Friedrich Ludwig Schröder

Definition

Theater

  • (1744 - 1816) Germany theater manager, and playwright.Schröder was a dominant force during the most formative periodof the German stage and introduced theatregoers to Shakespeare andGoethe.

    Friedrich was born in Schwerin, the son of an alcoholic fatherand the actress Sophia Schröder (1714 - 92), who subsequentlyleft her husband to join the travelling company of Konrad Ackermann(whom she eventually married). The young Schröder began as achild actor in his stepfather's company. At the age of 12 he accidentallybecame separated from it and survived by working as an acrobat andrope-dancer until he found the company again in Switzerland. Schröderwas trained by the company's most renowned actor, Konrad Ekhof.From 1767 onwards they both assisted Ackermann in his efforts to establishthe first German National Theatre in Hamburg. Mismanagement doomedthe project, however, and when Schröder began to take over mostof Ekhof's parts, the older actor decided to move on.

    Following Ackermann's death in 1771, Sophia retained financialcontrol of the company and Schröder, by now the leading actor,became artistic director. Schröder improved the company's standardsand reputation, producing such important works as G. E. Lessing'sEmilia galotti in 1772 and Goethe's first play Gotz vonBerlinchingen the following year. In 1771 he became manager ofthe Hamburg theater, where he introduced his own adaptations of Shakespeareanworks including Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. In 1782,after years of tension with his mother, Schröder moved to theBurgtheater in Vienna where, as guest artist for four years,he established the refined ensemble acting that was to remain a featureof the company. In 1786 he returned to his mother's company and finallyassumed complete control, prospering sufficiently to retire to a countryestate in 1798. see also Hamburg style.

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