The Hamburg theater scene is rich and culturally vibrant. There are the traditional operas and plays, as well as exciting and experimental contemporary works.
The Hamburg State Opera
Hamburg’s old Opera House (Große Theaterstraße 25) had its beginnings in the year 1678. It was quite a groundbreaking achievement of the time, the creation of a theater that was open to the general public. Famous musicians of the day, like Georg Friedrich Händel and Georg Philipp Telemann, were employed here as musicians.
The Hamburg State Opera House is the two-time winner of Germany’s “Opera House of the Year” award.
This rococo national theater, Deutsches Schauspielhaus (Kirchenallee 39), was founded in 1900 by Hamburgers eager for a “speech” theater (i.e., non-opera). Today it is the country’s largest theater with a capacity of over 1,100 seats. It has stood the test of time as it survived Germany’s dictatorships and general unrest of the Cold War era.
The Thalia (Raboisen 67) is the place to go for contemporary Hamburg theater. This lovely structure was originally founded in 1843 but was heavily damaged during WWII. It wasn’t until 1960 that the original Thalia could re-open.
It is quite fitting that its name comes from the Greek muse, whose name derives from the word “to bloom.” Since then, it has become a world-renowned theater, focusing on young talent and experimenting with different genres and social issues.
The Hamburg Players
The Hamburg Players (Oberaltenallee 20a) are the city’s oldest, English language theater. Virtually all the other Hamburg theaters present their plays (naturally!) in the German language, except for this one. Every year this group puts on three new performances, which can range from Woody Allen to Charles Dickens.
Streits Film Theater
If you’re craving some simple English movies, check out the Streits Film Theater (Jungfernstieg 38). It is the current home of English cinema, in the original language, in Hamburg.