National Theatre Mannheim Germany, Mannheim

National Theatre Mannheim

The present National Theatre Mannheim, which dates from 1957, is a theatre and opera company in Mannheim, Germany, with a variety of performance spaces. It is notable for being the oldest local theatre in Germany, having celebrated its 225th anniversary on 7 October 2004.

The idea of first building the original National Theatre developed after the suggestion of Elector Palatine Carl Theodor. The first theatre opened in 1779. In the past three hundred years, an important part of the history of German theatre and music history was written both in the original theatre and in Mannheim where new artistic styles were developed and refined in theatre, music and dance. Thus it reflects the tradition of many of the major names of the German arts such as Friedrich Schiller and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

In terms of the history of the company, Friedrich Schiller's first major drama, The Robbers (Die Räuber) was given its inaugural performance in 1782 in presence of the playwright at the National Theatre. The response was overwhelming: "the theatre resembled a lunatic asylum, rolling eyes, clenched fists, ramming feet, hoarse proclamations in the auditorium! Strange humans fell onto each other locked together…."