Abandoned Russian theatre restoration and reopening
Mobile Kino is extremely excited to take part in the revival of one of Berlin’s long-forgotten historical and cultural landmarks. Today the Russian Theater in Karlshorst sits empty and unused yet was once a thriving event space first opening its door shortly after the end of the Second World War. During previous eras the grand stage hosted large balls, Russian opera productions, ballet performances, cabaret evenings, fashion shows and cinema screenings. After a long history, the building was in dire need of repair. The doors were officially closed and the theatre sat empty, collecting dust for over a decade.
Photo © Frans Katzwinkel
In recent times Berlin has been faced with the unfortunate closure of many cherished cultural landmarks. The landscape of events and event locations has changed drastically over the last few years and Berliners are forced to join the efforts to help save the cultural and club scenes before it’s too late. Support is key to the survival of Berlin and it is with great pleasure that Mobile Kino can be a part of this project that is turning the tides.
Photo © Frans Katzwinkel
Thanks to the work of the Stiftung Stadtkultur the theatre will again open its doors and return to full functionality with plans catering for new events of all types. The stunning theatre design full of Stalin neoclassicism architecture features a large stage positioned in front of a 600 seat auditorium with an accompanying balcony. Due to the many years of abandonment, the theatre is still in need of renovation with aims to restore the building to its former glory. Careful consideration to reinstate what was once a magnificent cultural institution is underway with goals to fully reopen in the coming years.
In the last years, the Mobile Kino team has visited the theatre and met with the team leaders discussing future plans and concepts that would launch a new wave of cultural events. While construction is underway a focus will be drawn to the outdoor courtyard of the building. This summer the large area will host open-air film screenings directly in front of the grand theatre entrance. A program of films will be presented with the aim of raising awareness of the theatre’s new development to Berliners and the residents of Karlshorst.
While future plans of reopening are extremely exciting, the abandoned theatre is currently an urban explorer’s dream. The dark corridors are filled with dust, cobwebs and retro event posters. The passages lead by old ticket booths, coat check desks, and concession stands. The doors to the main hall are stuck shut with Russian lettering on the exit signs. Once you make your way through the doors the empty rows of classic red fabric theatre chairs stand before you as the huge theatre reveals itself. You cannot help but wonder what it must have felt like to sit amongst the audience back in the building’s heyday.
Join Mobile Kino for a limited open-air cinema series and keep an eye on the progress of the theatre renovation.
August 29th: #Kulturliebe – Kurzfilmprogramme
September 2nd: B Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin
September 5th: Sundance Short Films 2021
September 9th: DEFA Classics – Die Architekten
September 12th: DEFA Classics – Unser kurzes Leben
September 16th: Berlin Feminist Film Week
September 19th: AG Kino presents: A Star is Born
September 23th Quarteera e.V. – Queer Feminist Short Film Night