HISTORYThe history of Schauspielhaus Vienna started at the beginning of the 20th century: it began with a cabaret theatre located in the basement of Porzellangasse in the Ninth District of Vienna. Later it was converted into one of Viennas first cinemas with 597 seats, and was called Heimat-Kino and Citta 2000 between 1913 and 1975. (A scene from Carol Reeds film The Third Man, 1949, was shot in this cinema.)
In 1978 director and artistic director of Werkstatt (Neues Theater am Kärntnertor) Hans Gratzer founded Schauspielhaus by converting it into a theatre (with 220 seats) and opening it on May 4, 1978 with Jean Genets The Balcony. Hans Gratzer programmed mainly classics, contemporary drama and musicals.
Gratzers first era endet with George Tabori, director, writer and actor, taking over. He established his theatrical laboratory Der Kreis (The Circle) at Schauspielhaus Vienna and was its artistic director between 1987 and 1990.
In 1991 the second era of Hans Gratzer began. This time he tried to establish Schauspielhaus as stage for world and first premieres. One of his most important discoveries was Austrian playwright Werner Schwab. He was also responsible for several Austrian premieres of plays by British writers Sarah Kane and Mark Ravenhill. In his last season Gratzer was joined by Martin Haselböck and the programming focussed exclusively on music theatre. das schaufenster was a completely new form of theatre presented in the former canteen.
In 2001 Airan Berg and Barrie Kosky became artistic directors of Schauspielhaus. Focussing on an intercultural approach they turned Schauspielhaus into an international theatre meeting point , a stage open to many interpretations of various cultures. They also produced many successful cross-overs between drama and opera (e.g.Poppea, Hoffmanns Erzählungen). After Kosky left, Airan Berg continued alone until 2007, running Schauspielhaus as international coproduction stage.
From 2007 until 2015 Andreas Beck was artistic director of Schauspielhaus Vienna and created a new profile as authors theatre for contemporary writing with an ensemble. During this period Schauspielhaus was the only german language theatre that concentrated exclusively on contemporary writing.The focus was on young contemporary playwrights. Amongst the most important discoveries were Ewald Palmetshofer (Schauspielhaus was reopened in 2007 with the world premiere of his play hamlet ist tot. keine schwerkraft) and Thomas Arzt. Many awards for the theatre, for actors, directors, writers and productions (e.g. Nestroy Award 2008 for the relaunch of Schauspielhaus) as well as invitations to national and international festivals were proof of the tremendous success of this concept.
Since July 2015 Tomas Schweigen is artistic director of Schauspielhaus Vienna. The focus is on contemporary writing with a great variety of diverse accesses to authorship and a politically involved programming. The productions are presented en suite.