The Schaubühne was founded in 1962. Since 1999 it has been led by artistic director Thomas Ostermeier. The Schaubühne premieres a minimum of ten shows per season alongside a repertoire of over 30 existing productions.
Starting from the concept of an ensemble theatre – consisting of an ensemble of permanently employed actors who essentially have been working together since 1999, regularly extended by new appointments –, the actors, dramatic characters and situations of a play take centre stage at the Schaubühne. One of the theatre’s distinctive features is a stylistic variety in approaches to directing, which includes new forms of dance and musical theatre. The search for a contemporary and experimental theatre language which focuses upon storytelling and a precise understanding of texts – both classical and contemporary – is a unifying element. The repertoire encompasses the great dramatic works of world literature alongside contemporary plays from internationally renowned writers which, with over 100 world and German premieres over the past 19 years, have been a key component of the theatre’s work.
The search for new dramatic forms has benefited from a lively international exchange which has regularly brought the Schaubühne and its ensemble into close contact with other theatrical traditions. Alongside directors such as Thomas Ostermeier, Herbert Fritsch, Milo Rau, Patrick Wengenroth, Mina Salehpour, Lilja Rupprecht, Armin Petras as well as Falk Richter and Marius von Mayenburg – who also work as playwrights at the Schaubühne –, the theatre frequently offers a platform in Berlin to notable directors from abroad. Currently, productions by Dead Centre, Katie Mitchell, Sanja Mitrović, Rodrigo García and Simon McBurney are being shown at the theatre.
At the same time, the Schaubühne showcases its productions abroad in over 100 performances every year: whether at big international theatre festivals like the Festival d’Avignon, the Salzburg Festival, the Athens & Epidaurus Festival, the Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires (FIBA) and the Territorija Festival in Moscow; or as guest performances at theatres around the world including in New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Quebec, São Paulo, London, Oslo, Ramallah, Melbourne, Ottawa, Taipei, Tel Aviv, Seoul, Rennes, Barcelona, Adelaide, Tokyo, Prague, Sydney, Montreal or Beijing.
Every spring since 2000 the Festival International New Drama (FIND) has given internationally renowned theatre makers as well as new discoveries the opportunity to show their work at the Schaubühne. Thus, FIND not only brings new theatre from the most diverse linguistic and cultural regions to Berlin for the first time, but over the years the festival has also become a panorama of the most important productions of worldwide theatre creation – always committed to the basic idea of discovering new theatrical forms and texts – be it newly written or collectively developed plays. Since 2011 FIND has been complemented by the »FIND plus« workshop programme which is a forum for acting, directing and dramaturgy students from several European countries and the USA.