If you are staying in Cottbus, the Staatstheater is the place for a night of entertainment in the city. And a wonderful example of Art Nouveau architecture worth just looking at.
An Art Nouveau classic
Inspired by natural forms and structures, common from the Art Nouveau movement, the building was designed by Berlin architect Bernhard Sehring, who did an outstanding work of combining architecture with arts, crafts, and painting. The venue officially opened in 1908 after 16 months of construction. The day of the opening, the play that was staged was the Soldiers' Happiness by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. The construction of the building was a sign of the economic boom of that time. The textile industry had positioned Cottbus as a bourgeois society and there was a need for leisure activities. Therefore, a theater to enjoy culture came into the mind of its citizens. A competition was hosted and Sehring, known for his famous design in Berlin for the Theater des Westens won. The theater has gone through renovations during the years, due to the damaged caused in the war and the pass of time. However, the theater is still today, one of the best examples of Art Nouveau in Germany.
The Staatstheater is the only state theatre in the region of Brandenburg, offering a diverse program of performances combining genres such as drama, opera, orchestra, and ballet. It is also recognized worldwide for featuring their in-house productions. They have hosted versions of My Fair Lady, the Alice in Wonderland ballet, as well as the Casanova ballet. They offer local plays and clarinet concerts, for instance, so make sure to check the calendar on the website to see what's on during your visit.
Good to know
The theater offers every Sunday at 10am a tour of the building and its history. You can show up spontaneously at the main entrance 10 minutes before, as there is no need to reserve unless you are traveling with a big group. It is highly recommended to learn about the history of the 1908-building by taking the tour, as you will learn more about the history throughout the years. Plus, once the tour is over you can join the next tour that takes you through the Old Town of Cottbus.
During the Second World War, the theater officiated as an ammunition storage during the war. As well, the citizens of Cottbus made sure that the theater wouldn't fall apart completely. For the 100th anniversary of the theater in 2008, a documentary called ''Such a theater! 100 years of Theater Cottbus'' was made to commemorate the achievement.