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How To Run An Open House

August 29, 2007

A theatre director friend of mine is currently spending three months in Berlin on a scholarship. While he's in Germany, he's directing and performing in theatre projects. When he's not rehearsing, he's running around the city experiencing the local arts scene.

My friend's description of a season-opening party he attended last weekend at the Deutsches Theatre is illuminating:

"A sprawling beer garden was set up in the courtyard in front of the theater, with a portable stage featuring various music groups throughout the day and evening. Every corner and catacomb of the theater was open to the public, who could peruse the costumes, the house library and photo/design archive, stand on the stages of the 800-seat mainstage, the 250-seat second stage, and the 100-seat third stage, or take voice and acting workshops in the rehearsal studios. Scenes from the repertoire were performed, as well as readings from theater or theater-related texts. Lead artists, including the artistic director, were serving the soup at the soup counter. The house make-up artists were anointing children with gory wounds. Remaining tickets for performances during the first three weeks of the season were being sold for 6 euros (about $8) each. It was like a community street fair in and around the theater, and it was packed to the gills. …Gives one hope that such a thing is still possible on earth."

Like my friend, I am refreshed to hear that not all theatre parties are based on the model of a bunch of board directors in suits chatting politely around rubbery-looking cheese plates with glasses of wine in their hands.

Germany isn't traditionally considered to be the most fun-loving nation in the world, but my own personal experiences of attending both theatre- and non-theatre oriented gatherings in cities like Cologne, Hamburg, Berlin and Heidelberg corroborates my friend's description. What's particularly interesting about the party at The Deutsches Theatre is the ability of the organizers to combine a party atmosphere with educational / promotional activities around the theatre to suit all tastes, interests and walks of life. It sounds like a true community event.

Our leading local theatre organizations should take note. The above model shouldn't be too hard to replicate or even expand upon.


  • This is progressive theatre at its best, and the US, should take heed of such practices. If theatre is about community, then Germany has it right!!!

    This post if definitely, DEFINITELY a Cool as Hell Example of how to revive the coolness of the artform.

    The Cool As Hell Theatre Podcast

    By Blogger Unknown, At August 29, 2007 at 2:47 PM  

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