Theatre in all its diversity – Frankfurt am Main has it all with around 20 stages and more than 50 theatre ensembles putting on over 100 performances a week.
Frankfurt’s Städtische Bühnen [Municipal Stage] is the largest theatre in Hesse today. During the 60s, Schauspiel Frankfurt [Frankfurt Drama] under the direction of Harry Buckwitz and that of his successor Peter Palitzsch had become the most important Brecht stage in West Germany. Oliver Reese, who came to Frankfurt from the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, has been the director of Schauspiel Frankfurt since the 2009/10 season.
The Oper Frankfurt is one of the leading opera houses in Europe and has received the Opera of the Year Award several times, most recently in 2008. At the start of the 2008/09 season, Sebastian Weigle took over the artistic direction. Bernd Loebe has been executive director of the Alte Oper since 2002; the company’s permanent orchestra is the Frankfurter Museumsorchester.
Reconstruction of the late neo-classical Alte Oper, was completed in 1981. It has since been run as concert hall and conference centre with an excellent reputation on the international music scene.
The Künstlerhaus Mousonturm [Mousonturm Arts’ Centre] is a performance, production and theatre-research facility of international standing. Here, independent artists of all genres are shaping the theatre of tomorrow.
There are four major independent theatres contributing to the outstanding quality of Frankfurt’s theatre scene: the Volkstheater - a dialect stage founded by the actress Liesel Christ in 1972 -, the Fritz Rémond Theater and the Komödie- both under the artistic direction of the actor/director Prof. Claus Helmer- and the English Theatre, managed by Daniel Nicolai.
In addition to the municipal and independent playhouses, a lively and diverse theatre scene has emerged in Frankfurt, virtually unrivalled in Germany. The famous Forsythe Company give regular guest performances at the Bockenheimer Depot, wowing their audience with contemporary dance. In every district of the city, music, dance and straight theatre ensembles are working on their productions and giving performances. Some of them have their own stages such as the Theater Willy Praml at the atmospheric Naxoshalle, the Freie Schauspiel Ensemble on Schmidtstrasse in the Gallus district, the Dramatische Bühne at Bockenheim’s Exzesshalle or the Frankfurt Autoren Theater at the Brotfabrik in Hausen. Others use established venues such as the traditional Gallus Theater in the Zoopassage and its neighbour, the Katakombe, the Käs on the Naxos site, the Schmiere at the city centre, Stalburg in the Nordend district, the Neues Theater in Höchst in Höchst or the recently founded Landungsbrücken at Westhafen.
Frankfurt’s theatre scene has much to offer also for children and young people. At the Theaterhaus located in the city centre kids from age 3 can enjoy great plays and puppet theatre, the Papageno Theater at the Palmengarten is famous for its musical theatre for this age group, and in Nordweststadt the Kinder- und Jugendtheater [Children’s and Young People’s Theatre] adapts well-known children’s books for the stage. During the International Children’s and Young People’s Theatre Festival Starke Stücke [Powerful Plays], award-winning children’s theatre companies from all over the world give guest performances in Frankfurt and the Rhine Main area.