Sophiensæle is one of the foremost production and performance venues for independent theatre in the German-speaking world. Here you can find artists from the Berlin, national and international theater scene who are invited to produce and present their work in our spaces. Our programming allows for performance, dance, theatre, music, visual arts and discursive formats to complement each other equally - fostering a productive dialogue.
Currently, up-and-coming artists including Olympia Bukkakis, Olivia Hyunsin Kim, hannsjana, Kareth Schaffer, Zwoisy Mears-Clarke, Nele Stuhler or Ania Nowak are producing works at Sophiensæle. Our long-term collaborators include the artists Jule Flierl, Laurie Young, Hendrik Quast and Maika Knoblich, Monster Truck, Turbo Pascal, Hauen+Stechen, Interrobang, Clement Layes, Christoph Winkler, Henrike Iglesias, Flinn Works, Margret Sara Gudjonsdottir, Sebastian Matthias, Johannes Müller and Philine Rinnert, Vanessa Stern, Simone Dede Ayivi, and Melanie Jame Wolf. In recent years, Sophiensæle has been invited to participate in Theatertreffen with the artists Florentina Holzinger, Thorsten Lensing and Milo Rau/IIPM. In 2017 the house received the Theaterpreis des Bundes.
Sophiensæle is part of a network of internationally oriented, independent theatres, including Kampnagel Hamburg, Mousonturm Frankfurt/Main, FFT Düsseldorf, Theaterhaus Gessnerallee Zurich and brut Vienna. In addition, Sophiensæle produces Tanztage Berlin as well as a variety of annual festivals and focus programmes on specific themes. We are also proud to be a venue for the renowned Berlin festival Tanz im August. Together with brut Wien, FFT Düsseldorf, Gessnerallee Zürich, Schwankhalle Bremen and Theater Rampe Stuttgart, Sophiensæle plays a role in the production platform Freischwimmen. Since 2018, the platform has been reshaphing itself as an international exchange and production platform for artists and young groups from theatre and performance.
Since 2011, Sophiensæle has been directed by Franziska Werner. Sasha Waltz and Jochen Sandig, together with Jo Fabian and Dirk Cieslak, founded SOPHIENSÆLE as a theatre in 1996 in the former building of the craftsman's association of Sophienstraße 18. From 2000 to 2007 Amelie Deuflhard took over the artistic direction of the house, followed by Heike Albrecht (until 2010).
Sophiensæle is a house for artists and audiences, where the encounter between the two groups takes centre stage. While the building was partially renovated in 2011 with great care, it still maintains its original spirit. The changing history of the building and its original purpose as a place for meetings, further education and celebrations can still be felt in the building's architecture, on the walls and ceilings of the rooms, creating a unique setting for artistic production and encounters.
IMPULSE GIVER and CATALYST Our work continues to focus on the promotion of young artists and support for innovative artistic forms and questions. In doing so, we encourage and support new artistic impulses and concepts while also building on long-standing collaborations, nurturing the further development of high artistic quality. Networking with artists, cultural actors and project spaces of various artistic genres enables us to develop as a central hub for the independent scene and function as a platform for current trends in Berlin’s independent dance, music, theatre and performance scene.
OPEN ROOM OF POSSIBILITES We continue the tradition of the house as a place of assembly: As an open and receptive place, the Sophiensæle promotes a diverse examination of contemporary artistic aesthetics, content and positions, seeking intensive contact with artists* and the public. We invite artists to exchange ideas, to contribute their networks and to see the future Sophiensæle not only as a performance venue, but also as a place to design and develop together with us.
POINT OF INTERSECTION Artistic work means reflected contemporaneity: Sophiensæle was founded in 1996 in the spirit of an artistic community, intended to create an innovative centre and a professional infrastructure for free production. We continue on with this founding spirit! Sophiensæle sees itself as a mouthpiece for the concerns of independent production structures in Berlin, promoting the positions of the independent Berlin scene in both a national and international context. With and through Sophiensæle, these bundled impulses receive attention and offer radiance.
FORMAT AND FESTIVALS The development of innovative formats, performance series and festivals plays a major role in the Sophiensæle. The Tanztage Berlin festival and the Freischwimmen platform continue to be central to our promotion of young talent. In addition, we are experimenting with other new formats, festivals and series.
Sophiensæle are funded by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe.