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Zurich gets state-of-the-art theatre

Theatre director Christoph Marthaler in the new Schiffbau


Zurich’s leading theatre, the Schauspielhaus, is preparing for a massive expansion, with the opening of a new cultural centre in the heart of the city’s industrial district. The massive building, called the Schiffbau, will house another two stages.

The new premises have been carved out of an old industrial building, a few minutes walk from a major tram depot, the city’s main railway lines and the Technopark industrial estate.

The premises are scheduled to be opened by the end of August with the first production in September. The cost of the centre is SFr 84 million, with much of that money coming from canton Zurich as well as the city government.

The expansion by the Schauspielhaus to this previously unfashionable part of the city has initiated a revival in the district. A host of trendy bars, cafés and restaurants have opened nearby, also encouraged to move there by the opening of a new gallery in the district by Zurich’s Kunsthaus.

Leading the Schauspielhaus through this period of expansion is its new director Christoph Marthaler. His play Hotel Angst will open the season at the Schiffbauhalle on September 21st. Premiering at the smaller studio theatre, Box im Schiffbau, will be Jon Fosse’s "Die Nacht Singt Ihre Lieder".

The Schiffbau offers the theatre two new larger stages to work with, rather than the smaller Italian-style stage at the older city-based venue. The new building includes a restaurant and a jazz club.

by Tom O'Brien

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