The Sophiensæle are located in the former Craftsmen's Association House, whose history begins with its construction in 1904/05. It is located in one of the oldest streets of Spandauer Vorstadt: Sophienstraße, which is over 300 years old. The Berlin Craftsmen's Association, founded as early as 1844, was a special form of workers' educational association: its purpose was the professional training of apprentice craftsmen, their preparation for the master craftsman's examination, but also cultural and political education. And the Sophiensæle were always a place of social gathering and celebration.
The building complex consists of over 90 rooms. In the past, there were educational rooms, a restaurant with a beer garden, a library and a bowling alley. The banqueting hall, the so-called Festsaal, together with the restaurant on the first floor, was rented to an independent tenant under the name Sophien-Säle and was already a popular theater venue at that time.
In the 1910s and 1920s, the building began to be used as a meeting place for the revolutionary left. Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, Erich Mühsam and Clara Zetkin, among others, spoke here. The Virchow Hall on the first floor became the site of the first public meeting of the Spartakusbund in 1918. The halls were also located in the immediate vicinity of the Central Committee of the KPD, which had its headquarters on Rosenthaler Strasse until 1925. Of all the premises used by the KPD in Berlin, only the Sophiensæle have been preserved.
During the Nazi dictatorship, Dutch forced laborers worked in the Festsaal on the production of Nazi leaflets. In the GDR, the Maxim Gorki Theater used the rooms as workshops. In the Wedding Hall, the so-called Hochzeitssaal, was the painting room, in the Great Festival Hall the carpentry workshop.
In the fall of 1996, Sophiensæle was founded by Sasha Waltz and Jochen Sandig together with Jo Fabian and Dirk Cieslak as a free theater by artists for artists. From 2000 to 2007 Amelie Deuflhard took over the artistic direction of the house, followed by Heike Albrecht (until 2010) and Franziska Werner (from 2011 to 2023). Jens Hillje and Andrea Niederbuchner took over the artistic direction of Sophiensæle for the 2023/24 season.