PERSPECTIV - Conference in Bad Lauchstädt, October 6th. - 07.10.23

220 years of PERSPECTIV, the Society of Historical Theaters in Europe, met on its Germany route from October 6th, 2023 to October 7th, 2023 in Bad Lauchstädt.

As a support association for the northernmost historical theater Putbus, we are not alone in the world. Two of our board members were able to experience this again in Bad Lauchstädt in October. There they met with people who also love and care for historical theater and have the same concern: to make the cultural heritage of “theater” visible and accessible to the population.

This requires a network of like-minded people. It all started 20 years ago, when representatives of historical and amateur theaters came together in the Goethe Theater in Bad Lauchstädt to form a company called PERPECTIV, the Deutschlandroute. A theater is considered a “historic theater” if it is at least 100 years old and, apart from necessary restorations, has a historical appearance.

To this day, the network offers valuable suggestions: Experiences about obtaining financial resources and dealing with decision-makers can be exchanged. Together it is also easier to develop ideas about how we want to approach the goal together and individually. One building block is the exchange and co-production of historical plays on the stages of other theaters. We fondly remember the performance of the Großkochberg amateur theater for our 30th anniversary on December 7th, 2022.

The fact that the PERSPECTIV network has been operating for 20 years was a nice reason to meet again in the Goethe Theater in Bad Lauchstadt.

For everyone who hasn't been there yet: The Goethe Theater is a summer theater and cannot be compared with our Putbuss Theater. The stage technology, which dates back to the Wilhelminian era and requires a lot of effort to perform a piece, is worth seeing. When you enter the theater, you are hit by the smell of sisal, dust, wood, mouse droppings, perfume and sweat. If you climb up to the stands, you can see pictures of actors, singers and instrumentalists who gave guest performances here on the walls. For example, Peter Schreier as Tamino in The Magic Flute. Goethe, Schiller and Vulpius worked here; their traces are still visible today.

How these traces can be preserved was also a topic of the event: Among other things, it was about how the houses, including the historical stage technology, lighting, pyrotechnics and equipment, can be preserved - and in accordance with today's laws . It's not that easy: force fire and occupational safety, for example. The theaters are forced into a balancing act between financial viability, business demands on the one hand and the protection of the buildings on the other. Most of the time the solution is achieved through compromises, also with the help of the PERSPECTIV company, but occasionally it fails due to the ignorance of political decision-makers.

IThe lecture by Silke Gablenz-Kolakovic, chairwoman of the amateur theater in Großkochberg, who spoke about Goethe's working methods as director and treasurer (Weimar and Bad Lauchstädt) was inspiring. His interaction with artists and stage staff was unique, and some anecdotes amused the participants.

The Ekhof Theater Gotha is thinking into the future, experimenting with state-of-the-art technology in the form of high-tech glasses in order to show the old theater and its stage technology to the audience from a completely different perspective.

Klaus-Dieter Reus from Bayreuth presented his project. In the Theater Museum, he and like-minded enthusiasts recreated a functional and playable stage, including very old stage technology, for people to do themselves. A highlight for every engineer, technician and theater lover who is enthusiastic about solving tricky problems. This work has not only caused a lot of interest in theater circles. We were also enthusiastic and are inviting Klaus-Dieter Reus in 2024 so that he can present this project to interested parties from our part of the world. The crowning conclusion of the event was the performance of “The Magic Flute”, a German musical play in three acts in the Weimar version from 1794 in the Goethe Theater in Bad Lauchstädt. A stage set that constantly changed to make the locations of the action visible, highly motivated actors with colorful costumes appropriate to the respective characters, a melodious orchestra that audibly enjoyed the music - all of this made the performance not only for lovers of Mozart's music a pleasure.

Conclusion: We were once again able to benefit from our membership with PERSPECTIV and received many valuable suggestions. A specific project also emerged from the meeting.

Our advice to you: Maybe make a stopover in Bad Lauchstädt in the summer to enjoy this theater, its performances, the castle park and the court kitchen.

Helga Lawrenz

Go back