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A play by Christopher Hampton Drawn from the life and testimony of Brunhilde Pomsel






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A GERMAN LIFE by Christopher Hampton Drawn from the life and testimony of Brunhilde Pomsel Based on the documentary film A German Life by Christian Krönes, Olaf Müller, Roland Schrotthofer and Florian Weigensamer / Blackbox Film & Media Productions (


Maggie Smith


Jonathan Kent


Anna Fleischle


Jon Clark


Paul Groothuis


Liam Bunster


Eleanor Dolan


Marcus Hall Props


Paul Hennessy


Bridge Theatre, 12 April 2019. LENGTH

About 1 hour 35 minutes. There is no interval. Please see Front of House staff for accurate timings


ABOVE Brunhilde Pomsel. © Brunhilde Pomsel Privataufnahmen/ Blackbox Film & Medienproduktion GmbH

FOR BRIDGE THEATRE Co-Founder Nicholas Hytner

Stage Technician Ida Heggen

Co-Founder Nick Starr

Technical Swing Bethany Laing

Director of Productions Katrina Gilroy

Facilities Manager Oli Back

Director of Finance and Administration Andrew Leveson Head of Development Will Mortimer

General Manager (Food & Beverage Operations) Beatrice O’Dowd House Manager Natalie Wallace

Head of Sales and Audience Insight Pauline Fallowell

Deputy House Managers Terri Hammond Niko Ribnikov

Head of Technical Operations Jonny Pascoe

Finance Managers Jenni Farge Marcus Bolmgren

Deputy Head of Stage Ollie Pickering

Design Associate Nick Murray

Head of Lighting Nicole Smith Deputy Head of Lighting Adrian Hampton Head of Sound Andrew Josephs Head of Costume Eleanor Dolan Deputy Head of Costume Anna Bliss Scully Stage Supervisor James Edwards

Box Office Manager Rhea Heath Production Assistants Bellaray Bertrand -Webb Millie Brierley Rozzy Knox Marketing Assistant Bridie Heathcote Finance & Payroll Officer Hasnain Kazmi Purchase Ledger Clerk/Finance Assistant Ines Künzli

FoH Supervisors Campbell Ferguson Rob Hill Chris Kasapi Shyan MacTavish Igor Memić Brett Somerville FoH Cover Supervisors Liam Blain Katie Hall Brandon Plummer Programme Editor Lyn Haill Programme Designer Clare Nicholson, WheatsheafStudios Programmes printed by Cantate Communications Marketing Consultant Chris Harper Business Affairs Advisor Neil Adleman PR Janine Shalom, Premier 020 7292 8330 Branding Agency Studio Koto Website Development Substrakt Ticketing and Marketing Software Spektrix Media Agency AKA

FOR A GERMAN LIFE Company Stage Manager Carrie Burnham Deputy Stage Manager Laura Wilson Lighting Programmer Liam Jones Production Electrician Doug Currie Lighting Operator Nell Allen Lighting Crew Marianne Nightingale David Butler Chris Withers Gerald McDermott Stevie Carty Production Sound Engineers Matt Ferrie Dom Bell Juan Carmona Sound Number 1 Laura Gingell Wardrobe Supervisor Helen Tams Principal Dresser Davina Elliott Costume Technician Rae Hildbrand Scenic engineering by Weld-Fab Stage Engineering Scenic construction & painting by Splinter Scenery

Automation by Absolute Motion Control Production transport & haulage Paul Mathew Transport Production Carpenters Jonathan Smith Jon Barnes Production Photographer Helen Maybanks Concept artwork Muse Creative Special thanks to Autograph Sound Recording Sir Antony Beevor Mona Camille Dunrose Optical Ulla Fleishchle Dan Murfin Sparks Theatrical Hire Karoline and Enni Trifan



Brunhilde Pomsel was Joseph Goebbels’ secretary: she was born in 1911, experienced virtually the entire 20th century. How did she become your interview partner? We came across Brunhilde Pomsel whilst doing research on a different matter and immediately saw this as a “once-in-a-lifetime” chance to portray one of the last contemporary witnesses who had been actively involved at the centre of the National Socialist power apparatus. It soon became clear that she had all the potential required for a story about her alone. During the preliminary discussions it quickly emerged that, despite her age, she was very clear and alert, and a good storyteller as well. When it came to her memories it was impressive how many of the details she could recall.

RIGHT Brunhilde Pomsel. 2016. © Matthias Balk/dpa picture alliance/Alamy Stock Photo

What was your starting point? Did you only discuss with her the period when she was active in the innermost circles of power under the nazi regime, or were you also interested in her whole life as a witness of events over such a long period? We focused on the few decades when a functioning society went completely off the rails. It bears a remarkable similarity to our own times. The economic downturn, which was followed by mass

unemployment, caused society to break apart at the seams and only a decade later ended in one of the greatest catastrophes of humankind. The time leading up to that period is interesting, too. Brunhilde Pomsel also talked about her childhood, and from that you could see how children were brought up in those days. The blind obedience, the refusal to allow orders to be questioned in any way – of course those attitudes were exploited later. She ended up in such close proximity to Goebbels completely by chance. She wasn’t a supporter of the Nazis; we believe her about that. She was unpolitical. That in itself is a powerful accusation. Being so close to the centre of power made her a fellow traveller, and her refusal to analyse what was going on, her focus solely on her own life, became particularly interesting. Extreme periods like that also show up people’s true attitudes. Today’s “spirit of the age” is reminiscent of that sad past. The economic crisis has not gone unfelt. People are seriously worried about their wealth and prosperity. Then a wave of refugees came to Europe and within a very short period of time the right wing parties in all affected countries gain strength and calls for a strong leader are heard. Barbed-wire fences are being erected all over the place. The difference, this time, is that it is not just a country that has undergone a shift to the right, but a whole continent. The really worrying thing is that we seem to have learnt very little from our recent past. CONTINUED


Q& A

Are you more interested in discovering the extent to which a process of self-reflection also takes place in a person with this background story than in documenting details and memories from the centre of power? For us, it was never a matter of Brunhilde Pomsel’s personal guilt or innocence. It was far more the more general issue of personal responsibility and morality that was important to us. We certainly didn’t set out to expose and dismantle an incorrigible die-hard. That would be too simple. What appealed to us was the unique opportunity to encounter someone who unites these historical dimensions: the First World War, the Nazi regime, working together with Goebbels, being a Russian prisoner of war… right up to the present day. We were never concerned with her personal guilt or with exposing her as a Nazi. We were also interested in confronting the audience with the question of how quickly people can become involved in something. What matters is less the process of self-reflection in hindsight than the essential question of when the moment comes that a society as a whole has to rise up and act.

RIGHT Left to right, Florian Weigensamer, Olaf S. Müller, Roland Schrotthofer, Christian Krönes Photo © Visions du Réel

Brunhilde Pomsel was very intelligent and likeable. You follow her through part of her development, and inevitably you reach the point where you have to say to yourself: probably I would have ended up like that as well. You can’t get away from her perspective; she just led a completely normal life. And although you can hope you might have acted in a certain way in such a situation, you can never be sure what you would really have done. Brunhilde Pomsel was truly honest and credible. Her stories show that. She didn’t try to make things look better than they were and she didn’t show any false remorse, which is all too often the case with witnesses of the period. They know what is expected of them. Pomsel was always authentic. Her story demands from the audience an honest reply to the question: which moral principles would you have sacrificed in order to gain rapid promotion and a higher salary? The viewer is invited to deliberate on this issue: how effective would our own moral compass be?

BERLIN, 1945 From Berlin The Downfall 1945 by Antony Beevor


erliners, gaunt from short rations and stress, had little to celebrate at Christmas in 1944. Much of the capital of the Reich had been reduced to rubble by bombing raids. The Berlin talent for black jokes had turned to gallows humour. The quip of that unfestive season was, “Be practical: give a coffin.” The mood in Germany had changed exactly two years before. Rumours had begun to circulate just before Christmas 1942 that General Paulus’s Sixth Army had been encircled on the Volga by the Red Army. The Nazi Regime found it hard to admit that the largest formation in the whole of the Wehrmacht was doomed to annihilation in the ruins of Stalingrad and in the frozen steppe outside. To prepare the country for bad news, Joseph Goebbels, the Reichsminister for Propaganda and Enlightenment, had announced a ‘German Christmas’, which in National Socialist terms meant austerity and ideological determination, not candles and pine wreaths and singing ‘Heilige Nacht’ . By 1944, the traditional roast goose had become a distant memory. In streets where the facade of a house had collapsed, pictures could still be seen hanging on the walls of what had been a sitting room or bedroom. The actress Hildegard Knef gazed at a piano left exposed on the remnants of a floor. Nobody could get to it, and she wondered how long it would be before it tumbled down to join the rubble below. Messages from families were scrawled on gutted buildings to tell a son returning from the front that they were all right and staying elsewhere. Nazi Party notices warned, “Looters will be punished with death!”

Air raids were so frequent, with the British by night and the Americans by day, that Berliners felt that they spent more time in cellars and air-raid shelters than in their own beds. The lack of sleep contributed to the strange mixture of suppressed hysteria and fatalism. Far fewer people seemed to worry about being denounced to the Gestapo for defeatism, as the rash of jokes indicated. The ubiquitous initials LSR for Luftschutzraum, or air-raid shelter, were said to stand for “Lernt schnell Russisch”: “Learn Russian quickly”. Most Berliners had entirely dropped the ‘Heil Hitler!’ greeting. When Lother Loewe, a Hitler Youth who had been away from the city, used it on entering a shop, everyone turned and stared at him. It was the last time he uttered the words when not on duty. Loewe found that the most common greeting had become “Bleib übrig!” – “Survive!”

LEFT Berlin, 1945. © Granger Historical Picture Archive/Alamy Stock Photo




RIGHT Berlin, 1945. © Granger Historical Picture Archive/Alamy Stock Photo

The humour also reflected the grotesque, sometimes surreal, image of the time. The largest air-raid construction in Berlin was the Zoo bunker, a vast ferro-concrete fortress of the totalitarian age, with flak batteries on the roof and huge shelters below, into which crowds of Berliners packed when the sirens sounded. The diarist Ursula von Kardorff described it as “like a stageset for the prison scene in Fidelio”. Meanwhile, loving couples embraced on concrete spiral staircases as if taking part in a “travesty of a fancy-dress ball”. There was a pervasive atmosphere of impending downfall in personal lives as much as in the nation’s existence. People spent their money recklessly, half-assuming that it would soon be worthless. And there were stories, although hard to confirm, of girls and young women coupling with strangers in dark corners around the Zoo station and in the Tiergarten. The desire to dispense with innocence is said to have become even more desperate later as the Red Army approached Berlin. The air-raid shelters themselves, lit with blue lights, could indeed provide a foretaste of claustrophobic hell, as people pushed in bundled in their warmest clothes and carrying small cardboard suitcases containing sandwiches and thermos. In theory, all basic needs were catered for in the shelters. There was a Sanitätsraum with a nurse, where women could go into labour. Childbirth seemed to be accelerated by the vibrations from

bomb explosions, which felt as if they came as much from the centre of the earth as from ground level. The ceilings were painted with luminous paint for the frequent occasions during the air raids when the lights failed, first dimming then flickering off. Water supplies ceased when mains were hit, and the Aborte, or lavatories, soon became disgusting, a real distress for a nation preoccupied with hygiene. Often the lavatories were sealed off by the authorities because there were so many cases of depressed people who, having locked the door, committed suicide. For a population of around 3 million, Berlin did not have enough shelters, so they were usually overcrowded. In the main corridors, seating halls and bunk rooms, the air was foul from over-use and condensation dripped from the ceilings. The complex of shelters under the Gesinbrunnen U-Bahn station had been designed to take 1,500 people, yet often more than three times that number packed in. Candles were used to measure the diminishing levels of oxygen. When a candle placed on the floor went out, children were picked up and held at shoulder height. When a candle on a chair went out, then the evacuation of the level began. And if a third candle, positioned at about chin level, began to sputter, then the whole bunker was evacuated, however heavy the attack above. Berlin The Downfall 1945 (2007) by Antony Beevor, is published by Penguin


BRUNHILDE PO 1911 11 January Brunhilde Pomsel born in Berlin.

1914 Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. Britain declares war on Germany.

defeated after their leaders (including Rosa Luxembourg) are assassinated. National Assembly returns to Berlin.

1920 League of Nations founded (Germany joins in 1926).

9 November Germany surrenders; Emperor William II flees. Civil war in Berlin.

1919 Paris Peace Conference: Treaty of Versailles signed. Berlin under communist rule; the National Assembly flees to Weimar. Weimar Republic succeeds the German Empire. Communists

Rampant inflation in Germany.

1929 Wall Street Crash; economic crisis strikes Germany again.

1930 1921



London Schedule of Payments requires Germany to pay 132 billion gold marks to cover damage caused during the war.

1922 Einstein wins Nobel prize for physics.

1923 Beer Hall Putsch: Nazi Party Chairman Adolf Hitler leads demands for Nazi coup.

Nazi Party gains 95 seats in the federal election.

1932 Lausanne Conference cancels reparation payments (under 21 billion marks paid). Brunhilde Pomsel is able to vote in an election for the first time and votes (she thinks) for the Nazis.

OMSEL’S LIFE 1933 30 January Hitler appointed chancellor heading a Nazi-DVNP coalition: Goebbels is Minister of Propaganda. Brunhilde Pomsel works as a secretary in the news department of the Third Reich’s broadcasting station.

27 February Reichstag building severely damaged by fire. 10 May Book-burnings take place.

1934 30 June ‘Night of the Long Knives’: SS paramilitaries kill potential threats to Hitler’s power.



BELOW Brunhilde Pomsel in Magda Goebbels’ suit. © Brunhilde Pomsel private archive/Blackbox Film & Medienproduktion GmbH

CHRONOLOGY 1934 (CONTINUED) Nuremberg Rally is the subject of Leni Riefenstahl’s film Triumph of the Will which wins gold medal at the 1935 Venice Film Festival.

1935 Nuremberg Laws published. Jews are no longer citizens (though still subjects) of the German Reich. German rearmament contravenes the Treaty of Versailles

1936 German troops reoccupy the Rhineland. Olympic Games held in Berlin; Goebbels is involved in the planning.

1937 ‘Degenerate Art Exhibition’, organised by Goebbels, runs in Munich from July to October.


12 March Anschluss: German troops enter Austria. September Emergency meeting of main European powers in Munich, on allowing

Germany to annexe the Sudetenland. Agreement signed by leaders of Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy. Czechoslovakia yields to pressure and cedes the Sudetenland to Germany.

9 November Kristallnacht: simultaneous attacks against Jews all over Germany. 12 December Property of all German Jews confiscated.

1939 23 August Hitler and Stalin sign nonaggression pact. 1 September G ermany invades Poland. 3 September Britain declares war on Germany. October SS proposes all Jews should wear yellow Star of David.

1941 Jews are not permitted to leave Germany.

1942 The Wannsee Conference coordinates the planned murder of about 11 million Jews.

1943 18 February Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels calls for ‘Total War’ in a speech at the Sportpalast in Berlin.

1944 23 July Hitler appoints Goebbels as Reich Plenipotentiary for Total War.

BELOW Joseph Goebbels with his family. January 1944. © Bundesarchiv



CHRONOLOGY 1945 Berlin has been subject to 363 air-raids by Allied Forces during the war.

16 April R ed Army encircles Berlin; the Battle of Berlin begins. 22 April G oebbels and his family move into Hitler’s underground bunker. 30 April H itler commits suicide, naming Goebbels as his successor as Chancellor. 1 May G oebbels and his wife Magda commit suicide after taking the lives of their six children.

8 May Germany surrenders; WWII ends. Partition divides Germany between Americans, British and French (western two thirds of the country) and Soviets (eastern third). Berlin is now half-controlled by Western forces but in the middle of the Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany.

1945-50 Brunhilde Pomsel interned by the Russian authorities, in Buchenwald and then in Sachsenhausen.

ABOVE Hitler’s Bunker. Berlin, 1945. © INTERFOTO/Alamy Stock Photo



13 August Overnight, without warning, Communist East German government start to build a wall separating West from East Berlin and the rest of East Germany.

Brunhilde Pomsel works for the radio station Südwestfunk, in Baden-Baden, then in Munich.

ABOVE The Berlin Wall in construction, August 1976. © Keystone Pictures USA/ Alamy Stock Photo

1971 Brunhilde Pomsel retires and continues to live in Munich, first in an apartment and finally in an old people’s facility.




1989 9 November Fall of the Berlin Wall.

1990 Reunification of Germany. German Democratic Republic’s first free elections.

2017 27 January Brunhilde Pomsel dies, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, aged 106.

RIGHT The Berlin Wall falls. November 1989. © Agencja Fotograficzna Caro/Alamy Stock Photo

TOTAL WAR Extracts from Joseph Goebbels’ speech of 18 February 1943


he tragic battle of Stalingrad [23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943] is a symbol of heroic, manly resistance to the revolt of the steppes. It has not only a military, but also an intellectual and spiritual significance for the German people. Here for the first time our eyes have been opened to the true nature of the war. We want no more false hopes and illusions. We want bravely to look the facts in the face, however hard and dreadful they may be. The history of our party and our state has proven that a danger recognised is a danger defeated. Our coming hard battles in the East will be under the sign of this heroic resistance. It will require previously undreamed of efforts by our soldiers and our weapons. A merciless war is raging in the East. The Führer was right when he said that in the end there will not be winners and losers, but the living and the dead.

****** Total war is the demand of the hour. We must put an end to the bourgeois attitude that we have also seen in this war: Wash my back, but don’t get me wet! (Growing applause and agreement) The danger facing us is enormous. The efforts we take to meet it must be just as enormous. The time has come to remove the kid gloves and use our fists. (A cry of elemental agreement. Chants) We can no longer make only partial and careless use of the war potential at home and in the significant parts of Europe that we control. We must use our full resources, as quickly and thoroughly as it is organisationally and practically possible. Unnecessary concern is wholly out of place. The future of Europe hangs on our success in the East. We are ready to defend it. The German people are shedding their most valuable national blood in this battle. The rest of Europe should at least work to support us. There are many serious voices in Europe that have already realised this. Others still resist. That cannot influence us. If danger faced them alone, we could view their reluctance as literary nonsense

Brunhilde Pomsel on Goebbels’ total war speech

RIGHT Nazi propaganda based on Goebbels’ Total War speech. © Shawshots/Alamy Stock Photo

Herr Goebbels held a speech at the Sportpalast. Words just fail me to describe how he managed to get the hundreds of people to rise up from their seats so they were just jumping and screaming and cheering. But he managed it. I don’t think he knew how that happened, either. A man from the SS stood behind us and tapped us on the shoulder saying: “The least you could do is to clap”. And then we started clapping, of course. We had to. He told us to, as well. We didn’t even realise what the speech was all about. It was just the impression of the raging crowd. People, who themselves had no idea as to why they were raging. It was a natural phenomenon. That one person, one person was able to get hundreds of people to shout, shout and shout: “Yes, we want total war!” They were all put under a single person’s spell.


of no significance. But the danger faces us all, and we must all do our share. Those who today do not understand that will thank us tomorrow on bended knees that we courageously and firmly took on the task.

****** It is time to get the slackers moving. (Stormy agreement) They must be shaken out of their comfortable ease. We cannot wait until they come to their senses. That might be too late. The alarm must sound throughout the nation. Millions of hands must get to work throughout the country. The measures we have taken, and the ones we will now take, and which I shall discuss later in this speech, are critical for our whole public and private life. The individual may have to make great sacrifices, but they are tiny when compared to the sacrifices he would have to make if his refusal brought down on us the greatest national disaster. It is better to operate at the right time than to wait until the disease has taken root. One may not complain to the doctor or sue him for bodily injury. He cuts not to kill, but to save the patient’s life. Again let me say that the heavier the sacrifices the German people must make, the more urgent it is that they be fairly shared. The people want it that way. No one resists even the heaviest burdens of war. But it angers

people when a few always try to escape the burdens. The National Socialist government has both the moral and political duty to oppose such attempts, if necessary with draconian penalties. (Agreement) Leniency here would be completely out of place, leading in time to a confusion in the people’s emotions and attitudes that would be a grave danger to our public morale.

ABOVE AND LEFT The scene at the Sportpalast, Berlin, 18 February 1943, as Goebbels gives his speech calling for ‘total war’. © Berliner Verlag/dpa picture archive/ Alamy Stock Photo and aka-images/ Alamy Stock Photo



Maggie Smith made her debut with the Oxford University Drama Society (OUDS) as Viola in 1952 and since then has been awarded two Academy Awards, countless Best Actress Awards, and both the CBE and DBE. In 2014 she was honoured to be made a Companion of Honour by Her Majesty the Queen. She received the Hamburg Shakespeare Prize in 1991, is a Fellow of the BFI, and was awarded a Silver BAFTA in 1993. She is an Honorary D.Litt of Cambridge University and St Andrews, and is a patron of the Jane Austen Society. She is a Vice President of the Royal Theatrical Fund. THEATRE includes As You Like It, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Richard II and What Every Woman Knows. In 1963 she joined the National Theatre at the Old Vic and appeared in Othello playing Desdemona opposite Laurence Olivier, Much Ado About Nothing, Miss Julie, The Recruiting Officer, Hay Fever, The Master Builder, Black Comedy, The Beaux’ Stratagem, Three Sisters, Hedda Gabler and also Coming in to Land for Peter Hall at the National on the South Bank. In several seasons at Stratford, Ontario, between 1976 and 1980 she appeared in Antony and Cleopatra, The Way of the World, The Three Sisters, The Guardsman, As You Like It, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, The Seagull and Virginia. West End includes: Share My Lettuce, Rhinoceros, The Rehearsal, The Private Ear & The Public Eye, Mary Mary, Private Lives, Peter Pan, Night and Day, Virginia, Interpreters, The Infernal Machine, Lettice and Lovage, The Importance of Being Earnest, Three Tall Women, Talking Heads, A Delicate Balance, The Lady in the Van, The Breath of Life, and The Lady from Dubuque.

FILM includes Oh, What a Lovely War!, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Death on the Nile, Travels With My Aunt, California Suite, A Private Function, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, Hook, Sister Act, The Secret Garden, Richard III, First Wives Club, Washington Square, Tea with Mussolini, The Last September, Gosford Park, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Keeping Mum, Becoming Jane, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Quartet, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, My Old Lady and most recently The Lady in the Van. She is also known worldwide as Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter films. TELEVISION includes Mrs Silly, Talking Heads: Bed Among the Lentils, Memento Mori, Suddenly Last Summer, All the King’s Men, David Copperfield, My House in Umbria, Capturing Mary, and most recently playing the Dowager Duchess in Downton Abbey.

Christopher Hampton PLAYWRIGHT

WRITING credits include The Philanthropist, Savages, Tales from Hollywood, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, White Chameleon, The Talking Cure, Embers, Appomattox, All About Eve, Youth Without God and the musicals Sunset Boulevard and Stephen Ward. TELEVISION includes The History Man and Hotel du Lac. SCREENPLAYS include The Honorary Consul, The Good Father, Dangerous Liaisons, Mary Reilly, Total Eclipse, The Quiet American, Carrington, The Secret Agent, Imagining Argentina, Atonement, Chéri and A Dangerous Method. Christopher Hampton’s plays, musicals and translations have garnered four Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, four Evening Standard Awards and the New York Theatre Critics Circle Award. Prizes for his film and television work include an Academy Award, two BAFTAs, a Writers’ Guild of America Award, the Prix Italia and a Special Jury Award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Jonathan Kent DIRECTOR

THEATRE includes, for the West End, The Height of the Storm; The Country Wife, The Sea, Marguerite (Theatre Royal Haymarket Season), As You Desire Me; Gypsy, Private Lives, Sweeney Todd (also Chichester), Good People (also Hampstead), Britannicus, Phèdre, Plenty; Naked (also Almeida Theatre). Broadway includes Long Day’s Journey into Night, Faith Healer, Man of La Mancha, Hamlet, Medea. Other theatre includes David Hare’s Young Chekhov Trilogy: Ivanov, Platonov and The Seagull (Chichester Festival Theatre and the National Theatre), The Emperor and Galilean, Oedipus, Le Cid, Mother Courage and her Children, The False Servant (all at the National Theatre), Sweet Bird of Youth, A Month in the Country (Chichester Festival Theatre), Hecuba (Donmar), Hamlet (Japan), King Lear; The Tempest; Platonov; Lulu (Almeida Theatre and Washington), Coriolanus / Richard II (Almeida Theatre, New York and Tokyo), The Government Inspector; Ivanov (Almeida Theatre and Moscow); Tartuffe; Gangster No 1; The Life of Galileo; Chatsky; The Showman; The School for Wives; The Rules of the Game; All for Love; When We Dead Awaken (all at the Almeida Theatre) OPERA includes Manon Lescaut (Royal Opera House); Hippolyte et Aricie (Glyndebourne); The Flying Dutchman (ENO/Royal Danish

Opera), The Fairy Queen (Glyndebourne/Paris/ New York); Don Giovanni (Glyndebourne); Die Frau ohne Schatten (Mariinsky St Petersburg); The Letter (Santa Fe); The Marriage of Figaro (Santa Fe); Elektra (Mariinsky St Petersburg); The Turn of the Screw (Glyndebourne); The Tempest (Santa Fe); Tosca (Royal Opera House); A Child of Our Time (ENO); Lucio Silla and Kát’a Kabanová (Santa Fe).

Anna Fleischle DESIGNER

THEATRE & DANCE include West Side Story at the Royal Exchange Manchester; A Very Very Very Dark Matter at the Bridge; Home, I’m Darling (also Clwyd and West End) and Love the Sinner at the National Theatre; The Way of the World at the Donmar; The Writer and Before the Party at the Almeida; Hangmen at the Royal Court, West End and New York; Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Crucible Sheffield and West End; The Lie at the Menier Chocolate Factory; The Exorcist at Birmingham Rep and West End; Much Ado About Nothing and Troilus and Cressida at Shakespeare’s Globe; Terror at the Lyric Hammersmith; Tiger Bay at Artscape Cape Town and Wales Millennium Centre; The Kid Stays in the Picture and Liberian Girl at the Royal Court; Don Juan in Soho and Rent (also tour) in the West End; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at the Old Vic; Henry V at Regent’s Park; Beware of Pity for Schaubühne Berlin/Complicité; Two Noble Kinsmen, Cymbeline and Love’s Sacrifice for the RSC; The End of Longing at the Playhouse; John and Can We Talk About This? for DV8 Physical Theatre; Before I Leave for National Theatre Wales; Blindsided, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and Rat’s Tales at the Royal Exchange Manchester; Coram Boy at Bristol Old Vic; As You Like It at Curve Leicester; The Love Girl and the Innocent at Southwark Playhouse; Love and Money, You Can See The Hills and Some Voices at the Young Vic; and Second Coming for Scottish Dance. OPERA includes Candide for Opéra National de Lorraine; Don Giovanni, Iphigénie en Tauride, King Priam and Paul Bunyan for English Touring Opera; Albert Herring for Royal College of Music; and Zaire at Sadler’s Wells. AWARDS include Olivier, Critics’ Circle and Evening Standard awards for Best Design for Hangmen; Best Set Design and Best Costume Design Olivier nominations for Home, I’m Darling.


John Clark

Paul Groothuis

THEATRE includes, for the Bridge, Alys, Always; for the National Theatre The Lehman Trilogy, I’m Not Running, Absolute Hell, Amadeus, As You Like It, The Beaux’ Stratagem, Othello, The Effect, Collaborators, A Woman Killed With Kindness, Hamlet, Greenland, Pains of Youth, Our Class, Damned by Despair, Women of Troy, The Cat In The Hat, Beauty & the Beast and Hansel and Gretel. For the RSC: Hamlet, The Tempest, The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice, The Homecoming, The Winter’s Tale and King Lear (also New York). In the West End The Lehman Trilogy, The Inheritance, The Jungle, Betrayal, Pinter at the Pinter Season, Frozen, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Doctor Faustus, Made in Dagenham, King Charles III (also Broadway), The Commitments, I Can’t Sing! The X-Factor Musical, The Ruling Class, Apologia, The Maids, The Pride, Three Days of Rain, The Little Dog Laughed, The Lover and The Collection, and Pinter’s People. For the Young Vic: The Inheritance, The Jungle (also New York and San Francisco), Life of Galileo, Once In A Lifetime, A Streetcar Named Desire (also New York), A Season in the Congo, Street Scene and Been So Long. For the Almeida Richard III, King Charles III, and American Psycho. For the Donmar Warehouse Limehouse, Trelawny of the Wells, Moonlight and Polar Bears. For the Old Vic: The Lorax (also Toronto, Minneapolis and San Diego). At the Lyric Hammersmith: Fatherland (also MIF), Tipping the Velvet, and The Birthday Party. For the Royal Court Ten Billion, Red Bud, Aunt Dan and Lemon, The Pride, and Gone Too Far! Other theatre includes: Into the Woods at Regent’s Park; Salomé for Headlong; and Water and Silence for Filter.

THEATRE includes designing sound for over 140 National Theatre productions including Follies, The Plough and the Stars, The Silver Tassie, Children of the Sun, The Cherry Orchard, Hamlet, Present Laughter, Rafta Rafta, The Rose Tattoo, The Man of Mode, The Life of Galileo, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Once in a Lifetime, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, The House of Bernarda Alba, His Dark Materials, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Stuff Happens, Cyrano, Henry V, Edmond, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Coast of Utopia, The Wind in the Willows, Carousel (co-design with Mike Walker), Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Guys and Dolls, Candide, South Pacific, Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady and Anything Goes.


OPERA includes The Exterminating Angel for The Metropolitan Opera (also Royal Opera House, Salzburg Festival, Royal Danish Opera); Lucia di Lammermoor (also Greek National Opera), L’Étoile, Kròl Roger (also Opera Australia; Green Room Award for Best Lighting Design), and Written on Skin (also Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Lincoln Center NY, Bolshoi Moscow, Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Toulouse) for the Royal Opera House; Hamlet at Glyndebourne (also Adelaide Festival); The Turn of the Screw (at Open Air Theatre); La Bohème (also DNO), Wozzeck, Caligula and The Return of Ulysses (at the Young Vic) for ENO; and The Perfect American for Teatro Real, Madrid (also ENO). AWARDS Knight of Illumination and Green Room Australia.


Elsewhere, his work includes Cost of Living, I and You, Good People, Chariots of Fire, Loyalty, Rabbit Hole and 55 Days at Hampstead; Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker!, Highland Fling, Edward Scissorhands, The Car Man, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Red Shoes and Romeo and Juliet; CoisCéim’s Mermaids; Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Sweet Bird of Youth, Guys and Dolls, Gypsy, Show Boat, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Sweeney Todd (Olivier nomination), Flare Path, Waiting for Godot, Porgy and Bess, Bad Girls the Musical, Acorn Antiques, Oliver!, Endgame and Bent in the West End; Mary Poppins UK tours, Holland, Vienna, Stuttgart, Hamburg and US tour; and Design for Living at the Old Vic. Future projects include The Boy in the Dress for the RSC; and Oklahoma! at Chichester. Paul Groothuis is a visiting lecturer at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and Rose Bruford College.


Christian Krönes

Roland Schrotthofer

During his film and directing studies Christian Krönes was able to accompany and work alongside the legendary DOPs Vittorio Storaro and Sven Nykvist. After gaining experience on international filmsets he started work in the television sector and directed a variety of TV formats for renowned European television companies. Work on a film project with Sir Peter Ustinov soon developed into a friendship and resulted in years of artistic collaboration. Sir Peter’s wish for Krönes to work for the Ustinov Foundation was soon accepted and so he became the personal advisor and manager for Sir Peter up until his death in 2004. In 2006, Christian Krönes formed Blackbox Film and with over 30 years of experience in the film branch is now active as managing director and producer.

Roland Schrotthofer studied Theatre, Film and Media, Psychology and Business Management at the University in Vienna. During his studies he developed and worked on several theatre and film projects. His short film Grenzgänger received the ’Shorts on Screen’ Award from the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF. As producer and author Schrotthofer is a long-term member of the Blackbox Collective since 2011.

Olaf S. Müller Olaf S. Müller studied History and Philosophy at the Universities of Göttingen and Berlin. He has been working as a freelance author, director and producer since 1997. During this period he has made numerous films for German broadcasters such as Deutsche Welle, MDR and 3SAT. Since 2004 he has been, as a producer, responsible for various TV shows, but has always continued to work on documentary film projects worldwide. Müller joined the Blackbox Collective in 2011 and lives in Berlin.

Florian Weigensamer After studying Political Science and Communication Science at the Universtiy of Vienna, Florian Weigensamer gained journalistic and writing experience at Austria ́s foremost news magazine profil. In 1995 he joined the editorial team of Vienna News International where he directed and designed numerous reports and documentaries for European broadcasters. Later on, together with Christian Krönes, he exclusively produced and directed political and social reports and documentaries from Mid/Eastern Europe and Asia for Arte. At the same time he worked on film and multimedia content for museums and exhibitions. After collaborating with various artists in different media in San Francisco for more than a year he became founding member, author and director of the Blackbox Collective in 2006.

A play by Christopher Hampton Drawn from the life and testimony of Brunhilde Pomsel Directed by Jonathan Kent

Profile for Bridge Theatre

Bridge Theatre | A German Life programme