Hans Eichel talks about his school days in Kassel and the debates about the new theatre building after the war and Otto Sander about the beginnings of his acting career on the stage of the Staatstheater Kassel.

First broadcast: 1 May 2010, 19:00, ZDFtheaterkanal.

Theatrescapes: Staatstheater Kassel

Kassel - the geographical centre of Germany and right in the middle of it all the Staatstheater Kassel. Every five years, Kassel even becomes the centre of the world, at least of the art world, when the documenta takes place here.

More films