Berlin, Germany


The Grips-Theatre in Berlin (official name: GRIPS Theater) is a well-known and well-respected emancipatory children's and youth theatre, located at Altonaer Straße at Hansaplatz in the Hansaviertel in Berlin's Mitte district. It is “the first theatre worldwide to deal sociocritically with the lives and living conditions of children and young people and to incorporate this in original humorous and musical plays”. It has gained a national and international reputation, not least due to its former artistic director Volker Ludwig's musicals for adults, such as its evergreen Linie 1, Café Mitte or the adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. GRIPS’ plays have been re-staged over 1,500 times in some 40 languages around the world.

In 1966, a children's theatre was formed at the Berlin Reichskabarett, “a student group that created programs and satirical sketches interspersed with topical songs”. Volker Ludwig, who would go on to serve as the GRIPS-Theatre's artistic director for nearly four decades, was one of the authors and co-founders of the group, which defined itself as part of the Außerparlamentarische Opposition (German for extra-parliamentary opposition), a political protest movement in West Germany during the latter half of the 1960s and early 1970s, which formed a central part of the German student movement. In the summer of 1966, the group began performing plays for children on weekends, starting with the satirically reworked fairy tale The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs.

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