Die Geschichte der Königsloge im Königsberger Schauspielhaus von 1809 bis 1915. Ein Beitrag zur Königsberger Theatergeschichte

Erhard Ross

Abstract


The town of Königsberg in East Prussia enjoyed a long theatre tradition. Two kings supported theatre life as patrons giving properties for the erection of theatres. On the celebration of its 500th anniversary in 1755, Königsberg was the first province town in Prussia to receive a real theatre building when Frederick II gave a building site to the theatre principal Ackermann. According to the outlines of the inspired Friedrich Gilly (1772-1800), Karl Friedrich Schinkel's (1781-1841) teacher, a building was erected here around 1800, which turned out a failure because of unauthorized changes.
Some years later king Frederick William III gave to the Königsberger Theateraktionärsverein (Theatre Shareholders Association) a building site where the architect Valerian
Müller (1771–1839) erected a larger and modern theatre. Three months after the opening it burnt down. Immediately a new building was erected. Inside the theatre, the decoration of the circles had changed: New was a large central box which reached over two circles in the shape of a classical round temple. It was the "royal box". Thereby the former civil town theatre changed into a residence theatre. The reason for this change was the presence of the royal family which had been living in Königsberg for two years, 1808 and 1809, because Berlin was occupied by French troops. The "loge royal" was the Citizens' sign of reverence towards the royal family, the "malheureux prince" and queen Luise. This box had room for 20 persons. The king, enthusiastic about the theatre, rented the box for 2000 reichstaler or 6000 mark p.a. in order to Support the theatre. During his absence, i.e. after his return to Berlin, the following groups of persons were allowed to have free admission to the royal box: officers in the rank of general or Commander of a brigade, the highest civil servants, high dignitaries and travellers "of highest distinction". This decision and also the tenancy agreement have been fulfilled by all kings till emperor William's II abdication in 1918. The free admission to the royal box entailed incidents which throw a light upon the social, political and generally human behaviour at that time - "vanity fair". The theatre was destroyed by aircraft bombs in August 1944.

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