Volkstheater (Vienna People's Theatre)

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Volkstheater, known also as "Deutsches Volkstheater" (in translation to English as Vienna People’s Theatre or Viennese popular theatre), was built more than a hundred years ago, in 1888 – 1889 by the theatre architects Ferdinand Fellner & Hermann Helmer. It is located in the 7th district in Vienna, on the crossroad of three streets: Burggasse, Museumsgasse and Neustiftgasse. It was established by a group of Viennese townsmen ("Laube-Verein") as a contrast to the Hofburg theatre (Court Theatre) with the intention of making contemporary plays, popular plays (folk plays), classic plays and Austrian dramas accessible to a broader audience. The premiere play: "Der Fleck auf der Ehr´" written by Ludwig Anzengruber was performed on 14 September 1889. Between 1901 and 1911 there were some extensions on the building made (1907 – extension by a foyer restaurant and box office).

During the Second World War it was a part of Nazi program called "Kraft durch Freude" and its name was also changed to "Kraft-durch-Freude-Theater". In 1939 there was a rebuilding including removal of the façade statues. Before the end of the war (1944) dome and foyer were destroyed by bombs. The building was restored a year later (except of the dome and the front tympanon) and renamed "Volkstheater". Another big change was done at the beginning of the 80’s by Rudolf Jarosch. It was general both exterior and interior renovation according to original plans of Fellner & Helmer. The reconstruction of the original dome was included. Originally, there were 1900 seats, today; the number is smaller (1148).

During the early years of its existence many well-known dramatists staged their plays there (e.g. H. Ibsen, H. Bahr, K. Schönherr). It laid particular emphasis on Expressionist dramas. Today the Volkstheater presents dramas, comedies, and folk plays and follows its early tradition. Special attention is given to Austrian playwrights of old and new. In 2005 the Volkstheater started an alternative theater stage called "Volkstheater Hundsturm" in Margareten, the fifth district of Vienna. It is a place for experimental theater.
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