The theatre landscape in Mannheim is just as multicultural and diverse as the city itself. Alongside the well-known National Theatre, there are numerous other stages that are well worth experiencing. Cabaret is a major attraction in Mannheim — and for good reason. The versatility of the small theatres is not just characterised by their different locations and spaces, but above all by the richness of programmes they offer. From cabaret to comedy, dance and drama, Mannheim offers everything you could wish for at the highest level, on even the smallest stages.
Mannheim loves and lives culture — and it takes many forms here. In Mannheim, you will find a whole host of cabaret stages and backyard theatres, which are a great addition to the internationally renowned venues and complete the Mannheim theatre scene. The thematic orientation and the aspirations of the programmes, as well as the ambience of the theatres, are very different — ensuring that there is something for every taste and every occasion. With this in mind, we have taken the opportunity to introduce you to the most important Mannheim cabaret stages and event formats.
Over the years, the Alte Feuerwache has evolved into one of Mannheim’s top venues. It is not only a regular location for party events and concerts, but also for readings and poetry slams. So it’s no wonder that the Alte Feuerwache is also the organiser of the literature festival “lesen.hören” (read.listen). It is also home to the Stadt.Wand.Kunst (City.Wall.Art.) project, through which the Alte Feuerwache invites graffiti artists to Mannheim to decorate house façades with huge murals. The result is a living open-air urban art gallery.
Transformed from a former cinema into a cult event venue, the Capitol attracts more than 100,000 visitors every year with a varied stage programme. Music and theatre, shows and parties, comedy and cabaret, literature and politics enliven this listed building in the Neckarstadt district. After more than 80 years, 18 self-produced musicals and just as many children’s plays, the Capitol has become an integral part of the cultural life of Mannheim and the region.
Situated in the Gartenstadt district, on the idyllic edge of the forest, the Mannheim Freilichtbühne (open-air theatre) has been inspiring innumerable visitors with its amateur theatre every summer since 1950. From children’s classics to Shakespeare’s dramas — anything goes here. As a result, there is plenty on offer for the whole family. The adjoining beer garden rounds off a visit to the open-air theatre with delicious food and chilled drinks. In the winter, performances take place inside the cosy “Zimmertheater” (room theatre).
Founded in 1978 in the Neckarau district, Gehrings Kommode (Gehring’s chest of drawers) has become a true Mannheim institution. However, there is no room for pigeonholing here, because this particular chest of drawers has a compartment for almost every genre: from rock and jazz to classical music, travesty and cabaret to book readings and painting. “Germany’s largest living room” is the setting for the sophisticated and the unusual — and alongside the main action, the theatre’s own kitchen conjures up the “beschde Steak vun Mannem” (dialect: “best steak in Mannheim”).
The Klapsmühl’ (funny farm) am Rathaus can look back on almost 40 years of history and is one of the best-known cabaret and comedy theatres in Germany. The cabaret “Dusche” (shower) house ensemble founded this small theatre in 1982. Since then, they have put together a new programme every October, dedicated entirely to political cabaret. Enjoyed in its cosy 145-seat auditorium, the theatre’s programme also features concerts, comedies and stand-up.
Located near the famous Mannheim water tower, the Schatzkistl (little treasure chest) music cabaret really is a treasure chest of cabaret and THE meeting place for cabaret lovers. This is down to its elaborate in-house productions, children’s theatre plays and selected guest performances by renowned artists from near and far. Founded in 1998 and presenting around 160 events a year, this small theatre captivates audiences with its intimate atmosphere and unique closeness to the on-stage action. Cabaret in a friendly living room ambience — made in Mannheim.
The Oststadt Theater was founded in 1990 and was housed within the Kunsthalle Mannheim until 2014. Since then, it has been located in the Stadthaus in N1, right next to the Paradeplatz. It regularly infects audiences with its tangible passion and enthusiasm, and its repertoire of comedies and revues has them rolling with laughter. Alongside the in-house productions, which are often performed in dialect, the stage is enlivened by regular guest performances. As a result, the Oststadt Theater can be relied upon to provide great entertainment.
Situated on the old Seilwolff site in the Neckarau district, the Rhein Neckar Theater perfectly reflects the spirit of the Rhine-Neckar region. True to the motto “from the region, for the region”, this theatre with its industrial charm is home almost exclusively to artists from the region, who present their work in the local dialect. The old industrial buildings offer guests a modern ambience paired with humorous entertainment, such as contemporary comedies, stand-up, cabaret, children’s theatre, travesty and concerts.
The Felina-Areal theatre is located in the heart of the Neckarstadt district. It was founded in 2009 on the former Felina textile company site and is a venue for professional artists from a wide range of different fields. Theatre, music theatre and readings, as well as children’s and youth theatre, are all performed here. The repertoire also includes socio-critical comedies, world premieres of the company’s own texts and political theatre.
Strengthening the regional dance scene is a major focus. The Felina-Areal Theatre has been hosting the annual festival “Freier Tanz im Delta” (Free Dance in the Delta) since 2010, which gives choreographers and dancers from across the Rhine-Neckar region the opportunity to present their works.
Mannheim’s cellar theatre on the lively Alte Messplatz in the heart of the Neckarstadt district was founded in 2001. Besides the theatre space, it also includes a cosy wine bar in the welcoming ambience of the historic sandstone vaults. In the Theater Oliv, up to 50 guests are entertained with controversial, contemporary themes, comedy and tragedy, as well as cabaret and music.
On the occasion of the Theater Oliv’s 18th birthday this year, there will be an extensive programme devoted to the topics of reaching adulthood and what it means to be an adult. As a fitting accompaniment to this theme, they will be staging a Christmas fairy tale revue for adults at the end of 2019. We’re looking forward to it.
With around 140 events a year, the TiG7 offers its audience a wide range of productions, from theatre and cabaret to dance and performance art. Here, the art of words is always being celebrated. In an intimate studio atmosphere, the Theaterhaus G7 with its approximately 70 seats gives its plays and stories space and time, creating a place of encounter. Its English-language theatre festival “Here & Now! A Theatre Festival” is known far beyond the Rhine-Neckar region by visitors from all over the world.
...and then there’s the “Kleinkunstimperium” (cabaret empire). This independent event organiser arranges initiatives such as “Impro Against Humanity”, a live action version of the vicious card game, and the popular “Comedy Slam”, a poetry slam for comedians. The Kleinkunstimperium provides a stage not only for established artists but also for newcomers. It brings a breath of fresh air to Mannheim’s cabaret scene and introduces the younger generation to the world of stage culture.