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.

At this festival, established film makers can only sit and watch. The Mannheim/Heidelberg International Film Festival is devoted exclusively to talented newcomers to the industry, and that's what makes it special. All 40 to 50 films screened are genuine premieres selected by the organisers from over 1,000 entries from around the world. Every year around 60,000 festival visitors gain insights into current developments in 21st century film.

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For grown-ups, it's a haven of bliss – for children, the city's biggest sandpit. The Kulturstrand in Bavaria's capital city is a welcome relief for all, especially city-dwellers who, according to the organisers, are always needing a holiday.

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You might not necessarily associate Recklinghausen – a former mining town in the Ruhr region – with the theatre. But you'd be surprised. Recklinghausen really comes into its own as an international city of culture during the festival season from 1 May to mid-June. The Ruhr Theatre Festival is one of the biggest and most highly acclaimed events of its kind in Europe.

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Friedrich Schiller was not only one of the most important German-speaking dramatists – he was also Mannheim's first playwright. In acknowledgement of this, Mannheim National Theatre holds the International Schiller Festival every two years, at which a variety of productions from classical to contemporary shed light on the modern relevance of Schiller's writings and ideas. In the true spirit of this great poet, time is also set aside for discussions and debate.

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Pretty much everything is on offer during Berlin's Long Night of Opera and Theatre: operas, plays, concerts, singing, revues, musicals, variety, improv, cabaret, comedy, children's shows, youth theatre and puppet shows. More than 150 scenes and plays will be performed every hour between 7pm and 1am on nearly 60 stages.

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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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