Curtain up, and let the show begin! Film and theatre in Germany

Once experienced, never forgotten: films of the world and stages of world renown. Come to Germany for fantastic festivals offering classical music and comedy, for magical nights of theatre in the major cities, for open-air cinemas and a tradition of volkstheater – theatre for the people – that dates back centuries.

Heidelberg Castle , which dominates the old quarter, is one of the most widely recognised landmarks in Germany. During the castle theatre festival, its historical walls create an impressive backdrop for concerts, plays and operas. All the productions are put together specially for these surroundings. In recent years, the biggest successes have been plays such as The Name of the Rose, Carmina Burana and Ronja, the Robber's Daughter, with the castle playing a part of its own.

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Here the spotlight is on the next generation. Radikal jung – the festival of young directors, held in Munich every April, offers young, still-to-be-established directors a platform on which to demonstrate their talent. Usually the rising young stars invited each direct a stage play at Munich Volkstheater. Their interaction with theatre professionals and the public is a focal point of the festival in parallel with the plays themselves.

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Sun, sea and sensational theatre: when the theatres are on their summer break, the Baltic resorts of Greifswald and Stralsund in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania take the opportunity to stage the Baltic Festival. In addition to the theatres, festival venues include the idyllic ruins of Eldena abbey near Greifswald and other unusual locations around this popular holiday region. Running from June to August, this festival has been an attraction for holidaymakers and locals since 2003.

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Potsdam International Theatre Festival – Unidram – is one of Europe's most important festivals for independent theatre. Every year around 15 hand-picked theatre ensembles from European countries gather in Potsdam for nine days. Through their performances, night cafés, concerts and parties, they are immersed in an intense artistic dialogue between themselves and the mostly young audiences. This interaction gives the festival a phenomenal buzz.

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In late summer, artists from all over the world gather at the Kulturwald Festival in the Bavarian Forest , a range of wooded mountains on the border between Bavaria and the Czech Republic and a popular holiday region. During the festival, abbeys, churches and the glassblowing works for which the area is known all serve as venues for classical and modern music. This festival is attractive for young families too, with children's programmes and childcare facilities offered during certain concerts.

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A reboot of the Verzaubert Queer Film Weekend, the new Love Films Festival shows new and old films on the themes of love, longing and relationships – from gay to hetero and bi. It is held twice a year in four cities, kicking off on the Saturday in Munich , Frankfurt , Cologne and Berlin with Gay Propaganda Night and a selection of the year's best gay short films. The festival's feature films are shown all day Sunday.

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