Online-Release: Opening Night at the Große Schauspielhaus

Time Travel with Virtual Reality – Berlin 1927

In cooperation with the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin, the team of digital.DTHG publishes the virtual reality project “Opening night at the Große Schauspielhaus”. The premiere takes place online; an opening in the foyer of the Friedrichstadt-Palast is planned as soon as the house’s pandemic hygiene concept allows guests to use the VR glasses. The virtual reality project is already available for download on the internet platform Steam and can be experienced by users with VR glasses at home.

The occasion for the VR project is the 100th anniversary of the no longer existing Großes Schauspielhaus Berlin. In 1919, theater founder Max Reinhardt and architect Hans Poelzig created one of the most visionary theater buildings of the 20th century in the heart of Berlin: with expressionist formal language, innovative stage technology and pioneering stage space, an icon of architecture was created, popularly known as the “Tropfsteinhöhle”.  The theater director Erik Charell brought the glamour of big Broadway shows to Berlin with his revues during the Golden 20s.

To make the eventful past of the Großes Schauspielhaus tangible for visitors today, the interdisciplinary digital.DTHG team uses the spatial and narrative possibilities of virtual reality and creates an immersive experience.

In the VR experience “Opening Night at the Große Schauspielhaus”, visitors can travel to Berlin during the Golden Twenties and explore the digital reconstruction of the Großes Schauspielhaus Berlin – in front of the stage, backstage and on stage. On the snowy premiere evening of the operetta “Madame Pompadour” on December 23, 1927, we accompany three different protagonists on their very personal journey down memory lane through the building. The visitor Walter Schatz leads us through the impressive foyers into the gigantic auditorium; the celebrated singer Fritzi Massary lets us dive into the cosmos of a stage star; the young lighting technician Otto Kempowski shows us the fascinating world of theater technology. Through these three perspectives we look into the socio-political context of the time, into the artistic program of the house, and into different job descriptions and working conditions of theater.

The special feature of this project is that the unique architecture is a virtual walk-in exhibition space. Historical objects from various theater archives and collections, such as the Stadtmuseum Berlin or the Technical Cabinet of the Leipzig Opera, are digitally recreated and integrated into the virtual narrative. Visitors can discover, for example, the innovative cloud apparatus from Schwabe & Co or the napkin with the first design sketch by architect Hans Poelzig. In this way, knowledge of theater history is conveyed in a poetic way. The history and stories of the “lost place,” its architecture and its art are made tangible in the here and now.

Project website

Opening Night at the Große Schauspielhaus

Time Travel with Virtual Reality – Berlin 1927 Visit Berlin 1927 and explore the VR-reconstruction of the famous theatre. Three storytellers, Walter, Fritzi and Otto, invite you to share their anticipation of the opening night – behind the scenes and on stage. Our digital theatre opens new perspectives; cultural heritage comes alive virtually.     …

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