Dr. Stockmann discovers that the source of drinking and spa water is riddled with pathogenic micro-organisms, caused by industrial effluence. Stockmann wants to publish the findings in the newspaper and demands that the city council re-route the water pipes. Influential citizens and local journalists promise their support. However, his brother Peter, the mayor, raises some serious concerns: the economic prosperity of the spa town will be threatened. Nevertheless, Stockmann insists on transparency: for him the affair has long since ceased to be about the polluted health spa, his target is society as a whole. Ibsen’s drama wavers on a fine line between honesty and fanaticism. What is the potential for transparency in a commercialised society? One of Ibsen’s most resonant works is made highly topical in Ostermeier’s acclaimed production.

The Schaubühne was founded in 1962. Since 1999 it has been led by artistic director Thomas Ostermeier. The Schaubühne premieres a minimum of ten shows per season alongside a repertoire of over 30 existing productions. Starting from the concept of an ensemble theatre – consisting of an ensemble of permanently employed actors who essentially have been working together since 1999, regularly extended by new appointments –, the actors, dramatic characters and situations of a play take centre stage at the Schaubühne.

One of the theatre’s distinctive features is a stylistic variety in approaches to directing, which includes new forms of dance and musical theatre. The search for a contemporary and experimental theatre language which focuses upon storytelling and a precise understanding of texts – both classical and contemporary – is a unifying element. The repertoire encompasses the great dramatic works of world literature alongside contemporary plays from internationally renowned writers which, with over 100 world and German premieres over the past 19 years, have been a key component of the theatre’s work.



This production plays on 18 April 2020. Available from 6.30pm CET until midnight.


THOMAS OSTERMEIER director of the Schaubühne and playwright Mark Ravenhill in conversation with Peter M. Boenisch (Aarhus University and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama) on why the Schaubühne matters and the role it plays in the German and wider international theatre landscape.

This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.

This post was written by Directed by Thomas Ostermeier, based on a play by Henrik Ibsen, Schaubühne (2012), Germany.

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