Störtebeker Festival ©Störterbeker Festspiele GmbH & Co. KG
Jul 03, 2017

Open-air theatre in Germany: a breath of fresh air

Mild summer evenings and clear skies provide the perfect excuse to gather together for some fantastic entertainment. Germany is home to 170 or so actively used outdoor stages, leaving theatre-lovers spoilt for choice.

Open-air theatre – audiences of all ages can enjoy the grand productions under clear blue skies or on starry nights and even – and perhaps most memorably – under a raincoat during a brief shower! In terms of location, anything goes, with a wide range of imaginative venues situated the length and breadth of Germany. You'll find productions staged in charming castle ruins, in lush parks and gardens, in abandoned quarries, in woodlands, in rocky gorges, in fields, by rivers and lakes and even atop dramatic outcrops such as the Loreley stage in the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley. The stage always takes its place in the heart of nature, wherever that might be.

From rock concerts to Ring cycles

The programme is no less varied than the venues. Expect everything from classic plays to kids' shows, and from comedy theatre to serious drama. The stages are also used for concerts – whether pop, rock, heavy metal or classical. The venues can accommodate anywhere between a few dozen and 10,000 people. The largest open-air stage in Germany, the Berlin Waldbühne, has a capacity of more than 22,000 and is primarily used by musicians. The Kalkbergstadion open-air stage in Bad Segeberg, meanwhile, is dedicated to drama. Since 1952, it has been bringing to life tales from the Old West at the Karl May theatre festival. At the Ralswiek open-air stage on the shore of the Great Jasmund Lagoon, the infamous pirate Störtebeker has been wreaking havoc ever since 1993. Every year from late June to early September, audiences of up to 8,800 watch his swashbuckling adventures unfold. Take a look here to find out more about what's on where.