The location of Schmidt's Tivoli (and its nearby sister theatre the Schmidt Theatre) in the St. Pauli district of Hamburg, and specifically on the Reeperbahn, says quite a lot about the theatre itself. Shows at the Tivoli are all about light-hearted entertainment, with a generous helping of offbeat humour. But this is exactly what audiences are after and why they have been flocking to both theatres for more than 30 years now.
The man behind the Schmidt theatres is the colourful Corny Littmann – a patron of the arts, entrepreneur and former president of the local football club FC St. Pauli. He opened the Schmidt Theatre in 1988 and Schmidts Tivoli in 1991. The latter had previously been a covered beer garden, amongst other incarnations, and had always been in the service of light entertainment in one form or another. The building's octagonal auditorium is reminiscent of a circus arena and it has a plush, intimate atmosphere – perfect for musicals, comedy and variety. Schmidts Tivoli specialises in German-language musical revues, which are produced entirely inhouse: from the first to the last note, from the initial idea to the final performance. 'Swinging St. Pauli' for example, or the period revue 'Fifty Fifty', not forgetting the long-running 'Heisse Ecke', which has been playing to audiences for nearly ten years now. In addition, there is always space on the programme for solo performers including Max Raabe, Helge Schneider, Michael Mittermeier, Ingo Appelt, Eckart von Hirschhausen, Missfits, Ralf Schmitz and Oliver Pocher. Schmidts Tivoli has its own bar (Glanz & Gloria), restaurant (Schatto Pauli), and nightclub (Angie's), which welcome theatre-goers and non-theatre-goers alike.