Amateur theatre in Central Switzerland

Amateur theatre is prevalent and firmly established in society throughout Central Switzerland. Half of the cantons have more theatre companies than municipalities (Nidwalden, Obwalden and Zug), and in the others they are also extremely widespread. The theatre scene is distinguished not just by quantity, however, but also by its quality. Many villages and towns are home to outstanding ensembles whose productions attract attention far beyond the boundaries of their own municipality. When rehearsing, designing stages and organising peripheral events, participants often invest almost as much time as a professional theatre company would. Some events have developed into theatrical institutions of national renown, such as the Japanesenspiel in Schwyz (established 1857), the Tellspiele in Altdorf (1899) and the Einsiedler Welttheater festival (1924). Central Swiss theatrical tradition is heavily influenced by Catholic performance culture. Religious festival productions were already performed on a grand scale in the early modern period. From the 19th century, amateur theatre was institutionalised through the establishment of theatre companies. Today, the scene is characterised by a lively mix of varying theatrical genres, including the Volksschwank (a popular form of versed-based, often comic theatre dating back to the Middle Ages), open-air theatre, Carnival plays, operetta and more challenging amateur theatrical productions.


Category


Canton


Detailed description

Publications

Renato Cavoli: Gelebte Tradition im Dorf. Theater – eingebettet in Musik, Gesang und Geselligkeit. In: Heimatkunde des Wiggertals 59. Willisau, 2001, p. 190-201

Anne-Christine Gnekow: Das Einsiedler Welttheater. In: Theater der Nähe. Welttheater – Freie Bühne – Cornichon – Showmaster Gottes. Ed. Andreas Kotte. Zürich, 2002, p. 13-190

Georg Dufner: Studententheater an der Klosterschule Engelberg (Engelberger Dokumente 9). Engelberg, 1981

Stefan Fryberg: Bretter, die die Schweiz bedeuten. Von den Anfängen der Tellspiele Altdorf. Altdorf, 1991

Heidy Greco-Kaufmann: Zuo der Eere Gottes, vfferbuwung dess mentschen vnd der statt Lucern lob. Theater und szenische Vorgänge in der Stadt Luzern im Spätmittelalter und in der Frühen Neuzeit. Zürich, 2009

Ernst Halter (Ed.): Volkstheater in der Schweiz und im Fürstentum Liechtenstein. Zürich, 2000

Karl Imfeld: Volksbräuche und Volkskultur in Obwalden. Kriens, 2006

Detta Kälin: Dem Meister ein Spiel. Calderón, die Einsiedler und ihr Welttheater. Einsiedeln, 2013

Kulturkommission des Kantons Schwyz (Ed.): Das Einsiedler Welttheater. Beiträge zur Geschichte des Einsiedler Freilichtspiels. Dokumentation zur Überreichung des Innerschweizer Kulturpreises 1974 (Schwyzer Hefte 8/9). Schwyz, 1976

Louis Naef: Theaterlandschaft Innerschweiz. Zur Geschichte des Laien-, Volks- und Landschaftstheaters. Zürich, 2008

Nidwaldner Zeitung (Ed.): Facettenreiche Theaterszene Nidwalden. Beilage zur Nidwaldner Zeitung. In: Nidwaldner Zeitung. 29. Januar 1993, p. 1-4

Cäsar Rossi: Der Mensch im Mittelpunkt. Zuger Volkstheatertradition. In: Zuger Neujahrsblatt 1996. Zug, 1996 p. 110-116

Viktor Weibel: Hesonusode. Theater, Geschichte und Fasnachtskultur. 150 Jahre Japanesengesellschaft Schwyz. Schwyz, 2006

Keywords

Contact

Zentralverband Schweizer Volkstheater
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Print contact

https://www.lebendige-traditionen.ch/content/tradition/en/home/traditions/amateur-theatre-in-central-switzerland.html