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Meiningen Theatre

Theatre lovers from all over Germany visit the famous Meiningen theatre every year in order to enjoy drama, musical theatre, opera and operetta, ballet performances, concerts, puppet theatre and children’s plays. Thrilling premieres, a large repertoire and a critically acclaimed, outstanding ensemble make your theatre visit an unforgettable experience!

The Meiningen Theatre is considered to be the birthplace of modern director’s theatre. The European rediscovery of Shakespeare has its roots here. After extensive refurbishment has been concluded in December 2011, the interior of the neo-classical building shines in new splendour and now also features leading-edge technology and enough space for a Wagner-sized orchestra.
In the late 18th century theatre performances were given in Elisabethenburg Castle. It was Duke Bernhard II. of Saxe-Meiningen who had the first theatre built in 1831. At that time travelling actor troupes were hired for entertainment. For his son Georg II. theatre became one of the most important concerns in Meiningen. The works of the classics like Shakespeare, Schiller, Kleist, and Moliére and popular playwrights of the time such as Paul Heyse and Henrik Ibsen dominated the repertoire. By utilizing dramaturgical means like lighting, music, mass scenes and illusionist stage settings, Georg II. created impressive works of dramatic art. The duke’s ensemble toured through all of Europe with its exemplary performances. Between 1874 and 1890 ‘The Meininger’ went on a total of 83 guest performance tours and even the Royal Shakespeare-Company was modelled on the Meiningen ensemble. The principle of the actor merging with his part, which has become one of the foundations for the success of Hollywood movies, was first brought to perfection by ‘The Meininger’ company. The video and light presentation in the theatre museum ‘Magic World of Scenery’ creates a vivid impression of this chapter of European theatre history. Furthermore you can book a ‘look behind the scenes’ guided tour through the Meiningen theatre.