- A theater group established in 1883 in Berlin to promotethe performance of new works. It was founded by the playwright AdolfL'Arronge, who assembled a company under Josef Kainz andAgnes Sorma (1865 - 1927). The group began by producing historicaldramas in a realistic style using techniques pioneered by the Meiningercompany. Otto Brahm took over the troupe in 1894 when his FreieBühne company was merged into it. The actors, who includedAlbert Basserman, were subsequently trained in the naturalistic principlesof Stanislavsky.
With the Moscow Art Theatre, the Deutsches Theaterbecame one of the two leading European companies of the early 20thcentury. From 1906 onwards Max Reinhardt experimented withthe idea of combining music, ballet, and mime with mainstream drama.Reinhardt's most famous star was Alexander Moissi, who was noted forhis Shakespearean roles.
The theater disbanded briefly at the onset of World War IIbut was revived by Heinz Hilpert (1890 - 1967), who maintainedits popularity with German audiences during the war. In 1946 it becamethe National Theatre of East Berlin. From 1961 until 1969 it was runby the Swiss director Benno Besson (1922 - 2006), whoproduced works ranging from Aristophanes to Offenbach. The theaterunderwent major reorganization following the reunification of Germany.In 2009 Bernd Wilms, artistic director since 2001, was succeeded byUlrich Khuon.