Schauspielhaus Zürich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Schauspielhaus Zürich
Schauspielhaus Zürich.jpg
The theatre in 2007
Former namesVolkstheater am Pfauen
Alternative names
  • Zürich playhouse
  • Pfauenbühne
General information
LocationZurich, Switzerland
Coordinates47°22′12″N 8°32′57″E / 47.37000°N 8.54917°E / 47.37000; 8.54917Coordinates: 47°22′12″N 8°32′57″E / 47.37000°N 8.54917°E / 47.37000; 8.54917
Completed1892 (1892)
Other information
Seating capacity750

The Schauspielhaus Zürich (English: Zürich playhouse) is one of the most prominent and important[citation needed] theatres in the German-speaking world. It is also known as "Pfauenbühne" (Peacock Stage). The large theatre has 750 seats. The Schauspielhaus also operates three stages in the Schiffbau in the western part of Zürich, the Schiffbau/Halle (400 seats), the Schiffbau/Box (up to 200 seats) and the Schiffbau/Matchbox (80 seats).


The building was constructed in 1892 as the Volkstheater am Pfauen (People's Theater on the Pfauen Square) with a Bavarian beer garden and a bowling alley. It served initially as a music hall or vaudeville stage. In 1901 the building was rented by the director of the Zürich Opera House and opened as a play house with Goethe's comedy Die Mitschuldigen (The Accomplices). From 1903 until 1926 the play house was run by a private cooperative.

In 1926 Zürich wine wholesaler and play house director Ferdinand Rieser acquired the house and had it renovated. Then in 1938 it was leased to the Neue Schauspiel AG, a company founded by the city of Zürich in order to save the theater from its financial difficulties. When the lease ran out in 1952, the citizens of Zürich refused to purchase the house for the proposed price of 3 million Swiss francs. Upon their refusal, UBS AG, a Swiss banking group, stepped in to purchase the building and arranged a new lease arrangement with the Neue Schauspiel AG.

However, the effort to establish an ambitious theater in Zürich met with little success at first, and until 1933 the theater was rarely thought of outside of Switzerland.

After the rise of the Nazis in 1933, however, many important actors and directors immigrated to Switzerland from Germany and Austria. With the help of these artists, the theater achieved great success, staging many anti-fascist works, importantly the world-premiers of several plays by Bertolt Brecht. During this time the Schauspielhaus Zürich was the largest free stage in the German-speaking world, as stages in Germany and Austria were strictly regulated.

After the war, the theater retained its important place in world and German-language theater. During this time it saw world premiers of such important playwrights as Max Frisch, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Carl Zuckmayer, Georges Schehadé, Botho Strauß and Yasmina Reza.

Established in 1959, the Theater am Hechtplatz served for a short time as a second stage.[1]

From 2000 to 2004 the theater experienced with Christoph Marthaler as director a new artistic blooming and was chosen as theater of the year twice by Theater heute (Theater Today), the most important and widely read German theater publication.

Since summer 2009 Schauspielhaus Zürich is headed by Barbara Frey. The house's repertoire spans the whole history of theatre literature, from the old Greek up to the first performances of contemporary plays.


  • 1929 (1929) – 1938 (1938): Ferdinand Rieser
  • 1938 (1938) – 1961 (1961): Oskar Wälterlin, Otto Tausig
  • 1961 (1961) – 1964 (1964): Kurt Hirschfeld
  • 1965 (1965) – 1968 (1968): Leopold Lindtberg
  • 1968 (1968) – 1969 (1969): Teo Otto, Erwin Parker, Otto Weissert
  • 1969 (1969) – 1970 (1970): Peter Löffler
  • 1970 (1970) – 1977 (1977): Harry Buckwitz
  • 1978 (1978) – 1982 (1982): Gerhard Klingenberg
  • 1982 (1982) – 1989 (1989): Gerd Heinz
  • 1989 (1989) – 1992 (1992): Achim Benning
  • 1992 (1992) – 1999 (1999): Gerd Leo Kuck
  • 1999 (1999) – 2000 (2000): Reinhard Palm
  • 2000 (2000) – 2004 (2004): Christoph Marthaler
  • 2004 (2004) – 2005 (2005): Andreas Spillmann
  • 2005 (2005) – 2009 (2009): Matthias Hartmann
  • 2009 (2009) – 2019 (2019): Barbara Frey

Further reading[edit]

  • Marco Badilatti (2005). "Schauspielhaus Zürich, Zürich ZH". In Andreas Kotte (ed.). Theaterlexikon der Schweiz (TLS) / Dictionnaire du théâtre en Suisse (DTS) / Dizionario Teatrale Svizzero / Lexicon da teater svizzer [Theater Dictionary of Switzerland] (in German). 3. Zürich: Chronos. pp. 1585–1588. ISBN 978-3-0340-0715-3. LCCN 2007423414. OCLC 62309181.


  1. ^ Tanja Stenzl (2013-12-05). "Theater am Hechtplatz, Zürich ZH" (in German). Retrieved 2015-09-27.

External links[edit]