Bertolt Brecht

1898-1956

The German-born playwright, poet and director, Bertolt Brecht was born in Augsburg, Germany in February 1898.

 

Following a period working as assistant to Max Reinhardt at the famous Deutsches Theater, he established himself as a playwright and director during the 1920s and early 1930s with plays such as BAAL, MAN IS MAN, THE THREEPENNY OPERA and THE MOTHER.  It was during this period that he started to form his theories of epic theatre which informed so much of his later work.

 

In 1930, the premier of Brecht and Weill’s THE RISE AND FALL OF THE CITY OF MAHAGONNY, caused a riot as the increasingly influential Nazi party objected to its morality and critical tone.  When Hitler came to power in 1933, Brecht and his wife, actress Helene Weigel, left Germany and lived in a number of European cities before eventually settling in the USA in 1941 where he remained until 1947. During the war years, he wrote many of his best known plays, including THE LIFE OF GALILEO, THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE, MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN and THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI, and also published an anthology of poetry, POEMS IN EXILE. He returned to Europe in 1947 and shortly after his arrival formed the Berliner Ensemble. His post-war plays include MR PUNTILA AND HIS MAN MATTI and an adaptation of Sophocles’ ANTIGONE. 

 

Brecht died in Berlin on 14th August 1956 and remains a hugely influential theatre practitioner throughout the world.

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