"The boards that mean the world" have a long tradition in Hamburg. But that doesn't mean that only the classics are performed here. In addition to famous spoken theater, the stage landscape offers a state opera, bitingly sharp cabaret, impressive dance performances, open-air performances and plays especially for children.
What would Hamburg be without its numerous stages? At major spoken-word theaters such as the Thalia Theater or the Deutsches Schauspielhaus, topics that are of concern to society are dealt with. But of course, people are allowed to laugh loudly and liberatingly when equally important topics are tackled with humor at the Winterhuder Fährhaus comedy or the Schmidt Theater. But there is more than just talking on the city's stages: The Hamburg State Opera has existed for more than 300 years, having opened in 1678 as an opera theatrum. The building on Gänsemarkt is also home to the renowned Hamburg Ballet. The Hamburg Ballet and the Kampnagel production house impressively demonstrate how much room for cultural diversity is possible in Hamburg. Both are dedicated to very different sides of the art form of dance. The company around ballet director John Neumeier has become known for its distinctive choreographic language. Kampnagel is not only a performance venue for dance productions, but also a place where ideas are developed and controversies dealt with.
Incidentally, commitment to cultural institutions has a long tradition in Hamburg. At a time when there was no state funding for culture, it was vital for the institutions' survival that the public donated and bought tickets. So it's fair to say that it was Hamburg's people's love of theater, cabaret and opera that made cultural diversity possible.
There is a venue for almost every taste in Hamburg, and of course some theaters are particularly representative of Hamburg life: On the stage of the Ohnsorg Theater, "Plattsnackerin" Heidi Kabel became an icon. The English Theatre of Hamburg shows how close Hamburgers are to British and U.S. culture: every season there are ambitious plays in original versions. And what could be more fitting for the port city of Hamburg than a theater on a ship? The theater ship with its picturesque berth on Nikolaifleet is, by its own admission, Europe's only ocean-going stage.
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