DEUTSCHES NATIONALTHEATER

ABOUT THE LOCATION

The first parliamentary democratic constitution of Germany was adopted in 1919 in Weimar’s German National Theatre (DNT), and it was here that the Weimar National Assembly convened from 6 February to 11 August.

 

With post-war Berlin out of contention, many cities were considered as host for the National Assembly. The eventual choice of Weimar was no accident, but a carefully weighed decision. In addition to more pragmatic considerations – the location had to be in the centre of Germany, easy to reach from Berlin and militarily well secured – the classical, humanist ‘spirit of Weimar’ with its accompanying symbolism of hope also played an important role.

 

Many readings of history depict the Weimar Republic as the precursor to the greatest catastrophe in human history – the Second World War and Hitler’s dictatorship. This cursory interpretation fails to do justice to the Weimar Republic, in neither its intentions nor its positive repercussions. The Weimar Constitution remained in place for 14 years, in conditions that can only be described as abysmal: world economic crisis, inflation, reparations payments, social mass misery and severe hostility from reactionary forces that were now deprived of power, predominantly in the executive and judiciary.

 

The text of the Weimar Constitution – a remarkably compact and eloquent document – was a commitment to constitutional values that remain valid and topical to this day. It included a clear recognition of fundamental rights, gender equality, the free exercise of religion and an explicit obligation on the side of the economic order to ensure human dignity. Under the provisions of the Weimar Constitution, a genuine spirit of optimism blossomed across society and culture.

 

To mark the election of the Weimar National Assembly, Schiller’s ‘Wilhelm Tell’, which thematises the interplay between individual and collective freedom, was performed in the DNT. During this ceremony, the Weimar’s state theatre was renamed the ‘German National Theatre Weimar’ by its director, Ernst Hardt. The modernist advocate Hardt, together with Henry Van de Velde and Harry Graf Kessler, hoped to establish a new age of high culture, which would begin life in Weimar. Hardt called Walter Gropius to the city, who then succeeded Van de Veldes as the Director of the Weimar Academy of Fine Arts. With the support of Ernst Hardt, this institution was merged with the Weimar Saxon Grand Ducal Art School to become Bauhaus Weimar.

 

However, with the impending fall of the Weimar Republic, the DNT went through an extremely difficult period, including the first National Socialist meeting in Germany in 1926, the removal of the constitution plaque in 1933, the Volkish events for the Buchenwald SS in the 1940s, the conversion to armaments production in 1944, then bomb damage in 1945. A new chapter finally began in 1949 with Thomas Mann’s famous speech in the theatre – the first in Germany to be rebuilt and restored – in which he called for German unity on cultural grounds. Today, the DNT stands for cutting-edge musical and dramaturgical art and culture production that is of local, national and international relevance.

 

In addition to the work of the award winners, this year’s Genius Loci Weimar Festival will also feature the performance of a video production created as part of centenary celebrations of the Weimar Constitution. An excerpt of this production can be seen here Woche der Demokratie // DNT Weimar // Drohnenflug // 01.19 on Vimeo. Alongside purely narrative works, the inclusion of interactive elements to highlight the participatory concept of democracy is also conceivable. Such installations must take visitor numbers into account as well as the overall dramaturgical quality for the audience.

 

This year, we would like to invite the winners of this part of the competition to remain in Weimar to take part in a two-day workshop on dramaturgical story development together with the dramaturgy department of the German National Theatre. The objective is the elaboration of viable narration, musical dramaturgy, and material and character development on the basis of the 30-second submission, which will then be realised in a final production. The workshop will take place in Weimar in time for the award ceremony in late April / early May, in consultation with the award winner.

PHOTOS

Use of the photos only with photo credits: © Henry Sowinski, Genius Loci Weimar 2019

 
 

Competition Regulations

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Don't forget to download the animation pack! You will find our guide lines, 3D-Models and photos of the location inside.

>>download Animation Pack "Deutsches Nationaltheater"