In addition to the vast collection of the cultural treasures exhibited in the city's more than 170 museums there are countless art galleries, impromptu cultural events at most unusual venues, film festivals and much more. Berlin has developed into the nation’s capital of commercial and underground art thus bringing the cutting edge to the deep cultural history of the city – a déjà-vu of Berlin's dada years.
Discover the most exciting aspect of this artistic sphere – Berlin’s lively avant-garde dance theatre scene. There are more than 70 fringe theatres and new companies are formed all the time, which might only work together for a season or two. It is also in this scene where you can come across a multitude of international influences.
- Art House Tacheles
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Location: Holzmarktstr. 33, 10243 Berlin
The RADIALSYSTEM V opened its doors to the public in September 2006. Discover this wonderfully inspiring space with a waterfront glass-façade that was designed as 'creative space for the arts' in Berlin.
The activities of the centre are far-reaching and combine aspects of music, dance, visual arts, new media and business. This arts centre is situated in a turn of the century pumping station that was part of the Berliner Wasserwerke (Berlin Water Services).
RADIALSYSTEM V is located in the urban centre of Berlin between Friedrichshain, Mitte and Kreuzberg. It plays an important role as a cultural centre where new ideas 'radiate' out in all directions. But it also attracts artists and visitors from Berlin, Germany and around the world.
[Image: Andreas Praefcke on Wikimedia]
Location: Sophienstraße 18, 10178 Mitte
Explore this space that is essentially a 'Berlin venue'. In the former craftsmen association centre built in 1905, which became a workshop during GDR times, you can experience weird and wonderful contemporary theatre, music and dance events. You can virtually read history on the decaying walls, while the present unfolds before you on stage.
Its morbid charm lends all productions here a special atmosphere. Located on Sophienstrasse in Berlin-Mitte, Sophiensäle is situated in an old H-shaped building that was once home to the Berliner Craftsmen Association.
In 1996, the Sophiensäle opened as a forum for fringe and dance theatre, with the greatly successful premiere of Sasha Waltz's dance show, 'Allee der Kosmonauten'. The diverse programme of this venue includes festivals, such as 'Tanztage Berlin', dedicated to contemporary dance; 'Ultraschall', a festival for 'new music'; 'MaerzMusik', an event committed to contemporary music, as well as 'Theatertreffen', where new German theatre can be experienced.
Sophiensäle also reflects Berlin's international character, since a large number of theatre plays are performed here at least partially in English.
[Image Paul Granjon performance: saschapohflepp on flickr]
Location: Oranienburger Str. 54-56a, 10117 Berlin
“Tacheles” is an old Jewish word that means to disclose, to reveal or to speak clearly. This is a very fitting motto for the art house that is not only a house of and for the arts, but that has become one of the most influential features of the artistic scene in Berlin.
Located in a derelict shopping mall that had been built in 1909, this place is as much a house for artists and art as it is a work of art in its own right. Uncover why the Tacheles exemplifies Berlin as a new 'artistically free' city that is looking to establish itself yet again locally, nationally and internationally.
During GDR times this building was a vast ruin which was saved in February 1990 from destruction by squatters moving in. Today art is produced and exhibited here, and cultural events of a vast variety take place at this venue. The Tacheles group runs the art house as a 'collective experiment' which fosters international cultural exchange.
[Image: IK's World Trip on flickr]
Location: Linienstraße 227, 10178 Berlin
If you are looking for avant-garde theatre at its best, visit a play at the Volksbühne. Inspired by the vision of the 'Free People's Theatre' association, founded in 1892, this venue was the realisation of the dream of a 'theatre for all'. The association strove to promote the social-realist plays of its day at prices accessible to workers. The original slogan inscribed on the edifice was "Die Kunst dem Volke" ("Art to the people").
After its rebuilding in the 1950s, the theatre regained its former glory and with Frank Castorf leading it as its artistic director since 1992, it has been hailed as "Germany’s most exciting stage". Castorf’s team managed to establish the reputation of the Volksbühne as one of the most provocative and experimental major theatres in contemporary Germany.
[Image: michfiel on flickr]
Arts: further cultural references
'Cluster' (photography), by Sasha Waltz (2000). This outstanding collection of photographs brings to life the 15 years of Sasha Waltz & Guests.
Seven Deadly Sins, Kurt Weill – Berlin Theatre Songs sung by Lotte Lenya. This is a re-mastered edition of the superb collection of theatrical songs, sung by the star that made Bertolt Brecht's songs world-famous.
Three key figures helped establish Berlin as a major player on the theatre scene in Germany. These are Pina Bausch, Sascha Waltz and Frank Castorf. Discover in what way they had an impact far beyond the city boundaries of Berlin.
Frank Castorf (*1951 in Berlin) is the long standing and internationally acclaimed artistic director of the Volksbühne.
Pina Bausch (1940-2009) inspired generations of dancers and dance theatre companies with her work. She is celebrated as the leading modern dance theatre choreographer, who first developed the dance theatre style of dance.
Sasha Waltz (*1963 in Karlsruhe) has been central to the establishment of progressive dance theatre in Berlin that builds bridges between many artistic spheres. She has her own company that is based at Radialsystem V. Since its foundation in 1993 the company Sasha Waltz & Guests has enable 150 artists from over 25 countries, who work in the fields of architecture, visual arts, choreography, film, music, drama and dance, to work on 30 productions, so-called 'dialogue-projects' and films.
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