Vpostponed, postponed – canceled: it shouldn’t be like this again this summer. On the contrary. It almost feels a little creepy in the face of all the euphoria. Anyone who missed the theater should be amply compensated. Suddenly, theater is drawn to the fresh air that has never been experienced there before. The slogan is “Out into the open!”
In the Rhine-Main region and beyond, so much outdoor theater is likely to be staged this summer as never before. Not to mention hundreds of concerts, classical music such as jazz and pop, and open-air cinema evenings of all sizes. Hardly a day goes by without an open-air program being announced, a new venue for the open-air theater discovered or a new alliance of artists and organizers being forged who want to play in parks, courtyards and forecourts. You have to keep your eyes open to catch all of this; there are now all sorts of information campaigns on the Internet, with flyers, posters and in social media that indicate which theaters are performing where outdoors. This is also supported with funds. Where the arts literally found themselves in the rain in the long Corona months, you can now see the fruits of the federal, state and local programs and a lot of initiative.
The festival “Strong Pieces” prepares children’s and youth theater on meadows, squares and schoolyards in the region, the Dramatic Stage has expanded its open-air program in Frankfurt’s Grüneburgpark to include contributions from other groups, the Theaterhaus Ensemble, for example, has chosen its children’s play “Bear in the Universe “I bought a mobile stage and went to party.
If everything goes well and the corona infections do not rise again quickly, there will even be theater, opera and concerts in the big houses until July. A model experiment with tests and audience surveys is now running at the Mainz State Theater, which enables a much higher occupancy rate than the 100 people normally allowed. Most stages want to show at least a few of the premieres that have been developed for the season from June 11th.
Most of the time, however, takes place outside. With the traditional open-air providers anyway, most of whom had to cancel in 2020. The Bad Vilbel Castle Festival had its first premiere, the family play “The Neverending Story”, in May without an audience, a few days later it was allowed to go into operation as the first stage. The Grimm Festival in Hanau is postponing its start and will play from July 1st to the end of August. The Bad Hersfeld Festival also begins on July 1st.
In Hesse, a special funding program makes the new open-air theaters possible: “Into the open!” They say, a total of ten million euros is available for setting up or expanding open-air programs for culture. The Frankfurt Künstlerhaus Mousonturm also benefits from federal funds and even wants to build its own temporary house for it: The “summer building” is to be built directly on the Kaiserlei roundabout, an open-air building designed by the Raumlaborberlin architects’ collective with boxes and a stage 25 meters in diameter. The Frankfurt theater also wants to perform there. The exact program will be announced soon. The Staatstheater Darmstadt is one of the big theaters that are moving outside with additional funds from “Ins Freie!”. It is a pioneer and is already using its spacious architecture for premieres on its terraces.
The downside: Many smaller open-air theaters cannot cope with the risk of uncertain planning, high hygiene requirements and greatly reduced number of seats this year either. There will be no “Barock am Main” festival in Höchst, other long-term open-air venues will remain orphaned. If the financial ceiling is not the thickest even in good years and many plans failed in the summer of 2020, there is no longer any room for maneuver for some. Others have also frustrated the obstacles over the past year. Others benefit from experiments in the summer of 2020: In Mainz, for example, the State Theater will play the inner courtyard of the State Museum for the next few weeks with the open-air success “A Summer Night” from 2020, and the Mainz Chamber Games will once again take to the tennis court with the comedy “Extrawurst” . And everyone hopes that tests, masks and the experience gained over the past few months will do more than in the previous Corona summer. Maybe even a full-blown midsummer night’s dream.