Deutsches Theater

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Deutsches Theater

Deutsches Theater (doiˈchəs tāäˈtər), German private theater organization founded in 1883. Under its first director, Adolph L'Arronge, the Deutsches merged with the Freie Bühne (Otto Brahm, director) and in 1884 built its own house in Berlin. Plays by Sophocles, Calderón, Molière, Shakespeare, and other classical writers were mounted. During Brahm's directorship modern works by Ibsen and Hauptmann were produced. Max Reinhardt, who succeeded Brahm, won renown as a theatrical innovator. The theater collapsed but was revived after World War I and survived World War II.


See biography of Otto Brahm by M. Newmark (1937); O. M. Sayler, ed., Max Reinhardt and his Theatre (tr. 1924, repr. 1968).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Deutsches Theater


(the German Theater), a dramatic theater in Berlin (German Democratic Republic). Its forerunner was a summer theater that opened in 1848 and in 1850 became a permanent city theater. In this theater, a private play-producing society, which included E. von Possart and L. Barnay, and the dramatist A. L’Arronge founded the Deutsches Theater in 1883. The theater was conceived as a national theater with a permanent acting company and a predominantly classical repertoire.

The Deutsches Theater opened in 1883 with Schiller’s tragedy Intrigue and Love, in which J. Kainz played the role of Ferdinand. Other tragedies by Schiller, as well as tragedies by J. W. von Goethe, G. E. Lessing, and H. von Kleist, were also staged. The director O. Brahm, the theater’s manager from 1894 to 1904, staged plays by G. Hauptmann and H. Ibsen, as well as L. N. Tolstoy’s The Power of Darkness.

Between 1905 and 1933, M. Reinhardt served as director of the Deutsches Theater. In 1905 he opened a theatrical school at the theater and in 1906 founded a smaller theater, the Kammerspiele. The repertoire of the Deutsches Theater comprised German classical drama and the works of Shakespeare, L. N. Tolstoy, N. V. Gogol, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, H. von Hofmannsthal, and F. Wedekind. The theater’s productions laid great emphasis on scenery, music, lighting, pantomime, and external expressiveness. Its remarkable acting ensemble included A. Moissi, P. Wegener, and G. Eisold.

When the fascists established a dictatorship in Germany in 1933, Reinhardt and many of the actors of the Deutsches Theater were forced to leave Germany. The theater was closed in 1944. It reopened on Sept. 7, 1945, with Lessing’s Nathan the Wise. The theater assumed an active role in the creation of a new, antifascist, democratic culture.

Postwar directors of the Deutsches Theater have been G. Wangenheim (1945–46), W. Langhoff (1946–63), W. Heinz (1963–70), and H. A. Perten (from 1970). In the 1960’s the theater staged plays by E. Toller, B. Brecht, and F. Wolf (banned by the fascists) and plays by the modern German playwrights G. Wangenheim, H. Hauser, H. Zinner, P. Hacks, and H. Kant. German classical drama was revived, and plays by Soviet dramatists were staged, as well as the plays of M. Gorky, A. N. Ostrovskii, and A. P. Chekhov.

Important productions of the Deutsches Theater in the 1960’s and early 1970’s include Gorky’s Enemies, Schneider’s The Niirnberg Trial (1967) and The Entrance to the Castle (1971), Kant’s The Auditorium (1969), Plenzdorf s The New Sorrows of Young Werther (1972), and Braun’s Miners at the Dump. Actors at the Deutsches Theater during this period have been U. Birnbaum, H. Grosse, H. Drinda, F. Düren, F. Solter, and I. Keller.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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