Burgtheater ‘beaten by Basel and Munich’

The Burgtheater’s reputation has dipped alarmingly, according to critics.

Der Standard claims that venues such as the Theater Basel and Munich’s Kammerspiele have gained the edge over Vienna’s most famous stage.

The newspaper also criticised Karin Bergmann – who will leave the Burgtheater shortly after having been in charge for the last five years – for not having done enough about the number of female directors and writers. According to the Viennese newspaper, just 28 women have directed plays during her term. This is a sharp contrast to their 79 male counterparts. Der Standard deplores the fact that just 16 plays were written by female authors. Ninety-one were penned by men.

Bergmann has however also earned praise from the newspaper. In its review of her term, Der Standard underscores that the Burgtheater currently has a remarkable rate of 83 per cent as far as ticket purchases are concerned. Furthermore, Bergmann managed to keep the institution from sliding back into chaos. It was anything but plain sailing when she took over from Matthias Hartmann. The repercussions of his term – from slanderous accusations against executives to financial irregularities – were felt for a long time.

“Die lächerliche Finsternis” and “Die Welt im Rücken” have been named by Der Standard as the most outstanding plays at the city-centre stage in recent years, while “Willkommen bei den Hartmanns” has been branded as “racist”.

Meanwhile, Martin Kusej has hinted that the Burgtheater could become a loud opponent of political developments in Austria and Europe. Asked by national broadcaster ORF to define his relationship with Culture Minister Gernot Blümel of the conservative ÖVP, Kusej – who will take over from Bergmann as head of the Burgtheater – explained: “We are in touch. There has been communication. But I’m sure that the minister is aware that I see certain things in a different way.”

>> http://www.burgtheater.at

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