- The German theater company founded by Bertolt Brechtin East Berlin in 1949. The company, established at the invitationof the East German Government, became the focus for much of the mostimportant work then taking place in European theater, not least inits productions of its founder's own plays and its assimilation ofhis theories of Epic Theatre. After Brecht's death in 1956it was taken over by his widow, Helene Weigel, and after her deathin 1971 by their daughter, Barbara Brecht-Schall. Subsequently theEnsemble's reputation declined sharply, with the interventionist styleof Barbara Brecht-Schall coming in for particular criticism. In 1992five leading directors (including the West Germans Peter Palitzsch and Peter Zadek) were called in to save the company from collapse; the Ensemble, formerly funded by the East German state, became a limited company. The current artistic director (since 2000) is Claus Peymann.