Das Schiff in Hamburg is one of the oldest theatre institutions in the city. Its charm derives partly of its historical significance as the only European theatre ship still being able to sail out to sea, while also being the oldest German theatre ship with its own ensemble. It is located right in the historical city centre which reflects the important historical status Das Schiff has in the city of Hamburg. With over 40 years of theatre productions, Das Schiff has become an institution in its own right. Additionally to original productions created with a steady ensemble, the theatre is a popular place for guest performers and has hosted some of the greats of film and TV acting. Under the leadership of Heiko Schlesselmann combined with the creative expertise of Michael Frowin, the theatre is a very popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
Its varied program ranges from cabaret to comedic plays, from chansons to literary readings and it even presents its first children’s musical – written and performed for kids ages 6 and over. The extraordinary charm of this theatre derives partly from the ship’s interior with matching decorations. In a maritime style, the space will entangle the audience in the nautical atmosphere of the ship. The close proximity between viewers and the actors on stage adds to a homely feeling overall. The unique theatre is known for being hopelessly authentic, endlessly creative and just a bit mischievous. Therefore, a lot of Hamburg celebrities are regulars in the nautical halls of Das Schiff.
A few highlights of the programme are described in further detail here: After the first half of the year, Das Schiff can look back on two successful premieres to date. With “Novecento” and “Französisch – Immer wieder ein Hochgenuss”, two very different plays show the variety and potential the ensemble has to offer. The third exciting premiere this year “Die Große Freiheit” is coming up on the 28th of May. It can best be described as a Sehnsuchts-Abend. Sehnsucht is a German word describing a longing for something you didn’t even know you missed. An evening full of Sehnsucht awaits Hamburg audiences with this extraordinary play.
Another great choice for a theatre evening in Hamburg is the cabaret “Französisch – Immer wieder ein Hochgenuss”, which combines chanson and theatre. Michael Frowin and Dietmar Loeffler turn to our French neighbours and study their lives, as well as the peculiarities of their culture in a cheeky, light-hearted way. In Michael Frowin’s successful solo program “Einpacken, Frau Merkel!” a political cabaret that he is currently touring Germany with, he portrays the character of Angela Merkel’s chauffeur. In this role, Frowin is able to listen to incoming calls, read outgoing messages and get to know the chancellor from a different view. While the chauffeur waits for Frau Merkel to finish her shopping, he contemplates the big questions: consumerism, and how much we actually need to buy to achieve happiness. The first full length comedy which has been written specifically for Das Schiff is called “Kann man mit Männern Urlaub machen?” The question posed in the title, if it’s possible to go on vacation with men, is also the basis for the discussion that Mr. Pötschel and Mrs. Pötschel-Knies have while arguing about their marital issues.
They have booked a paddling trip and managed to drift away from the group, literally and figuratively. A number of problems surface during the prolonged dispute but at the same time, the horizon spreads in front of them as freedom is drawing nearer. The mellow play “Novecento” shows the other end of the spectrum. It is the tale of a lonesome ocean pianist who travels the world without ever seeing the wondrous places he passes. A whirlwind of emotion catches the audience and draws them into this very personal story. A story which affects everyone as it develops into philosophical discussions about the power of music, the importance of freedom and the Sehnsucht that inherently lies in all of us. As a special option for children, “Ratte Rudi geht von Bord” is an endearing piece dealing with topics like dreams, doubts, and the positive impact that friendship can have in dealing with these insecurities – all in a kid-friendly matter. Rudi the ship-rat is not having a particularly good day when the goblin Konstantin crashes into Rudi’s unhappiness. They talk about their dreams and their Sehnsucht. Rudi desperately wants to eat an entire buffet of leftover garbage from a five-star hotel while Konstantin wishes to ride on a whale’s fountain. The only problem is, Konstantin has never been to sea and Rudi has never stepped foot on land.
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