Top theatre and variety show entertainment
Essen’s cultural landscape is complemented by a wide range of theatre performances and variety shows. Ideal for bringing a day at the fair to a relaxing, entertaining close.
Excellent – this is probably the most fitting description for the Aalto Theatre. In surveys among critics, the opera house invariably ranks close to or at the top. Although it was only regarded as “the most attractive German theatre building since 1945” when it was opened in 1988, it is now also one of the best theatres in Germany.
This work of art was designed by the Finnish master architect Alvar Aalto. Its modern, curved architecture inspires the imagination. The auditorium, seating 1,125 spectators, is also characterized by unadorned elegance. Sky-blue and light brown wood tones set the stage for the opera singers, whose excellent reputation reaches beyond the national borders.
The Essen Philharmonic Orchestra and the Aalto Ballet Theatre Essen are equal to the vocalists in every respect. They also invariably rank at or near the top.
Philharmonie Essen concert hall
Philharmonie Essen concert hall
With “Philharmonie Essen”, a new concert hall has been created inside the traditional large auditorium building. Thanks to the top-quality programme with world-class orchestras and soloists, latest technology and perfect acoustics, Philharmonie Essen ranks among the best concert halls in Europe.
The completely renovated Alfried Krupp Hall (1,906 seats) forms the centrepiece of the building. The RWE Pavilion (350 seats), a glass cube with views across the city park, offers ideal conditions for jazz and classical music, international music, speeches, receptions or parties.
The three colourful Bürgersaal halls have been restored to their traditional splendour after remodelling: premium-quality satinwood, enamel inlays and precious ceramic objects provide an exquisite setting for pleasant concert nights.
GOP Variety Theatre
The GOP Variety Theatre Essen has enriched the impressive cultural landscape of the Ruhr district by an essential component since 1996. Here is a meeting point for the international elite of variety shows. Every two months, another new, modern, innovative show production is presented.
The individual artistic acts, connected with each other by a common theme, transport the audience again and again into new worlds. Whether quiet and poetic or with great verve and liveliness, every show offers a new experience. A dream-like ambience, fascinating shows, excellent cuisine – this is the mix which makes the GOP Variety Theatre such a special place. In a central location right in the city centre of Essen, the guests experience top-class entertainment in a pleasant, modern atmosphere. On Fridays and Saturdays, the night out can be extended by a visit to the party highlight at the Baliha Dance Club.
The repertoire of the theatre ranges from classic drama to works of contemporary playwrights, including experimental theatre. The programme focuses on modern productions of classics such as Shakespeare, Schiller or Ibsen as well as contemporary plays.
The Grillo Theatre stands for young, unpretentious acting. The neoclassical building bears the name of the entrepreneur Friedrich Grillo, who financed it in 1887. The Casa studio stage presents primarily plays which feature and address young people’s feelings and attitudes towards life.
The red carpet has already been replaced several times since Gary Cooper, Buster Keaton or Romy Schneider walked on it. Yet the grand old lady among cinemas has lost none of its charm since it was opened in 1928. And this is why stars such as Pierce Brosnan, Wim Wenders or Joachim Król still come to the Lichtburg today to attend premières, film galas and first releases.
With 1,250 seats, the legendary cinema is Germany’s largest film palace. When extensive renovations became necessary in the 1990s, a conversion of the building was considered. But as the Lichtburg had numerous prominent advocates from the movie scene as well as Essen cineastes, the protected cinema building remained what it had always been: a film diva.
Colosseum Theatre Essen
As a former mechanical workshop of Krupp, the Colosseum Theatre is a typical example of industrial culture and the change the region has undergone. The building, probably one of the most interesting theatre buildings in Germany, formerly marked the borderline between the city centre and Krupp City. From this point onwards, the coal, iron and steel industry reigned, and steel was the dominant element.
The unique atmosphere of this building is created by the coexistence of the past and the present. With its industrial relics, the hall is a protected building, now dressed in modern art and elegant design. The Colosseum serves as a venue for a great variety of performances, from musical to opera.