With its three stages which offer space for a total of 600 spectators, the Theater Oberhausen may not be among the largest theatres in the Metropolis Ruhr. However, what it lacks in size it more than makes up for with its remarkable quality and innovative approaches.
The directorial team around artistic director Florian Fiedler provides artistic stimuli with their socio-political direction and participatory projects which are bringing a younger audience and more people from a range of communities into the theatre. After what was only Fiedler's first season at the Theater Oberhausen in 2017/2018, these initiatives received third place in the ZukunftsGut prize for culture mediation, which takes cultural institutions across the whole of Germany into consideration.
Now more than ever, the Theater Oberhausen is looking to use new formats to be a meeting place. It offers series of discussions as well as parties. However, it also offers new formats such as the "Späti" – a regular late-night programme on Thursdays which includes improvisations, readings and concerts, all over the course of 60 minutes. In 2019, the Theater Oberhausen hosted "Westwind", Germany's most renowned theatrical festival for young audiences.
One tip is the Theaterkneipe Falstaff. This is not just a good place to sip some red wine in the interval or after enjoying an evening of culture, it is also one of the first ports of call for a pleasant evening in Oberhausen, offering excellent food and drinks.
The extent to which the people of Oberhausen love their theatre is made clear in its history. After it was destroyed in the Second World War, it was the first German theatre to resume performances in 1947. It first opened on 15th September 1920 with Franz Grillparzer's "Sappho". Initially, it was a theatre dedicated purely to putting on plays, however an opera and operetta ensemble was added to its ranks after just one season. Up until 1973, it was a theatre which showed straight theatre, music theatre and ballet, however, since 1992 it has been managed as a purely spoken theatre. The Theater Oberhausen is a prestigious theatre whose reputation extends far beyond the borders of Oberhausen. It has already been invited to the Berliner Theatertreffen – the most significant gathering of the German-speaking theatre industry – multiple times: twice in the 1960s and most recently in 2011.
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