Theaterhaus Gessnerallee

History

1858
Completion of the complex of buildings as military indoor riding arena and stables in the wings.

1970
On the initiative of the Zurich chief of department for culture, Christoph Vitali, first utilisation as an improvised venue for a theatre guest performance: „Orlando Furioso", staged by Luca Ronconi / Teatro di Roma. In a loose sequence the Zurich Presidential Department invited big international guest performances and presented them in the riding arena (including "Grand Magique Circus" by Jérôme Savary, „Peer Gynt" and „Summer Guests" staged by Peter Stein / Schaubühne am Halleschen Ufer, „Timon of Athens" by Peter Brook).

1989
The joint efforts of committed circles around the Theaterspektakel, the Theatre Association, theatre organisations and the Presidential Department lead to the foundation of the responsible body, the „Theaterrat“ (theatre council), which appoints a 4-member executive board. Under the joint direction of Hildegard Kraus, Christoph Meury, Ruedi Schärer and Jürg Woodtli the Theaterhaus Gessnerallee starts its provisory tentative activity. The concept intends to divide the programme into three equal parts presenting Zurich, Swiss and international companies. International stars like Jérôme Dechamp, the Wooster Group, Robert Lepage, Rosas or the Théâtre de Complicité are still presented with the aid of the so called guest performance credit of the Presidential Department.

1993
On November 28th the Zurich electorate approves of a referendum for the
renovation credit and for a lasting operation credit for the Theaterhaus Gessnerallee and thereby ensures the architectonic adaptation and the institutionalisation of the theatre by law.

1997
The theatre council elects a new board, Jean Grädel and Armin Kerber share the management of the theatre as co-directors. Emphasis is laid on coproductions with Zurich based companies (such as Mass & Fieber, 400 asa, OFF-OFF-Bühne, Barbara Weber) whilst big international guest performances decrease (in 1996, in the context of general austerity measures, the City cancels the credit for international guest performances).

2004
New and exclusive director Niels Ewerbeck takes over from his predecessors. Dance is upgraded as equal genre and receives not only its own artistic programmer but also as much space as theatre in the annual programme and the rehearsal scheduling. Technical restorations and acquisitions (rostrum system, rigging, sound, light) enable the provisory subdivision of the great hall into two medium-sized stages and thereby clearly increase the number of shows to be staged. Thereby not only coproductions with Zurich based companies and artists can be intensified, but also, the Gessnerallee can pursue the initial concept of keeping the balance between local, national and international companies. The lobby is now called „Stall6“ and operates an every day bar and is an integral part of the theatre. Regular club, concert and party events now complete the theatre and dance programme.