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Kosten der Theater in Deutschland: Output entscheidend

Press Release of May 22, 2002

Theatre costs in Germany largely depend on a theatres' output - productions and performances - and not on a theatres' legal organisation or the sponsorship it receives. This conclusion was reached by the DIW Berlin in its current weekly report 21/2002. However, it is quite surprising that the higher the number of new productions is the lower the costs are. A high percentage of new productions is characteristic for en-suite runs (only one play is staged at a time). En-suite runs seems to be much more cost effective than repertoire theatre in which several plays run consecutively. En-suite runs are mainly found in eastern Germany; eastern German theatre performances are therefore much cheaper than western German ones. Theatre costs also depend on the number of private theatres nearby. The more private theatres there are in the vicinity of public ones, the higher costs are for public theatres. This is because competition for artists forces up fees.
Berlin in particular has a varied theatre scene, whose size is often called into question due to stringent public budget requirements. In its study, the DIW Berlin shows that in the 1990s the successful reduction of costs was not achieved through closing down theatres (the Schiller Theatre and the Metropol Theatre) in Berlin, but by implementing cost-cutting measures in the majority of theatres. The renowned and rich-in-tradition free theatre scene was the most affected by these cost-cutting measures: their grants were cut in half. The Berlin Senate could thus reduce total theatre grants by one third. However, the five jewels in the crown - the three opera houses, the German Theatre (plus its studio theatre ) and the Volksbühne - came out of the process practically unscathed.