Theater Work: The Berliner Ensemble at 25

(Theaterarbeit )

GDR, 1975, 63 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Music (Score)
Production Company


From May to October 1974, Peter Voigt filmed at the Berliner Ensemble (BE) during the 25th anniversary of the theater’s founding. Voigt, a member of the BE himself in the 1950s, interviewed theater technicians who had been part of the world-famous ensemble for decades. Sharing experiences, memories and impressions from their particular point of view, they paint an intriguing picture of the theater’s history.


This documentary, originally shot on 16mm film, includes rarely-shown photographs, set design sketches and historic sound recordings, as well as clips from BE rehearsals and productions of Cement, Coriolanus, In the Jungle of Cities, The Mother, Señora Carrar's Rifles and The Threepenny Opera.


When Bertolt Brecht and his wife Helene Weigel received an offer to start their own theater in East Berlin, they overcame their uncertainty about becoming permanent residents of the Soviet Occupation Zone. Top-ranking political officials, including in the Soviet Military Administration, announced the founding of a new theater ensemble in East Berlin on April 1, 1949. Only few months later, on November 12, 1949, the new Berliner Ensemble premiered Mr. Puntila and His Man Matti (dirs. Erich Engel and Bertolt Brecht) at the Deutsches Theater.


Buy the DVDStream
DVD Bonus Features:
  • New digitally restored transfers of all films
  • Director Biographies & Filmographies
  • Introductory Essay by Seán Allan, Univ. of St. Andrews
  • Brecht Dialog 1968 (GDR, 1968, dir. Karlheinz Mund, 11 min., b&w, doc.)
  • The Plum Trees Have Surely Been Cut Down (GDR, 1978, dir. Kurt Tetzlaff, 11 min., b&w, doc.)
  • And Yet It Moves (GDR, 1978, dir. Kurt Tetzlaff, 32 min., b&w, doc.)

Shibboleth login