The Brighton Literature Seminar series presents, The Politics of an International Reputation. The Berliner Ensemble as a GDR Theatre on Tour. A lecture by Dr. David Barnett from University of Sussex
At its inception in 1949, the Berliner Ensemble (BE) was envisaged as a touring company as well as one that produced plays in the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
This paper will examine the many roles of touring for the BE. We normally think of theatres in terms of their domestic reception but the BE garnered plaudits internationally by touring countries that did not actually recognize the GDR as a sovereign state. Not only did international appearances attain a prestige for the company, unequalled in the GDR, they also allowed the BE to gain advantages at home due to this special status. Similarly, the GDR could flaunt itself and its cultural policies in the West against the backdrop of the Cold War. I will be considering the breakthrough tours of Paris in 1954 and London 1956, as well as other lesser known forays abroad to examine what they tell us about the BE’s international profile and its relationship to power structures at home.
All enquiries to Dr. Peter Blake.