A Theatre of the People
The Volksbühne in the centre of Berlin is one of the leading and most innovative theatres of both Berlin and Germany. It was established in 1914 as a result of a grassroots people’s movement. Erwin Piscator, in the 1920s, and Benno Besson, in the 1970s, had a huge influence on the theatre. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Frank Castorf became director-general. He turned it into perhaps the most successful, but certainly the most controversial theatre in reunified Germany.
A Theatre of Directors
With its paradoxical objectives to be élitist and populist, eccentric and appealing to the masses, it simultaneously radiates a mood of awakening and the awareness of futility; it tears down the classical limits of the theatre, but also confirms them in a reflective way.
The Volksbühne's image is characterised by Frank Castorf’s seismographic investigations into the present and his multimedia novel adaptations, by Christoph Marthaler’s monuments of standstill, Christoph Schlingensief’s theatre-blasting actions and by the works of René Pollesch, the paradoxical-critical director of turbo-capitalism. But also the regular theory, music, literature and film events, as well as the ”Thematic Weekends”, which all contribute to Volksbühne’s ”concept of expanded theatre”, are integral components of this theatre. This website complements our endeavour to provide a critical audience with both entertaining theatre and an ongoing debate on political and cultural issues.