Berlin theatre chief: Culture will be first to go if 2nd wave comes

As Berlin theatres slowly emerge from their coronavirus-induced hibernation, a top director in the German capital says the cultural scene’s future is still far from secure.

“On the one hand, we are of course happy that things are moving again,” Martin Woelffer told dpa, looking ahead to the Wednesday reopening of the Komoedie am Kurfuerstendamm theatre, where he is the artistic director.

However, he said the gradual return will not pay off financially, with only around 300 tickets in the 1,000-seat auditorium up for sale due to strict distancing measures.

Woelffer noted that cultural establishments in Berlin are the lucky ones: “What I”m hearing out of other cities is really fatal.”

Woelffer warned that a renewed spike in coronavirus infections could be catastrophic for the industry.

“If another wave comes, culture will be the first to be closed,” he said.

Berlin’s theatres have been shut since March, when Germany introduced sweeping restrictions to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Following the Komoedie am Kurfuerstendamm, whose programme features light comedy and concerts, the Schlosspark Theater is to reopen its doors from Friday with a Monty Python-inspired show under strict hygiene rules.

The Deutsches Theater is to reopen from late-August following a series of open-air performances, followed by the Berliner Ensemble in early September.

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