After the Comédie Francaise, the Burgtheater in Vienna is Europe’s second-oldest theatre. Today, the Burgtheater, originally known as the K. K. Hoftheater nächst der Burg, complete with its three affiliated venues – the Akademietheater, Kasino and Vestibül – and a permanent ensemble of more than 100 actors and actresses, is one of Europe’s largest theatres and plays a seminal role in the German-speaking theatrical world. Every season, the Burgtheater and its affiliated venues welcome approximately 400,000 theatre-goers to some 800 performances.
On 14th March 1741, the theatre manager Joseph Selliers was authorised by Empress Maria Theresia to let a vacant banqueting hall next to the Hofburg palace to theatrical companies. In 1776 the Teutsches Nationaltheater, as it was then called, was placed under court administration by royal decree by Maria Theresia’s son Joseph II. This marked the beginning of the heyday of German-language theatre in Vienna. In 1794, the theatre was renamed K.K. Hoftheater nächst der Burg. After 130 years of operation, the company’s new theatre building, designed by Gottfried Semper und Karl Hasenauer, opened its doors on the Ringstraße boulevard on 14th October 1888, after fourteen years of construction. The Burgtheater was the last link in the chain of sumptuous structures built around the Ringstraße, and its magnificent façade has made it one of Vienna’s popular tourist attractions.
In September 1922, the Akademietheater on Lisztstraße was affiliated as an additional stage. During the last days of the Second World War, the Burgtheater was extensively damaged by a bombing raid and a fire of unknown origin, and the company took up temporary residence at the Etablissement Ronacher, a variety theatre. In 1955 the company returned to its home on the Ringstraße which had been restored to its former glory and equipped with up-to-date technology.
Since 2009 Matthias Hartmann is the director of the Burgtheater. He enriched the repertoire of the theatre by introducing the international performance groups Nature Theater of Oklahoma from New York and the Belgian Needcompany , Artists in Residence at the Burgtheater since 2009, to the Viennese public.
The Venues Burgtheater
The stage of the Burgtheater is one of the biggest theatre stages in the world. The front stage is 13m wide, the main stage is 28,5m wide, 23m deep and 28m high. At the opening in 1888 the stage technology was already innovatory and has been modernized on many occasions. During the reconstruction after World War II, which was accomplished in 1955, a stage equipment was installed that is still revolutionary today. The revolving stage consists of a rotating cylinder (15m high, 21m diameter) and four hydraulic lifts (12 x 4 m each). With the help of this technical features the scenery can be changed within 40 seconds. It is the biggest automatic and computer controlled stagesystem in Europe.
The Burgtheater auditorium holds 1175 seats, it has standing room for 84 visitors and 12 places for disabled visitors.
Apart from the stage-art the Burgtheater plays an important part in architecture and interior design of the 19th century in Vienna. The magnificent decoration, especially the two imperial staircases painted by Gustav Klimt, his brother Ernst Klimt and their companion Franz Matsch as well as the main foyer and the many statues, busts and paintings of famous writers and actors can be visited during our daily guided tour.
Address: Dr. Karl Lueger-Ring 2, 1010 Wien
Designed by the architects Fellner & Hellmer and Ludwig Baumann and built between 1911 and 1913, the Akademietheater has been the Burgtheater’s second venue since 1922. After many years of requests from ensemble members of the Burgtheater who wanted a second stage of more intimate dimensions, Max Paulsen succeeded in affiliating the “Theatre of the Academy of Music and the Performing Arts”, for brevity 's sake called Akademietheater, to the Burgtheater as a smaller, second venue. It was inaugurated on September 8, 1922, with a performance of Goethe’s Iphigenia in Tauris. After the Second World War, which the building survived intact, the theatre was re-opened on May 19, 1945, under the direction of Raoul Aslan with Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. The Akademietheater was refurbished and technically upgraded in 1974 and in 1999.
Address: Lisztstrasse 1, 1030 Wien
The Kasino at Schwarzenbergplatz
The Kasino at Schwarzenbergplatz became affiliated as a venue to the Burgtheater in the early 1980s. It was built in 1869 to serve as a residence for the Archduke Ludwig Viktor, youngest brother of the Emperor Franz Joseph. In 1910, Ludwig Viktor offered the building to the “Military Studies and Casino Association”. Today, the Burgtheater makes use of the Kasino’s unorthodox stage layout for special productions and projects.
Address: Am Schwarzenbergplatz 1, 1010 Wien
Vestibül at the Burgtheater
The Burgtheater’s smallest venue, the Vestibül, originally designed as an access point for the carriages of the nobility, is situated under the left-hand grand staircase of the Burgtheater. Considered as the Burgtheater’s studio stage, the Vestibül offers a unique and compact setting for unusual theatrical projects.
Adresse: Dr. Karl Lueger-Ring 2, Entrance Ringstrasse Landtmannseite, 1010 Wien
Matthias Harmann’s performance “War and Peace” (The Burgtheater) after the first volume of L.Tolstoy’s novel will be presented at the Sixth International Alexandrinsky Theatre Festival (September 29 and 30, 2011).
Official site https://www.burgtheater.at