Most people associate Shakespeare with medieval England, legendary castles, sometimes even Italian mansions and of course tragic love stories. What most people don’t think about is the Alpine town of Bludenz. And yet, here in the heart of Vorarlberg, between Rätikon and Lechquellengebirge, takes place a special annual festival: Shakespeare am Berg (Shakespeare on the mountain).
The intendant Thomas Welte, author and let’s just say ‘Shakespearean fan’ has re-invented the classical format. His intention is to bring Shakespeare’s great classics to an extraordinary stage. Bludenz is not exactly known for its theater productions yet Thomas Welte has found the stage he was looking for. At 1,401m, above the city, more precisely at Muttersberg, there is an arena in the middle of the forest. In summer 2016, the team, consisting of only half a dozen actors and a handful of organizers, played Romeo and Juliet. The stage, consisting of scaffolding and a few repeatedly illuminated white sheets set against the contrast of the Alpine panorama, captivated the audience with its simplicity. Romeo and Juliet loved each other from dawn to deep black night. Juliet, this time staged as a mysterious mythical creature, surprisingly took over the role of Romeo. It was she who climbed the balcony and fought for their love. Thomas Welte seamlessly brought the classical tragedy into the modern age without losing any of its authenticity.
Once again in the summer of 2017, a play by Shakespeare was staged on Muttersberg. Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s comedy from the late 15th century conquered the hearts of the audience. This year, Thomas Welte offers a summer night's adventure with Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream – don’t miss this year’s open air spectacle.
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