The “boards that mean the world” have a long and storied tradition in Hamburg, but that doesn’t mean that you can only find the classics here! As well as our famous spoken theatre, Hamburg’s theatrical calendar also features a state opera, raunchy cabaret, impressive dance performances, open-air shows and plays specifically designed for kids.
What would Hamburg be without its numerous theatres? Attend productions that tackle hard-hitting topics at larger theatres such as the Thalia Theater or the Deutsches Schauspielhaus. Or why not address the same issues accompanied by loud and liberating laughter at the Winterhuder Fährhaus comedy house or the Schmidt Theater? There’s so much more here, though… the Hamburg State Opera, for example, has been in existence as an opera house since 1678. Plus, the building at Gänsemarkt is also home to the renowned Hamburg Ballet. The Hamburg Ballet and the Kampnagel production house are both impressive examples of how cultural diversity is both possible and welcomed in Hamburg – both are dedicated to very different aspects of the medium of dance. Director John Neumeier and his ballet company has become known for their distinctive choreography. Kampnagel isn’t only a performance venue for dance productions, it’s also a place where ideas are developed and controversies dealt with.
Incidentally, Hamburg’s commitment to its cultural institutions is a longstanding tradition. Indeed, at a time when there was no state funding for culture, the institutions relied on ticket sales and public donations to stay afloat. It’s fair to say that it was the people of Hamburg and their love of the theatre, cabaret and opera that’s made today’s cultural diversity possible.
There’s something for everyone in Hamburg and, of course, some of our theatres are particularly representative of life in the city. Indeed, ‘Plattsnackerin’ Heidi Kabel became an icon on stage at the Ohnsorg Theatre. The English Theatre of Hamburg shows how close the locals feel to British and American culture – every season, you can view spectacular plays in the original English version. Plus, what would suit us as a port city better than a theatre on a ship? The theatre ship with its picturesque berth on Nikolaifleet is, by its own definition, Europe’s only ocean-going stage.
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