"Let us cheerfully traverse room after room,
not holding onto any like a home,
the Spirit of the World seeks not to chain us, limit us,
but wishes to raise us, step by step, extend us. " - Hermann Hesse
The State Theatre has embodied the cultural essence of Wiesbaden since its opening over 120 years ago.
The Hessian State Theatre of Wiesbaden (Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden) is one of the leading stages in the German-speaking world, and one of the ten most visited theatres in Germany. With more than 300,000 theatregoers coming through its doors in a single season, the theatre is unique in a city which has fewer than 300,000 residents. More than 50 diverse productions are brought to the State Theatre’s stages each season, in addition to regular guest performances and special events such as staged readings and panel discussions. With the ability to simultaneously host productions on all of its various stages, up to five different performances sometimes take place on a single day.
Since taking up his post as Artistic Director in the 2014/2015 season, Uwe Eric Laufenberg makes the most of the entire scope of theatrical possibilities offered by this modern, multi-genre theatre, with a repertoire spanning contemporary and relevant drama, modern self-produced ballet, residencies and guest performances by renowned dance companies, as well as exciting children’s and youth theatre. In the Concert division, the Hessian State Orchestra presents a series of popular concerts in the Kurhaus, while the outstanding Opera programme continues to offer revivals of Wiesbaden mainstays, alongside brand new productions. In addition to the theatre’s world-class operatic ensemble, the innovative casting is supplemented with top-class international guests such as Edita Gruberova and José Cura, both of whom gave acclaimed performances at the 2015 International May Festival (Internationale Maifestspiele), undisputedly Wiesbaden’s annual cultural highlight.
Built in Neo-Baroque style by the famous Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer, construction of the theatre was initiated and financed by Emperor Wilhelm II and opened in his presence on 16 October 1894.
Wiesbaden city architect Felix Genzmer's magnificent Foyer extension was opened in 1902, while between 1975 - 1978 the auditorium of the Großes Haus (Main Theatre), with its half-sculptures, stucco work and glorious ceiling fresco, was faithfully restored.
Under Prussian Director Georg von Hülsen (1893-1903) the theatre had to make do with only one venue, the Großes Haus (Main Theatre). Nowadays, apart from the Main Theatre (seating 1041), the complex also boasts the Kleines Haus (Small Theatre, with 272 seats), a Studio (89 seats) and its external venue in Schwalbacher Street, the Wartburg (seating 154).