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People's Theatre

Otto March

alias Die Städtische Spiel- und Festhaus in Worms, Volkstheater
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)20.11.1889 | opening

(detail)1932 | fire

People

(detail)Otto March |main architect
erman architect, he became Regierungsbaumeister (Official or Government Architect) in Berlin from 1878, and was responsible for several Government buildings, theatres, and private houses (he also built up a prosperous practice). The Municipal Theatre, Worms (1889–90), had hefty structural forms, and the Neue Friedrichstrasse Store, Berlin (1895), with its three-storey bays of iron and glass, anticipated work by Gropius. His private houses usually had steep roofs, projecting bays, and a plan grouped around a double-height hall: the best examples were the Landhaus Vörster, Cologne (1891–4—where English influences were pronounced), Landhaus Holtz, Eisenach (1892–4), and Twin House, Villenkolonie, Grünewald, Berlin (1892–4). He also designed the Schillertheater, Charlottenburg (c.1895), and the Siemens Residence, Potsdam (c.1900). Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/otto-march#ixzz2fEbVA3FkMore theatres

History

Volkstheater (People's Theatre) of Worms  was designed by Otto March. Its origins go back to 1883 when, as part of the local Luther Festival, a play was performed in a large room, since there was no proper theatre available in the city. One of the managers was Friedrich Schoen, a friend of Wagner's, who at once saw the relevance of it, and suggested embodying the same principles in a permanent building. A People's Theatre it really was, since it was paid for by public subscription, and there was nothing quite like it in Europe. March made the main body, the auditorium, circular, following the model of circuses. In section it was like a centralized church, with low 'aisles' surrounding a high clerestoryed 'nave' crowned by a dome. The foyers were at one end, the stage accommodation at the other. The stage itself projected into the audience. Seating was arranged in a fan shape, as at Bayreuth. Boxes were practically dispensed with, and round the upper level ran a gallery, or promenade, opening on to the central space through wide arches—a feature characteristic of variety theatres. There was a large skylight in the dome, so that it could be used by day. Fire-conscious critics were pleased to note that 'in an experimental trial the auditorium was emptied of 1,400 children in forty seconds'. The facade was made Romanesque, presumably to harmonize with the cathedral nearby.

 

In: Tidworth, Simon : Theatres: An Illustrated History. London 1973 p. 176

 

 

Author: Simon Tidworth

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