Volksbühne. A city honours a theatre and mourns
In October 1990 Frank Castorf directed Schiller’s tragedy “Die Räuber” at the Volksbühne Berlin, before he took up his work as 19th director at the new Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in 1992. Castorf made the theatre a nest of resistance against the new German complacency. Theatre critics voted it German-language Theater of the Year several times and Castorf wrote theatre history.
This era of Castorf now ends on 1 July 2017. In March 2015, the Berlin Senate decided to extend Castorf’s contract, which expires in the summer of 2016, by only one year. In the meantime, the red-red-green state government has also handed over the direction of the Berliner Volksbühne to Chris Dercon, the Belgian curator and museum director, currently director of the Tate Gallery of Modern Art in London.
The end of the era Castorf and therewith the Volksbühne were symbolically buried on April 1,2017 with a procession of the ensemble and about 150 other people. A rbb television documentary recently described it:
The Berliners know that you can reproduce a castle and put it back in the middle of Berlin. But they also understand in their current jubilation that with Castorf and his theatre-partisans they are losing something that will not happen again in this city. The best theatre in the world.